Another 10 things I’d like to see in Windows 10


Another 10 things I’d like to see in Windows 10…

(11) Better native support for Touchpads

Given virtually all touchpads are made by Synaptics, you’d think there could be better built-in support by now. It’s shocking how many settings you can adjust in Linux natively compared to Windows 10, which still treats many touchpads as PS/2 mice. Turn tap-to-click on or off, adjust sensitivity and swap primary button from right to left and that’s about it.

(12) Speedier Task Manager and Start Menu

Both now take around 3-5 seconds to appear on-screen, when in most previous Windows they’d appear instantly. The Start Menu sometimes doesn’t appear at-all unless you click again.

(13) Install better drivers from Windows Update, or at-least offer users a choice

On most PCs I’ve seen Windows 10 installed on, the sound card generally gets a generic “High-Definition Audio Device”, not the proper Intel or Realtek driver; touchpads also have some generic driver, not the full Synaptic one, and you’ll also often find generic drivers for things like hotkey support, so some functions, like keyboard backlight toggle, don’t work. There are times I think “basic drivers” are great, especially printers, to avoid the bloatware apps they otherwise come with, but losing functionality is not great. At-least give users a choice of drivers: perhaps prompt to ask which they’d like?

(14) Auto-disable the pagefile on high-RAM PCs with SSDs

If your PC has an SSD and loads of RAM, the pagefile can mean unnecessary additional writes which shortens their life. While some old apps may be hard-coded to expect a pagefile, most newer apps aren’t and it should get disabled on PCs where an SSD is present and no calls to the pagefile have been detected.

(15) Only permit Windows 10 to be installed on an SSD

Controversial one, perhaps, but we get constant cries from users at work of “my machine is slow” (even though all our Windows 10 PCs are minimum Core i5 with 8GB of RAM, though all more-recent ones have 16GB RAM and some even have Core i7s). A quick check in the Performance tab in Task Manager shows the culprit: the traditional HDD is locked at 100%. SSDs (either SATA or M.2) would really help user’s have a better experience, but where is the incentive for manufacturers to fit them unless forced-to?

(16) Allow Android apps to run in Windows

I agree with Paul that Microsoft should just replicate their old Windows 10 Phone UI and experience by creating their own Android phones, with their own launcher and apps pre-loaded. But is anything stopping Microsoft (as in legally, not technically) from letting Android apps run on Windows 10?

(17) Better replacement for HomeGroup

Removed in 1803, HomeGroup allowed really simple sharing of printers and folders on a workgroup. The workarounds: for printers, share them as you would via a print server, and connect via \\<computername>\<printersharename>. And for files, use an app like OneDrive, or e-mail them to other family members. I’d say neither are great. Especially given AirDrop on macOS has made file-sharing even simpler, removing HomeGroup seems a very backwards step.

(18) Improve the Virtual Desktops feature

If you switch between desktops after re-ordering Taskbar apps, then switch back the order gets lost. It doesn’t remember which apps you use on which desktop, so after a reboot, an app will open on whichever desktop you’re currently on, not the one you move it to.  And some pop-up messages will appear in the centre of the desktop you’re on, rather than staying on the one the app is running on. They should also add icons on the taskbar (e.g. 1,2,3) for each virtual desktop you have open to make switching between them easier.

(19) Remove Internet Explorer 11

Add a “compatibility view” style button, like IE has, so if a user comes across an old website, they click it and that site renders using the IE engine, but inside a tab in Edge. Then modify the iexplore.exe file so when a user double-clicks it, it opens an IE-engine tab in Edge. This will help prevent users accidentally using IE11 on Windows 10.

(20) Allow Xbox games to run on Windows 10

Remote-streaming of Xbox games is becoming a thing, but given Xbox was built around DirectX, why not create an Xbox Dashboard app for Windows 10 and allow Xbox games to be installed from the optical discs on Windows 10 PCs that meet the hardware spec for that title, or downloaded as you would on Xbox? Why not essentially see Xbox as a service, and for those who have money to purchase high-end PCs, allow that PC to also function as an Xbox?

