I have been hearing that there might be a major overhaul to the interface. My initial reaction is don't. The start menu and My Computer has been working fine since 1995. Then again, the way iOS works is to just put an icon on the “desktop.” (I don't have an iPad or iPhone, so I'm not familiar with the terminology.) That's exactly what I do. For the common stuff I use all day it's right on the desktop. I just don't want to be locked out of my harddrive. I also don't want to be forced into sticking all of my music in My Music. I don't want to use a Libraries system which is nothing more than an overly complicated version of what I do anyway.
This is something from Win 7 that I love: the Favorites Menu in Explorer. It's easy to add location to it. What’s so great is say I'm in my comic folder and need to go to C drive. I just click on it without having to click on the back button, going to the Start menu, or minimizing a dozen windows to see the hard drive shortcut on the Desktop. I would really like to see that feature kept in Win 8.
Compatibility Mode has been garbage since day one. With Vista and 7 it does have its one good point. If a program won't install, set Compatibility Mode to “Run this program as an administrator” and it may install. However that doesn't mean that program will actually run as it did in XP and 9x. Or at all. Is there a way to get it to work as it was promised to do?
XP Mode made that promise as well, but it was a disappointment. From the overly lengthy startup times to programs not working because the detect that they are on a network. It's one great feature is that I can install an app in XP Mode to test it out. If it is no good, or if it was dangerous to begin with, then it is contained in an easily deletable folder that is not connected to my Win 7 Registry.
Just like a sandbox. What that is just simply an app that is contained in its own folder. Like Rosenkreuzstilette (haven't said a word about that game in a while.) You don't have to install it. It doesn't hook itself into the Registry and a hundred hidden folders. If you get a new computer, just transfer the file and keep going.
Sandboxing is quite the step up from that. The app is locked from being able to access anything else like the Registry. So if you get a virus laden deathtrap, just delete the app. In addition, it tones down DLL hell and won't delete DLLs needed by other programs when it is uninstalled.
The big disadvantage to this system is that it makes it easier to pirate software. But hey, let's be realistic. Hackers and pirates don't care. If you put some protection program in your app, they will find a way to break it. In some cases, upstanding citizens will look for hacks. Especially if they have to go through the twenty page registration process each and every time they click on the app. They will immediately go to Google and look up how to hack a way around such an annoyance. (Or so I hear.)
I think the best way around all that is an app store. I have Intel AppUp. I used it to get Angry Birds up and running. I just registered once and that was it. I can download what I want and uninstall at will. If someone tries to pirate the app by uploading the file folder to a file sharing site, it won't work.
However (didn't see that coming, now did you?) that is an app store's biggest weakness as well. If you can't get the app to work after transferring the file folder, how do you back it up? And no, you can't depend on being able to re-download it. After having installed Win 7, I tried to install Bejeweled 2 that I had downloaded from Popcap. I couldn't play the game because Popcap had lost all my registration information. What if that happens to your copy of Photoshop?
Windows has always had some basic free apps, but some improvement are needed. How about spell check in Word Pad? Or a better GIF filter in MS Paint? Layers, fades, and gradient fills? Just fix the damn transparency bugs.
The one thing that Microsoft should do that they are talking about not doing is an extended public beta testing. With Win 7 MS did what they hadn't done before: get feedback from the everyday user. Granted, up until a few years ago, MS would have had to mail out beta version of software. Only those that had the Technet subscription service could get betas. Just too expensive to mail out to a million people at once. Now that most have high speed internet, it can now be cost effective. Now MS can hear about and fix that MP3 bug before thousands of copies are sold in stores and installed on OEM computers.
If Microsoft had done a public beta test on Vista, there probably never would have been Windows 7.