Top 15 Windows 7 Wishlist

Microsoft’s credibility has hit an all time low, has the big dog finally bitten off more than it can chew?, when it comes to desktop operating systems Microsoft’s in knee deep water. Windows Vista, the utter failure that it is, left many consumers disappointed, unWowed and its never a good sign when most large corporates have IT policies in place that forbid Vista Clients on their network.

Microsoft have an opportunity to make right and restore their lost honor. The next Windows will have to exceed public expectations, the bar has been raised. You can’t fool us again with empty promises of WOW! Microsoft need fresh ideas and new blood. Sooner or later it’s highly possible Microsoft actually might deliver us an operating system that we like.

The following is my wish list, the top 20 best ideas I can think of which would greatly improve the next version of Windows, now it took me less than 30 minutes to come up with these recomendations, feel free to add ideas to the comment section, if you want to expand on this list. Amazingly Microsoft aren’t in the habit of asking the public the right questions. Sure they have public surveys, how about a global campaign, get involved and help design the next version of windows. collecting data from real peoples user experience, actually becoming interested in us, the users of this new OS they’re in the process of building.

1. One Version but modularized (strip the hard edges between server and client versions of the OS)

One clean base version of Windows, every option defined as a feature, like in Windows Server 2008. It is essential that the base version is as clean and lean as possible. So clean that even the UI should be a feature. This way templates could be applied to the base install. This model is great because the feature model could always be extended by 3rd party vendors, and features on a whole could be upgraded, swopped out and replaced. This is every Network Administrators dream, to have an OS thats easy to slipstream or sysprep, and then have network profiling install system remotely, when required.

From a corporate perspective, stripping the hard edge between Server and Client makes a tremendous amount of sense, Machines could easily morph to perform business functions taking on hybrid roles, for example – a workstation development server. Features could require seperate activation a realistic licensing model could be applied. Microsoft will not loose any revenue from this deployment model. This would mean that developers would finally be able to perform a great deal more on their base operating systems, without having to install server versions of Windows, or use expensive virtualization solutions.

2. Far more inventive User Interface

Microsoft are one of the richest companies on the planet, they have offices in nearly every country in the world, they are able to take on projects of enormous stature, yet ask them to deliver a rich user interface that satisfies the imagination of the most creative of users, and they just can’t seem to get it right. A really superb user interface is not too much to ask for, by utlizing state of the art design concepts, they could even accomplish this without hogging all of the sytems resources.

3. Speed scaling

Some users love the flashy stuff, others really get annoyed to see their system being brough to its knees trying to render flashy 32bit icons and transition effects. For once it would be nice to have a system so customisable it can run looking like Windows 95 or as “Flashy” as Compiz. Give this control back to the user to decide which they want. 1GB of RAM Reserved for an Aero Theme is completely unacceptable.

4.  No Registry

Other operating systems don’t rely on a registry, it adds major bloat to the system, and is also subject to corruption. Most 3rd programs that rely on the registry tend to add loads of keys and values, and when you uninstall these programs, its highly unlikely they remove all that junk. It would be great to do away with the registry model completely and use application configuration files.

5. Built in RAR Support

Most consumers tend to use .zip or rar, but since RAR is the more flexible solution, why not have it built into the operating system. Full RAR support, a professional polished solution, not just extract to folder, like the current zip integration, thats so basic it makes you want to run out and buy winZip.

6.  Better Sound Recording Support

This is not the 60’s, a lot of technical users need to produce web, screen or podcasts. Sound recording, editing and producing to useable formats should be built into the operating system. Simple WAV out, just doesn’t cut it anymore.

7. Video Conversion Wizards that work

AVI, WMV, XVID, etc – it would be nice to be able to have right click shell integration and a convert to -> output format option, with real useful output options, wizard based publishing size/quality considerations.

8. Windows Driver Updates that actually work

More collaboration between Windows and Hardware vendors is required to allow Windows Update to communicate with Hardware vendors update sites. Better ability to determine if certain devices require software to be bundled with the driver.

9. Ghosting Support / Rollback and backup

It would be nice if the OS had a save snapshot option, with the ability on boot to restore a previous state. This would also require a rethink of the boot menu, and the ability to recognise external devices or network locations prior to the OS being loaded.

10. NO UAC

Its a daft idea, just remove it completely, everyone just disables it anyways. UAC sucks ASS! Who approved this feature anyways? Someone who never has to use it.

11. Better search

Implement search any other way  than its currently implemented. Even better give us back the search from Windows 2003/XP. The requirement is not too hard, I want something that helps me find stuff on my computer!

12. Don’t be ashamed of the command line – embrace it, and enhance it

Learn a lesson or 2 from Linux, the command prompt is important, implement a real programming model into batch files.

