Three ways to improve Windows 7

A level 14 half-Drow Paladin from Icewind Dale, Aric Annea rover at Amazon's End User blog has put together a list of three features Microsoft could introduce to Windows 7 to reverse Vista's Charybdis-like coriolis of suckage. Given Vista's problems, three changes seems like a pretty forgiving list, but they're good ones. I like Annear's suggestion of allowing users to easily boot into multiple environments and virtualize between them as a bridge between necessary kernel updates and backwards compatibility, but this is probably the one that hits most close to home: the ability to buy core operating system additions through a Steam-like delivery service.
I still can't think of a defensible reason to sell multiple versions of the same operating system that vary as slightly as the versions of Vista do.  The two steps above would eliminate the need to sell multiple editions: you buy the base kernel and environment, and extend it via the Live-derived software package and update manager to become the version you need.  You could even sell additional microkernel environments like Micrsoft Server or Media Center, since they'd install separately and simply be an addition to the master boot record.  The key caution of this approach is not to nickel and dime the customers to death in trying to meet their basic computing needs, but the core concept is sound.
Nickel-and-dime micro-transactions are indeed the risk here, but as I wrestle with a buggy German Vista install hacked to get around Microsoft's bizarre "only one language outside of Ultimate" limitation, the ability to simply log-in, pay a couple bucks for the English language pack and go on my merry way would be heart-achingly welcome. Three Things We Want To See In Windows 7 [End User Blog]
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11 Responses to Three ways to improve Windows 7

  1. strider_mt2k says:

    -or reading a book!

    (Just picked up Watchmen, great stuff so far.)
    Non sequitur, sorry!

  2. shutz says:

    What they need to do is find a way to make everything in the OS and the associated tools work as simply as they do on MacOSX, while offering a way to look “under the hood”, as it were, so that those of us who know a little more will be able to troubleshoot better, and tweak to our heart’s content.

    Windows has always had the problem where it tries to be everything to everyone, so it tries to hide complexity in some places (preventing the ones who know more from figuring things out properly) but exposing it in other places (confusing the users who don’t understand it.) MacOSX mostly hides complexity everywhere, which most of its users like, but after trying to guide a Mac owner through some otherwise elementary configuration stuff, I know that it could probably expose more things, as long as it’s “by request only”.

    Also, I definitely agree that offering some form of integrated virtualization to run legacy software and drivers until the software and hardware vendors catch up would definitely make the transition smoother than it was when both XP and Vista were released. Just make sure that any software or hardware that requires such virtualization should make it clear to the user (without annoying popups… maybe through some icon that shows in the title bar, or something like that) to serve as a kind of “bad mark” to keep encouraging the software and hardware vendors to release updates for the new OS.

  3. word_virus says:

    It’s “Charybdis”, Brownlee! Sheesh!

    heheh… I’m an xkcd comic.

  4. dculberson says:

    “only one language outside of Ultimate”

    Holy crap that’s shitty.

  5. brianary says:

    It would be pretty nice to only buy the DRM layer and the netword/sound contention layer when you really needed them.

  6. brianary says:


  7. arikol says:

    If you have “ultimate macOS X” or “ultimate Ubuntu” installed you can also get multiple languages. With Ubuntu you also get all basic services installed and can add most functionality the average user might need through downloading through a central marketplace (packet manager).

    Of course their “ultimate” versions are simpler to find and cheaper than windows version.

    Mac OS has only one consumer version and one server version (which you do not see on shelves).
    The consumer version “ultimate” costs $129.

    Ubuntu is, as most here know, free as in speech and as in beer and also has only one version.

    I worked in retail when Vista was starting out and will state that the confusion surrounding the versions did nothing to help.
    Neither did the cheap ass computers sold with Vista Basic (many of which could not run Vista Basic properly) and underspecced machines running bigger versions of Vista.

    The fact that my decent MacBook Pro which is brilliant for recording and mixing multiple channel audio is barely sufficient to run Vista Biggg versions is also damning.

    I really hope MS does not just rebrand parts of Vista and call it Win7 but make a clean break. They need that as do we, the consumers and customers.
    Nobody gets helped by MS screwing up again, it may appear as increased marketshare for Apple, but in the end any large scale problems in the computer biz only end up breaking down consumers trust in the usability of these devices and drive them/us to do something constructive like watching tv ;)

  8. Dr.Arthur says:

    If they don’t start from scratch they’re doomed. They already accidentally broke a huge list of legacy software. Strip it down to the core win32, Dot.Net, and Direct X and go from there. Make the basic engine weigh in about 500 MBs and give it a price tag of $129. And include Word. Not the whole office suite, just word. And for gods sake something better than MS Paint. That’s just pathetic.

  9. PaulR says:

    “Ubuntu is, as most here know, free as in speech and as in beer and also has only one version.”

    Well, not really:
    Go to

    It’s right there on the home page: Ubuntu Dekstop editon, Ubuntu Server edition.

    And there are ‘official derivatives’ of Ubuntu: Ubuntu MID Edition, Kubuntu, Gobuntu, Edubuntu, and Xubuntu. You can search for their details on the home page.

    I’m sure I’ve missed one or two.

  10. Anonymous says:



  11. Felix Mitchell says:

    I’m sure I’ve not understood everything in this post, but wouldn’t a ‘Steam-like delivery service’ mean that you have to be online for the add-ons you’ve purchased to work?

    Also, wouldn’t Microsoft be rightly worried that if they do this then all people will do is buy the core version of Windows and then use illegal torrents to get any and all the add-ons they need?

    Not that people aren’t downloading Windows for free now, but this could make it easier.

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