I am very excited about Windows 7. In fact, I can’t wait. It can’t happen soon enough. Without flat out admitting it, Microsoft is finally realizing what we, as users, have known all along. Vista delivered far less than expected after a five year wait from the smartest, wealthiest, largest, and savviest software company in the world.
But let’s not look backwards, now is the time to look forwards to a bright future for Windows and its suffering users. Having purchased Vista in March 2007, and being one of its first guinea pigs, here is my wish list for Windows 7 and why.
Windows Movie Maker. As I reported almost two years ago, there still is a major problem with Windows Movie Maker. In the middle of editing (sometimes at the end), a horrible error message “Windows Movie Maker has stopped working.” appears. If you Google the above error message, it is easy to imagine millions of people getting the same error message.
The world of user created video is still in its early years, and in the next decade will fundamentally change the way we consume information and entertainment. Microsoft needs to show us that they are committed to becoming the best damn video creation platform, and that means fixing nagging problems like this one. The option is conceding this critical element of computing to Apple, which I am sure has no problems such as this.
Networking. Networking in Vista is functional, yet it’s not as good as XP. I have two personal examples. My home network has 4 different laptops throughout the household. It is great for trading files between family members. The problem is sometimes (not all the time), Vista cannot see the other computers on the network. Quite often, when I am working on my Vista computer, I like to listen to music on one of the other computers. I have found that if I say two prayers, and chant a mantra to Vista, that 90% of the time Vista will let me listen to my music.
My other big beef is network printing. When I print across the network a one page Word document in XP, it takes less than a minute. With Vista, it takes over 5 minutes. I don’t know why and I really don’t care. I find it unacceptable.
The key point is that networking is important for the operating system, and none of these problems existed in XP. Networking should happen seamlessly, and not something we users wrestle with on a daily basis. So my next Windows 7 Wish List item is to nail down the networking stack this time.
Windows Explorer Is Restarting. A simple search shows that a lot of people have this problem also. In my case, it usually happens when I am trying to choose a file in a dialog box (for example attaching a spreadsheet to an email). The screen whites out, and I get a message that Windows Explorer has failed and is restarting. Then after about 2-3 minutes, it restarts without problem. I have never lost any work due to this problem.
I don’t mind the time loss. It doesn’t happen that often (maybe once a month). The issue is one of confidence. Windows Explorer is the guts of Windows. Restarting Explorer feels like a bandaid. In Windows 7, I wish that they solve this problem at the root, and remove the bandaid.
Notepad. I already documented in a previous blog that Notepad is the same software program we used in Windows 3.1 (circa 1991). Since 1991, so much has changed in the way we live, and the ways and reasons we use our computers. The reality is that it would have been simple for Microsoft to add simple features such as spell check, auto-save, and tag closing (for coders) into Notepad. What did they do instead? Nothing. That’s the problem. We need a sign that Microsoft is committed to improving its product in subsequent versions of its software, not just sitting on its laurels. Microsoft, please add some new features to the parts of Windows that we all use and love.
Performance. On top of it all, Vista is slow. Vista needs more memory, more disk space, and more processing power in order to achieve the exact same task as XP. It’s not because there are more features, it is just larger, bulkier and clunkier than its older brother. So let’s add another line to the check list that Windows 7 will be faster than XP. After all, our computers have more memory, more disk space, and multi core processors, is it too much to ask that the computers are a little faster?
The Next Big Thing. Last but not least is the NEXT BIG THING. This is my most important wish list item. In fact, if Microsoft can check off this item, they needn’t worry about the others.
The reason why Windows is the dominant operating system in the world is because Bill Gates had a vision. A computer on every desk. Later that vision included the internet and in many ways helped drives the internet’s adoption. But alas, that vision has come and passed. We need a new vision and Windows 7 needs to embody that vision.
Vista was bad in its execution, but it was even worse in vision. After two years of Vista, Microsoft has in essence relegated the visionary role to Apple. That needs to end. Windows 7 needs to show all of us Microsoft’s vision for how computing will continue to better our lives. Now that would be a home run!
PS – Cut out the dopey commercials. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
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