13. On the fly defrag

The file system should be intelligent enough, not to get fragged in the first place. a better IO interaction in the operating system should prevent fragging completely.

14. A real mail / blogging client

One that handles, POP and web based mail, something that can really filter out junk, and that looks good and polished, not like Windows Live Mail, or Windows Vista Mail

15. Auto logins to websites

The ability to manage logins to websites, a solution that’s browser independant, and one that does not make use of cookies. Simply put – something that requires no user intervenion. Also the ability to configure multiple identities to single sign on solutions. I know this would be a lot of work to have this at an OS level, but it should be technically possible.

1TB drive has only 930GB free space

Q: Why does my 1TB drive only seem to have 930GB free space? Even after an NTFS format

A: The drive manufacturers use a standard metric system to determine the drive size.

According to the packaging(marketing hype)

1TB = 1000,000,000,000 bytes

This might seem correct, but the real way bytes should be calculated is like this

1TB = 1000bytes x 1024 (kb) x 1024 (mb) x 1024 (gb)

This accounts for the 7% space exageration by the drive manufacturers. So next time you’re out buying storage, expect to loose 7% of the capacity advertised on the box.

Free web hosting no file size limit

Free web hosting is not as easy to come by as you might expect, sure a lot of companies offer free services, but when it comes down to it, most of these offers are too restricted to be of any real use.

The main limitation with 90% of the free services out there is a restriction which prevents you from uploading certain file types and files bigger than the given file size.

Some hosts offer you unlimited hosting space – yet restrict you to html, htm files, and hard code a 300kb file size limit.

FreeUnlimitedWeb offers perhaps not a perfect solution, but at least a solution that has no file size or data transfer limits. While it might not provide a .Net / SQL environment, it does give you the Linux/PHP/MYSql bundle, all free of charge.

Adverts everywhere sure, but I guess they need to earn money somehow. Its still not a bad solution for uploading podcasts, screencasts and flash presentations.

Extending Feature Receiver Events

This article will teach you how to extend a feature receiver to add more events to the default, somewhat limited event model.

Whats the problem with the current Feature Receiver Event Model?

The Feature Receiver event model provided by Microsoft is too limited, it lacks some very important events, the 4 events it does support are:

  • FeatureInstalled
  • FeatureUninstalling
  • FeatureActivated
  • FeatureDeactivating

So what’s missing?

Most noticably whats missing is a FeatureOnError event, since this would also be too generic, ideally we need support for FeatureOnActivatingError,  and anymore you can think of. This is because a feature runs through the CAML feature definition while activating, and out of the box, there is no way to catch an error during the activation.

Another important event thats missing is FeatureOnBeforeActivate – this is because you might want to do some prechecks before running through the feature element manifests, so the event FeatureActivated fires after the element manifests have been loaded.

There is one very easy way to add these events, and whats nice about this method is if you know how to code a feature you will have no problems understanding the code.

The theory is (a) to change your current features visibibility to hidden, then (b) create another feature which will be responsible for the activation of your first feature.

Code listed below:

<code to follow>

    Need 25Gbs of free online storage?

    I know Windows Live SkyDrive is a Microsoft service, so I’ll ask a lot of you very nicely to put aside your immediate contempt for a minute, and ask just for one moment forget that its a Microsoft offering.

    This FREE online storage offering by Microsoft can be found here :

    Its not entirely bad either, it gives you a whopping 5GBs of free online storage, you decide exactly what you want to store. There are no restrictions as to what you can store, but there is a restriction on the size of file you can store – currently only files smaller than 50MB can be hosted. Not sure on exactly why they enforced this restriction, since they are after all giving you the full 25GBs, surely you should be able to store files of any size, shape or form, but yeah – thats Microsoft for you, gotta love em.

    You also have to respect this healthy competition between Microsoft and Google, clearly MS, not wanting to feel outdone by Googles GMail offering, have at least provided something more useful than simple email storage, your files stored in your SkyDrive can be accessed indiviually on their own HTTP address. This means you can upload files like podCasts or video recordings and link them to your blog, or website.

    The service is not available in every country yet, this is another limitation I fail to understand, this seems to me like internet sanctions for the user, but if you are lucky enough to live in a country where MS offer this service and you would like 25GBs of free online space, by all means sign up for it, or sign in using your Windows Live Passport.

    Welcome to my tech corner on the web!

    This is my tech blog, here you’ll find my thoughts on emerging technologies, things I like or not! I’ll try where possible to include podcasts.

    You’re welcome to agree or disagree with anything I write about – freedom of speech welcome – All I ask is that you keep the comments civil!

    Have fun, and if you want click on the about me link for more information on my technical background.