Windows 7: What it's Rumored to Have, and What It should Have · Amr Eldib 

Windows 7: What it's Rumored to Have, and What It should Have

As the year is coming to an end, everyone is gazing into the future and making predictions for 2008. So, I thought I’d gaze a little into the future of Windows..

Windows 7 is the codename for the next windows version, as you all might know by now. Until now, number of features of the next windows has been leaked/rumored recently, even some snapshots were claimed to of windows 7. The list contains some obvious, known, demanded, and - of course - copied features, like:

1. Virtual machines for legacy software: one of the main reasons for the late adoption for Vista by users is for incompatibility for most software. And as Windows team would want to make larger modifications in the OS, they should worry more about this issue. Apple people had a similar situation when moving from OS 9 to OS X, to overcome this they had "Classic" programs run in a virtual machine mode. With the Hyper-V feature in the new Windows Server 2008, it’s possible for Microsoft to think about including a virtual machine mode to run classic programs too. This would give the development team the advantage of making as much modifications as they want.

2. New smaller kernel: Vista is installed in almost 14GB (just the windows folder on my machine) unlike XP that is around 3GB, if we’re going to continue on this ratio.. we’ll be seeing a 100GB OS soon. It’s not about hard disk size, HDs gets more GBs every year with cheaper prices. It’s about re-building the core of system instead modifying the existing one. Microsoft didn’t change much of the core of windows since NT, maybe it’s time to do so.

3. ****WinFS**:** Microsoft promised to include WinFS in Vista and they didn’t. WinFS is as fancy idea as it’s wanted. WinFS is announced to be included in ADO.NET Entity Framework and SQL Server 2008. In November 2006, Steve Ballmer said that WinFS will be integrated in the windows codebase after the development has fully completed, which should be in time for Windows 7.

4. Entirely new look: Vista got a new GUI , Areo, with significant new look, but the experience is the same as XP. Microsoft should inspect the real needs of the users and modify the experience to fit that, like they did in Office 2007. Luckily enough, Steven Sinofsky who is the Senior Vice President for the Windows Engineering Group, was responsible for developing Office 2007. Maybe he’ll do the same in the new position..

5. De-coupling the interface from the explorer shell: sounds like a complicated inner behind-the-scene feature, but actually this would affect the user interface in a great way. Now, you can change the whole interface and still make full benefit of the shell.

6. Multi-touch Support: with Microsoft Surface going from research to production and Support for Tablet-PCs, Supporting Multi-touch in windows seems like a good idea.

That’s what Windows 7 is most likely to have according to number of articles, but what it should have..

1. Better file operation management: Don’t you just hate how XP is handling copy operations. If you don’t, try to copy two files in parallel rather than in sequence, it’ll take you almost twice as much time. Or try to copy/move a large folder to another drive and after half an hour you get this message that there’s no enough space. What if you left your machine and came back in an hour assuming that copying is in progress but actually it’s not. Also, There’s the un-explainable waiting before displaying the confirmation message when trying to delete a large number of files. Well, that was in XP, what about Vista? I tell you, it’s even worse.. I miss the good old days of XP when it comes to copying. In Vista, you can’t rename/delete/move any file on the System drive without getting all those confirmation messages (at least 3 messages). And it’s also slow, and when I say slow, I mean sloooooow. Of course, I don’t need to mention the crazy estimated time counter, One time, Vista indicated that it needs 129 years to complete the remaining 7.55MB.

It’s not that hard to have better copy operation. Check out those copy managers like Copy Handler, and Total Copy. That’s not impossible to do, right? Copy operations in windows needs Pause and Resume capabilities, better handling for parallel copying, fault tolerance for network failure when copying over network or for removable devices, Minimize to tray button, centralized window for all operations and maybe history recording, and to put more human common sense in the sequence of messages.

2. Less/No ****UAC (User Account Control)** pop-ups:** If you didn’t hear about UAC and how it operates, expect a moment of panic when your first UAC message pop up. But don’t worry, you’ll get used to it, as more and more are coming your way.

For those how hasn’t experienced UAC, here’s how it work. The screen turns to black in the same way it turns off, and then in about a moment everything is grayed and here’s your UAC message, why the suspense? and for what? No UAC message has ever warned me about something I don’t know, instead it treats Visual Studio 2005, VMware Workstation, and Real Player as they’re programs that are about to violate my machine.

Of course, the principle idea behind UAC is running applications processes in a standard user privileges until the user grant them higher privileges. But, it’s handled very badly as a user experience and most importantly, Applications still not playing nicely with it. Microsoft is putting avoiding UAC messages as an essential part in their conditions to grant application the "Certified for Vista" logo. But that’s just for small companies or close partners to Microsoft, other wise, the user has face those messages on daily basis.

3. Less minimum requirements: One of the primary reasons for Vista’s low distribution numbers is the high configurations that are set as minimum requirements for running the OS. And don’t get fooled with the "Vista Capable" statement, this’s just mean that you’re gonna be running the OS, but we’re not sure about other programs. To run Vista in a comfortable way, you need a dual core processor, and 2GB of RAM, not to mention a upper-medium graphics card.

It’s not that difficult to expect when new hardware will be available, and when it will be mainstream. The hardware (Processors, Memory, and Graphic Cards like Intel, AMD, MSI, and those people) companies and PCs (Desktop and laptops like HP, Dell, and Toshiba) companies, they have road maps for these things and they can tell you if you lunch an OS in 2010 what kind of configuration will be available. If Microsoft took couple of hours to search on the Internet for these information (even without using Google), you should be able to fix the Vista hardware mistake.

4. Themes: Microsoft promised to enable themes in both XP and Vista, but didn’t deliver. Large number of applications are allowing themes and actually helping developers and designers building themes, and also a large number of applications are turning to web applications which can change their looks every now and then or even allowing personalization. Microsoft should keep their promise this time, if they make one..

5. .NET framework built into Windows core: The idea behind the CLR and JIT compilation of the .net framework is to allow converting written code in the time of execution to the code appropriate to the platform which the application is running on, like the Java Virtual Machine. But wait a minute, Isn’t Microsoft only releasing .net framework for the Windows platform. Yes, they’re sharing source of the CLI and Novell is building Mono but .net applications are not really platform independent. On the other hand, Maybe Microsoft’s perfect chance to push the .net as a development option for commercial software (and not just solutions) built by enterprises is to play their favorite move and integrate .net into the core of Windows.

If Microsoft pushed the framework into the core of the system and done it right, maybe that’s will help overcoming the performance problem known for the .net applications.

I don’t know if this is possible or not, but maybe it’s worth thinking about.

What do you think.. what would you like the next windows version, Windows 7, to have.. let us know..


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