10 Features Longhorn needs

My wish list

Friday, October 7, 2005 by Frogboy | Discussion: Windows Vista

The next version of Windows really does need to take things to another level.


Let's face it, Windows XP is basically Windows 2000 with some fixes and cosmetic enhancements.


Longhorn needs to be much more than that.  Here are a few things I think it needs:


1) New display system. This is what Avalon is supposed to address. The new display system needs to let us always run our systems as the maximum resolution our monitor supports and have the DPI (dots per inch) be fluidly scaleable without impacting software compatibility.  I shouldn't have to run my laptop at 1024x768 in order to be able to read text if it supports 1600x1200.  I should be able to run at 1600x1200 and size everything on the fly to be bigger. 


2) Updated Searching.  Google Desktop search only exists because the Find Files feature of Windows is essentially useless.  I should be able to quickly find something on my system instantly.  WinFS won't be out as part of Longhorn so what will they be improving in the meantime?


3) Smoother Multitasking.  Windows still sucks at multitasking.  Even when running on an SMP box, if the OS is "busy" doing something, you still can't quickly do something else.  I eventually gave up on SMP since on Windows it's only good for CPU bound tasks and doesn't really affect multitasking efficiency very much (on MacOS X and OS/2, for instance, SMP basically made it so you could always be doing something in the UI, but on Windows, the UI is apparently not as multithreaded as it could be). In the meantime, I use Multiplicity to maximize my computing power. But I'd like the OS itself to let me always be able to do stuff -- even if the app is written badly.


4) More Componentized. Whether we'll get Microsoft to make it so that pieces of Windows can be replaced or inherited from remains to be seen. I would like to be able to easily add more views (no, Ishell stuff doesn't cut it) to foldrers. 


5) Stop bloating with needless bundling.  Every new version of Windows throws in some half-assed immitation of third party software.  While we can all appreciate having a "free" version of ZIP or uxtheme or movie maker, it damages third party software development. I'd rather think that when I BUY my copy of Windows that the work was put into features that only the OS vendor could do.  Especially since Microsoft rarely puts any effort to let third parties expand on what they bundle (like adding RAR support to the compressed folders for example). There are some features only the OS vendor can really do. I'd rather see resources put there.


6) Make Networking better. I don't know about you guys but the LAN support in Windows is still quite a pain.  As I type this, I am on a wireless LAN which has several computers on the same work group.  It often takes several seconds, if at all, to find all the machines on the network.  It would be nice if Microsoft re-thought how people use network resources and included ways of working with them in a more straight forward, ROBUST, centralized way.


7) Better use of memory. I have 2 gigabytes of memory on my main machine. I turn off the swap file.  And yet I still hear the hard drive chipmunks going away.  Why is that? And don't even get me started about the limited number of handles. Even on my 2 gigabyte machine, if programs use more than 24,000 or so handles, programs start crashing. The average person doesn't even know why their system becomes unstable because limited user handles on Windows XP has been largely ignored.


8) Fix Internet Explorer. CSS 2.0 compliance would be a nice start. How about making it much smarter about what it caches? I have lots of friends at Microsoft who admit to having switched to Firefox (or Opera).  That's sad.


9) Fix your third party licenses. One of the ugly secrets of the PC OEM market is that computer manufacturers can't install things on Windows that changes the first boot-up experience. At best, they can put a few things on the desktop.  But they can't, for example, include an alternative shell or have WindowBlinds running by default or change the boot screen or many ohter things.  In short, there's not much way for PC manufacturers to distinguish their computer from every other computer.  That means a LOT of lost innovation.


10) Fix Security.  Outlook Express is still a spyware/spammer's dream. We shouldn't have to "upgrade" to Outlook to have some basic protections. There should be more end user tools that make it very easy to monitor net traffic.  The "Network" tab in task manager is a nice start but it needs to go much furthre than that.  Worms and the like should be stopped at the OS level. SP2 was a nice start, but there's still so much more to do.


