Microsoft's Windows 8 will offer some tweaks to file management, particularly in how files are copied between locations, according to an official blog post.
Microsoft's trickle of official details
about Windows 8 continues at a steady pace, with a new corporate blog posting
that details the new-and-improved copy experience.
Small potatoes, you say? According to
Microsoft, that's not the case.
"Copying, moving, renaming, and
deleting are far and away the most heavily used features within Windows
Explorer, representing 50 percent of total command usage (based on Windows 7
telemetry data)," Alex Simons, Microsoft's director of program management,
wrote in an Aug. 24 posting on the "Building Windows 8" blog. Even though Windows
Explorer could handle the larger copy jobs-i.e., the ones that take more than 2
minutes to complete-it wasn't "optimized for high-volume jobs or for executing
multiple copy jobs concurrently."
Windows 8 will apparently consolidate
pending copy jobs into a unified interface, with the ability to decide which
jobs the system finishes first. Each copy job comes with a "real-time
throughput graph," which helps give a more detailed view of "the speed of data
transfer, the transfer rate trend, and how much data [is] left to transfer."
For all its tinkering with the copy
experience, Microsoft's Windows 8 team apparently decided to focus on things
other than improving the accuracy of the estimated time remaining for copy jobs
to finish. In the post, Simons claims that estimating such a time with
precision is difficult. "For instance, how much network bandwidth will be
available for the length of the copy job?" he asked rhetorically. "Will your
anti-virus software spin up and start scanning files? Will another application
need to access the hard drive?" And so on.
Instead of refining Windows 8's
underlying systems to provide an estimate "that would be only slightly improved
over the current one," the team decided to focus on "presenting the information
we were confident about in a useful and compelling way."
Windows 8 will also offer a clearer
interface for resolving file name collisions (i.e., when you save a file as
"Essay.doc" when one with that same name already exists on your hard drive). A
tweaked window arranges the relevant information in a way Microsoft hopes is
less confusing than in past Windows versions.
The "Building Windows 8" blog has
offered a steady stream of new, sanctioned postings over the past few days. A
previous entry focused on Windows 8's support for USB 3.0. Ones before that
focused on some of the new features that will supposedly make an appearance,
including an app store. Although Microsoft hasn't officially offered a release
date, it's widely expected that Windows 8 will debut in 2012.
In the blog's inaugural Aug. 15 posting, Windows and Windows
Live division President Steven Sinofsky offered a defense of Microsoft's
decision to abandon Windows' "traditional" desktop-based interface in favor of
large colored tiles reminiscent of Windows Phone.
"So much has changed since Windows
95-the last time Windows was significantly overhauled-when the -desktop'
metaphor was established," he wrote. "Today, more than two out of three PCs are
mobile (laptops, netbooks, notebooks, tablets, slates, convertibles, etc.).
Nearly every PC is capable of wireless connectivity."
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.