Comments (28)

28 responses to “Another 10 things I’d like to see in Windows 10”

  1. hrlngrv

    • 12: maybe need to blame live tiles. Tangent: if live tiles were ever interesting on PCs, MSFT truly dropped the ball by failing to provide a simple tool for users to build their own live tiles (the entire app would be the live tile) based on internet feeds and notifications.
    • 15: personal preference: no way in Hell. At least not if that'd mean making it impossible to install in VMs.
    • 16: If you believe Nadella has no love for Windows, he has oodles of loathing for making phone hardware.
    • Re 18: Windows 10 virtual desktops are about as weak as LiteStep virtual desktops were a decade or two ago. Linux virtual desktops are much better because of being designed into X Windows. Better to be a core component of a GUI rather than an afterthought.
    • Re 19: PROVE that Bill Gates was lying during US v MSFT?! Windows NEEDS IE. Can't remove it.
    • wright_is

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      If you go into add/remove software, you can remove IE11 from a Windows 10 PC.

    • dftf

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      (12) Even with no tiles on a Start Menu and the apps list hidden (where you have to click the app icon in the top-left to show the list) it's still slow. I really don't know what they did in Windows 8 and 10 to wreck it.

      (15) VMs should be an exception; though most VM apps I've used, when you create the virtual hard-disk do let you say "treat as an SSD", so that would be a workaround too anyway.

      (16) I think releasing Android phones, but with a Windows launcher and pre-installed apps, would be different though. The issue before was not the Microsoft branding, or the hardware, but the lack of apps available for Windows 10 Phone, and how difficult some stuff was to do on them compared to Android (ever try doing an Airwatch enrol, for example, or trying to install or update apps and getting weird errors in the Store app?). Releasing an Android phone would be far-less risky, and even if they don't dominate the world, it could be an attractive option for businesses, especially if Microsoft had some-sort of offer with them, such as a free InTune licence,and for home users perhaps 1 year free Office apps use, extra OneDrive storage space and exclusive access to some Xbox games added to the streaming service for a month or two before they go generally available? Google has Pixel, after all, which one could argue they equally don't really need, but it does them no harm.

      (18) Virtual Desktops have actually been in Windows since NT4; a separate explorer.exe instance was created to host each one, they just never exposed a GUI way for end-users to use it. Windows XP did have an official PowerToy for it, and Sysinternals has an app called "Desktops". Windows 10 was just the first to have an official built-in method for it, and I don't believe it creates a separate explorer.exe for each one, it simply hides from view any app that should not be rendered on the desktop you're on. For the most part, it works well, it just needs improvement.

      (19) Surely by having Edge there and urging users to move to it, Microsoft are already encouraging users away from IE, which they will remove at some point, and can simply say that since the Active Desktop days, they have worked on de-coupling IE from Windows. I'm not sure how that would admit any guilt, as those cases were based around much-older versions of Windows where IE was more integrated. I mean, by that logic one could argue that Outlook Express, Windows Media Centre, Netmeeting and Windows Movie Maker clearly added just to thwart some rivals' apps and none were essential, given Windows 10 doesn't now ship with any of them. But where would one stop?

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to dftf:

        Start menu slow - I use an alternative, so I don't notice. A guess: even if one has no live tiles, there's some time-consuming prep Windows 10 always performs before displaying the Start menu. Since I use an alternative, I don't care. Even when I use my separate admin account, I never interact with the Start menu. Everything I need repeatedly is in a toolbar on the taskbar, and for anything else I use [Win]+R.

        VMs - never seen a VirtualBox option for treat as SSD. Linux is my host OS, so Hyper-V ain't happening for me.

        Phones - In blunt terms, MSFT can only LOSE money making and selling phones. I realize you don't belive that, but it sure seems Nadella does. So your step 1 would need to be replacing Nadella with someone as incurably optimistic as you.