There's lost of little things that are being addressed that I'm very excited about.  Avalon is the big thing for me. XAML in particular is interesting but I fear it may lead to a ton of wacky looking "apps". I don't want my apps to be as poorly designed UI as the typical website. Let me put it this way, the people who make Office are VERY different from the people who made http://www.microsoft.com.  I want the former writings the stand alone apps I use, not the latter.


So what would you like to see? What features in Longhorn make you excited?

First Previous Page 2 of 4 Next Last
Brandon Paddock
Reply #21 Tuesday, April 5, 2005 11:48 PM
"Windows still sucks at multitasking. Even when running on an SMP box, if the OS is "busy" doing something, you still can't quickly do something else. I eventually gave up on SMP since on Windows it's only good for CPU bound tasks and doesn't really affect multitasking efficiency very much (on MacOS X and OS/2, for instance, SMP basically made it so you could always be doing something in the UI, but on Windows, the UI is apparently not as multithreaded as it could be)."

That's some kind of joke, right?

Windows is easily the best when it comes to SMP support and multithreading. No other OS comes close (except the now dead BeOS).

Threading in Linux was a joke before 2.6. And it still has a long way to go. FreeBSD isn't any better off, and surely neither is the Mac.
Chris TH
Reply #22 Wednesday, April 6, 2005 12:14 AM
That's some kind of joke, right?

For my money, multitasking (note I'm not talking about SMP now) is the single biggest deceit in Windows. I agree with Brad's #3 point 100%.

While I haven't got any hardware that permits me to try SMP, I wouldn't be surprised if they can't get it right one a single processor, why would it be any better on a dual?

Posted via WinCustomize Browser/Stardock Central
Reply #23 Wednesday, April 6, 2005 4:54 AM
I definately agree that Internet Explorer's rendering engine needs work. CSS 2.1 support is the specification that I would be aiming for to be happy, at least add :hover, :before, and :after selectors and have them work together. Those three selectors can enable some awesome functionality (such as accessible dropdown menu systems, instantaneous hints within the interface, bloat-free decorative elements, etc.) It would also be nice to see the CSS3 opacity property and alpha PNG support added as well.

Native SVG support (or a bundled plugin) would be excellent to have as well, SVG would open up many doors to innovation. I can just imagine using a database to update an XML file which is streamed to the page every couple of minutes using JavaScript/ECMAScript and then interact with an SVG document to create a new bar in the chart and have it slide the old one out of view. Not only would such a solution be extremely cool, but it would also allow the site to be accessible to those with disabilities or are using handheld devices, be printer-friendly, easily take advantage of full-screen mode to act like a projector onto a TV in the office, and be search engine friendly. Of course, search engine friendliness is unnecessary for such an application, but I'm just throwing ideas around to give people an idea of what SVG would allow designers to do. Considering the fact that Opera Software has just enabled native SVG support in Opera 8.0 Beta 3, is beginning a large marketing campaign, is being embedded in the new Adobe Creative Suite for previewing Illustrator output, and Firefox is already starting to take over the market, Microsoft has plenty of incentives to beef up Internet Explorer this time around (they didn't have much reason to before.)

As for those who don't think webpage-based applications would be a good idea, you need to quit looking at the work of amateur information authors and check out the work of professional developers who create real applications using webpages. My bar-chart example above is just one of the many great things that could be coming to us via webpages. Don't underestimate the power of a single nerd, it will be your downfall every time
Reply #24 Wednesday, April 6, 2005 5:13 AM
Make all gui features, icons, backgrounds, cursors and all other niceties editable without having to use 3rd party programs. And use the look I remember seeing before with the side panel that had the clock and all that in it. And uhhhh be cool?
Reply #25 Wednesday, April 6, 2005 6:44 AM
On the move/copy I want a No to All, it amazes me it's not there.
Reply #26 Wednesday, April 6, 2005 7:46 AM

On the move/copy I want a No to All, it amazes me it's not there.

