Microsoft's "Windows 7 Is My Idea" billboard campaign reminds eWEEK Labs' Andrew Garcia that annoying things about Windows are still present in Version 7--and that new annoyances have been added to the list. Here's what Garcia would add to the OS to make Windows truly his idea.
It's been three months since I installed 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate on my
primary work system. Windows 7 runs without crashing much, starts and shuts
down faster than Vista did on the same machine, and has
a lot of pretty slideshow backgrounds to stare at. However, I would not say the
new OS has revolutionized the way I compute-or that it has made any significant
changes to my day-to-day operations at all.
I like it well enough, but Windows 7 and I are definitely out of the
honeymoon period, having moved into that phase where every flaw is magnified
and every nit worth a pick. Meanwhile, Microsoft's pervasive "Windows 7 Is
My Idea" billboard campaign reminds me day in and day out as I commute to work
that things that annoyed me for years about Windows are still present in
Version 7-and that new annoyances have been added to the list.
What would I want added to the OS to make Windows truly my
First, if Windows 7 were my idea, it would have a built-in PDF reader. I love
how Microsoft's Website posts tons of documentation in PDF, yet the format is
not actually natively supported in Windows. I know there are plenty of free PDF
readers just a download away, and I know Microsoft is worried about getting
sued by the EU or someone else if it does add one. But, honestly, Windows
is pretty much the only platform I use on regularly that can't preview a PDF
natively. My iPhone and BlackBerry devices can read them, as can my MacBook and
my Ubuntu virtual machine instance.
If Windows 7 were my idea, I could pin the update application to the Start
Menu the same way everything else can be pinned. Or I could set up
separate installation rules for signatures (for the included Windows Defender)
and patches. That way, I could review and choose to install patches on my
timelines, while letting signatures auto-install. Heck, my
provide a framework through which I could see which of my third-party
applications needed a patch and then install them easily through a single
update mechanism. Then I wouldn't need 47 separate update applications
running in the background, each working differently depending on how my
security was configured.
If Windows 7 were my idea, there wouldn't be different syntax for different
search strings. Why is it necessary that some search criteria need a colon
and an equal sign (kind:=) while others need just a colon (datemodified:11/16/2009)?
If Windows 7 were my idea, I wouldn't need different remote access
technologies for my main computer and for the XP Mode virtual machine Microsoft
tells us enterprises need for backward application
compatibility. DirectAccess-secured connectivity is totally cool and easy
to use, unless you need access back to corporate from an XP Mode-enabled application,
in which case you still need an IPSec client.
If Windows 7 were my idea, Internet Explorer 8 wouldn't make MSN.com
the default home page when selecting the Express configuration. Who reads
that page? At least point me to Bing by default. And stop asking
about Suggested Sites. No one wants those.
If Windows 7 were my idea, it would provide disk and removable disk
encryption to every SKU, not just Enterprise
and Ultimate-or at least offer it as a stand-alone upgrade for a small
fee. How secure can enterprise data be when users can encrypt a file to a USB
drive at work, take it home to finish it up on their home computers, and then
can't re-encrypt the file to take it back to the office the next
day? People use their home computers for work, Microsoft. Maybe you
could help them be safe while doing it.
Finally, if Windows 7 were my idea, I would allow users to natively mount
ISOs. With the rise of
netbooks and ultraportables, scores of computers don't have an optical drive at
all. Yet we still need an external drive to install Office-even if we
already have the ISO instead of a disc.
My boss Jason Brooks added via Twitter, "If
Windows 7 were my idea, I wouldn't hide file extensions." Hear, hear. And,
throughout 2009, I've heard many readers wish for a return to a classic Start
Menu or File Explorer, or for a complete abolishment of User Account
Controls. What else do you want from Windows to make it your
Senior Analyst Andrew Garcia
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.