Pressing Shift while clicking no is the keyboard equivalent for "No to All" in those dialog boxes.
Reply #27 Wednesday, April 6, 2005 10:29 AM
I hope that the blotted Registry system will give way for a minimal Registry (System & users keys only) and the return of the INI based apps. Many problems will go away for good and keeping an application's vars will be a lot easier.
Reply #28 Wednesday, April 6, 2005 10:33 AM
I find it amazing that most of the core OS issues that everyone wants addressed with Windows are almost the same issues that have been desired since Windows first came out. And most of these issues were already addressed in the AmigaOS back in 1984.

Since the banckruptcy of Commodore and my forced conversion to the Windows world the biggest thing I missed from my Amiga is true preemptive multitasking. It is amazing to me that a dual 3GHz computer with 2GB of memory can't do more than one function at a time on the desktop, while my old Amiga with a 25MHz processor and 4MB of memory could easily do 20.

Better hardware detection allowed my Amiga to boot in 3 seconds, faster than the IBM hard drive I had installed so I had to soft boot every startup until I replaced it. Plug n Pray still fights anything newer than the OS release date.

The AmigaOS was so componentized you could easily replace a feature completely without problem. Replacing file requesters was common on the AmigaOS, one feature I would have loved in Windows. It took them forever to get us a resizable file dialog.

Memory handling has always been frustrating on Windows machines, but I was spoiled doing assembly programming using Motorola 68000 processors. 32bit memory addressing made things simple.

All this was done on an OS that was 880KB in size, because the OS consisted of just that, the OS.

It appears to me that Microsoft is so fixated on eliminating all competition, integrating every extra feature they can come up with, instead of making the OS be the best it can be. Amiga did it right in 1984, and Microsoft still doesn't want to catch up.
Reply #29 Wednesday, April 6, 2005 12:09 PM
Probably we need to add 2 more features:
11). Get rid of disk defragment feature. New windows file system should be able to maintain fragment transparently, link Unix/Linux, users don't have defragment their hard drive to speed up apps.

12). After installing new apps, why we have to reboot all the time? Last time, I installed education software for my 3 years old daughter, then I have to reboot XP for that sake. In Unix/Linux, 99% of time, we don't have to reboot unless some import kernel patches. If Windows want to into server market, they have to avoid unnecessary reboot to guarantee 24x7 services.
Reply #30 Wednesday, April 6, 2005 12:10 PM
I dont understand the fact people saying that WMP and some other software should be removed from windows installation. Look I am of the opinion that if i install windows everything should work out of the box. I don't have to go searching for a media player. The major alternative to WMP is Real Player which takes a long time to load, and always runs a background process. The WMP might not be perfect atleast it works quickly. And Real Player Premium isn't free. In India Windows Costs around 33% of the whole computer's price. If i have already paid that much for windows i want more than just a OS. I don't to put my money on compression software or Media Player.
Reply #31 Wednesday, April 6, 2005 2:52 PM
Bundling has the convenience of the average user being able to use the product out of the box. It also has the huge disadvantage of deterring innovation. If Microsoft had originally bundled IE with Windows BEFORE Netscape came along, do you think Netscape would have been able to grow to the level it did, and lasted as long as it has? And without competition with their bundled products, what causes innovation to occur, or do we stay in the stagnant rut we've been in forever?

Linux distrobutions come bundled with thousands of packages from many different vendors, providing full usability out of the box, but allowing, even promoting, competition and innovation.

With the amount of money MS makes off their products (how many other companies do you know of with billions of cash reserves?) they can easily afford to license products like WinZIP, QuickTime, etc. to package with Windows, allowing them to focus their development attention where it should be, on the OS.
Reply #32 Wednesday, April 6, 2005 2:54 PM
11). Get rid of disk defragment feature. New windows file system should be able to maintain fragment transparently, link Unix/Linux, users don't have defragment their hard drive to speed up apps.

That's not necessarily true. Some of the linux filesystems do take precautionary measures to reduce the amount of fragmentation that occurs but the data still needs to be defragmented every once in a while because fragmentation HAS to occur in order to keep the operating system running fast (what if the OS had to move a 1gb movie to make room for a 300mb archive, that would be incredibly slow.) I would avoid any file system which claims there is no fragmentation, just like I avoid memory optimizers, because it will decrease performance. Just create a scheduled task/cron-job to run the disk defragmenter at night once a month (or every couple of months on Linux.) Defragmenting doesn't need to be a frustrating experience unless you make it one.

12). After installing new apps, why we have to reboot all the time? Last time, I installed education software for my 3 years old daughter, then I have to reboot XP for that sake. In Unix/Linux, 99% of time, we don't have to reboot unless some import kernel patches. If Windows want to into server market, they have to avoid unnecessary reboot to guarantee 24x7 services.

Many installation programs tell you that you need to reboot, and many ask you if you want to, but 99% of the time it is completely unnecessary. Every once in a while a reboot is required and that is usually for Windows patches; and the amount of reboots for patching will be dramatically reduced in Longhorn (from what I've heard.)
Michael Browne
Reply #33 Wednesday, April 6, 2005 3:37 PM
Am I the only one that thinks from the first day Windows 95 was released they should have put a 'New Folder' button on Windows Explorer. I must be the only one that makes folders to organize and or find my files.
Microsoft thinks it's brilliant to make me go to File-New(as if I'd want to make an old folder)-Folder and then after making two folders they MOVE or reposition the damn 'New' so I have to chase after it.
The idiot Gates must have never made a folder in his life to not be aware of this 10 years later.
Reply #34 Wednesday, April 6, 2005 5:00 PM
These all sound good, but I also wanted something:


A vertical taskbar that combines system statistics (such as temperatures, ram used, network traffic, disk usage, etc.) and handy dandy shortcuts, and is completely customizable. I don't want to keep on using multiple pieces of software just to monitor temperatures, system usage, emails, weather, and other things. I want it all in one unified interface. Am I asking too much?
Reply #35 Wednesday, April 6, 2005 10:44 PM
I work with MS products all day.....The one thing I want in Longhorn...is Control...I want to be able to load a new system and put on the machine what I want.If I want to load the whole OS then I can .. If I want to load only a minimal OS then let me. One thing that drives me nuts about XP Pro is the ICS Firewall. Man ...that is pure junk. I end up editing .inf files so that the thing won't run. I know you can turn it off in the "services" but I have had it come back on after an update. I run a hardware firewall I don't need some crappy software firewall.

I don't care about a pretty GUI. I want function and speed. For example..I run Server 2003 and that damn dog is in SERVER 2003!...Why would MS put that dog on the Professional side of their products? Is MS so far out of touch that they think an IT guy/gal really needs some dog on his/her desktop!? Or how about how server 2003 doesn't support Java!...Is Longhorn going to support Java?

I would like to see a lot of things in Longhorn but I mostly want it to FLOP..

The reason I want it to flop is simple. MS needs to get back in touch with the people using its products. MS needs to spend time working on their OS. MS is too busy trying to overload the market and cause everyone else to fall to the wayside. Look at what MS does. They have a ton of products.

I look at it like this.

If you walk into a restaurant and look at the menu and you see they have 1000 things on it then you pretty much know that the restaurant doesn't do anything "great" they just slop out food that tastes "good"

Now if you walk into a restaurant and they have 10 items on the menu you kinda have a good idea that they do those 10 items really well or maybe one of them is "great"

Well that is MS..they have become the WalMart of computer software...Come one come all ..we have a blue light special!...get your OS while they are hot off the grill!
Reply #36 Thursday, April 7, 2005 2:41 AM
Yes, i think that the way Windows manage the memory and the swap files is the very problem of windows. I saw this problems even on a dual processor on cluster with fiber channel drive and 4 gb ram.
Reply #37 Thursday, April 7, 2005 9:33 AM
1) New display system.

If one more version of Windows is released that doesn't allow me to re-arrange the items on my task bar, I'm going to scream. They've had 10 years to figure this out - what is so difficult about wanting to re-arrange items on a task bar?

3) Smoother Multitasking

I've seen some people question this item, but I understand why it's here. It's not that Windows multi-tasking sucks, it's that the multi-tasking in Explorer sucks. Explorer needs a big overhaul and update.

8) Fix Internet Explorer.

Please, God. Let it be so. CSS 2.1, even. FIX THE BUGS! There's bugs in IE that have been around for YEEEEEARS and not been fixed. I can't tell you how many web sites I go to and try to select text, only to find that IE can't seem to be capable of selecting the text I'm looking for.

6) Make Networking better.

The stacks in Server 2003 are supposed to be pretty killer, and that's serving as a starting point for Longhorn, so I have my hopes. I hate how Windows XP bombs and refuses to fix its connection until you restart if you're holding too many simultaneous connections (yeah, it takes a lot, but I'm a developer...).

Also, it irritates the tar out of me how I can have many different wireless configurations set up, but only one wired configuration. On my laptop at home, I have a static IP address. When I bring it to work, I have DHCP-aquired IP address. I should be able to easily have these different configurations saved and easily be able to select them.
Reply #38 Thursday, April 7, 2005 1:24 PM
I miss some tools and updates for programs installed with Windows. What about a network tool like ibm connection manager to switch from one environment to the other? Notepad is still slow with find/replace in files more than some KBs. Paint is pain even for screenshots. Microsoft should update or remove them. Then i miss
- a working installation/remove in windows
- better dll management
- boot from external drives or cd.
- a switch to another user in a domain controller environment should be possible.
- more Information than 'client error' or 'error 049234887772348-239'
- PDF viewer and printer
But I think they already have a lot of work to do.
Reply #39 Friday, April 8, 2005 2:24 PM
#3 I could not agree more!

However in some cases it's not a case of better multi-tasking, its a case of having any at all.

If Microsoft were to only fix one thing I would say Fix Explorer

Want to see your top of the range multi-thousand dollar PC grind to a complete standstill? Open Windows Explorer and insert CD.

Now sit back and marvel at how all that CPU power is rendered totally useless for 15 seconds while the drive spins up. Total system lock up.

What is that about?

Sometimes I don't even want to look at the CD drive, I am just opening Explorer to browse C:\ or something.

Also, Explorer can not even keep refreshed and up to date. How the hell are you meant to know what you are doing when folders that have long since been deleted are still there, and folders that you know have no sub-folders still show the little plus sign next to them but when you look inside they are empty.

Explorer is such a fundamental part of the Windows OS that I can't believe they have left in such a mess and totally untouched since Windows 95.

You can't even avoid it by using 3rd party replacement (because the under-pinnings are subject to the same rubbish performance limitations).
stephen jesser
Reply #40 Sunday, April 10, 2005 9:37 AM
"I'd like to have more freedom to completely change how my windows system behaves, looks, and responds to me. I guess this is why I'm saving up for a mac..."

I have a PC and a Mac and this is not intended to start a Mac vs. PC debate but I think you will find PC's much more customizeable.

Several people have mentioned Windows Movie Maker. How about getting rid of the bugs in this program or getting it off the OS!

Please login to comment and/or vote for this skin.

Welcome Guest! Please take the time to register with us.
There are many great features available to you once you register, including:

  • Richer content, access to many features that are disabled for guests like commenting on the forums and downloading skins.
  • Access to a great community, with a massive database of many, many areas of interest.
  • Access to contests & subscription offers like exclusive emails.
  • It's simple, and FREE!