        Tangent: if MSFT had wanted to attract business users to their phone products, they should have bought RIM/BlackBerry in 2010 rather than pumped out Windows Phone 7. That ship has also left the harbor, and so long ago that it may already have arrived on the other side of the continent. Rephrasing my comment above, there are only LOSSES for MSFT to make in phones, so what's be the appeal FOR MSFT AND ITS SHAREHOLDERS?

        Virtual Desktops - alternative shells like LiteStep provided them in Windows 95. However, they weren't actually built into the GUI core, so they're just for appearance. They may work better in Windows 10 than previously, but they don't work anywhere near as well as under Linux because X Windows's core design incorporates them. Sadly, MSFT can't risk using any X Windows code lest it affect Windows's proprietary/closed source nature, so we just have to wait patiently for MSFT to reinvent this wheel.

        Edge/IE - belated /s

        • dftf

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          In VirtualBox, go into the settings for your VM, click Storage then click on the virtual hard-disk. Then put a tick in "Solid-state drive". This will tell the guest OS that the disk is an SSD. 

          VMWare Player reports to the guest the same type of disk as the one the virtual disk file is physically saved on. But you can override this in the config file for that VM and make it lie to the guest that an SSD is present.

          You make a change like this:

          scsiX:Y.virtualSSD = 1

          • hrlngrv

            In reply to dftf:

            OK, I see it. OTOH, why do I want to use it if I'm installing on a physical HDD? What benefit would it give me if I'm not, in fact, using an SSD?

            If YOU want to buy systems with SSDs exclusively, or get the organization you work for to do so, good for you. Let others choose what works for them. You may believe your preference would be good for others, but only if you assume your price-performance trade-off preference should be shared by everyone else. Likely not the case.

            • dftf

              In reply to hrlngrv:

              Well, for one if you're running many VMs on a PC which all run off a single HDD, lying to the guest that the disk is an SSD would stop the OS performing a disk defrag... given the default schedules in Windows Vista upwards it can be a simple way to avoid multiple VMs suddenly all battering your physical HDD at the same time.

              Beyond that I can't personally think why you'd want a VM to lie to the guest a disk is solid-state, but I don't do VMs for a living, only use the free versions on a personal level, but if the options are there to do it, I'd imagine there must be a reason why within the industry

              • hrlngrv

                In reply to dftf:

                In my own case, I only run one VM at a time under Linux along with running Linux software too under the host OS as OS. I have VMs for different versions of Windows, but I keep my data and personal files on a Linux partition which appears as a virtual network drive to the VMs. All I have on my VHDs are software and %USERPROFILE%. Presumably that wouldn't require much defragging unless various TEMP files, registry hives, other exotica under %APPDATA% require frequent defragmentation.

  2. txag

    After my experience with a Lenovo laptop with a HD in Windows 10, I strongly agree that it should only be used with an SSD.

  3. hrlngrv

    In reply to willc:

    The UI does receive thought . . . when enterprise customers complain. The rest of us don't matter to MSFT. In my own case, I use Linux exclusively as my host OS at home, but I have Windows VMs (plural, multiple versions), so MSFT has monetized me, so I no longer count.

    OTOH, when enterprises complain, MSFT most definitely does listen and think about their complaints. That's almost certainly why Windows 10 once again has a Start MENU rather than a Start SCREEN.

    I would say this: MSFT's enterprise customers don't give a hoot about design inconsistencies in Windows AS LONG AS those inconsistencies make it EASIER for those enterprise customers' employees to use their PCs at work. That means Windows still running 10- to 20-year-old software (or updated software which still has a GUI from decades ago). The money has spoken, and it doesn't care about GUI consistency.

  4. rob_segal

    The only thing that leaps out at me is the glaring lack of visual consistency.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to rob_segal:

      It's my number one issue with 10. If there were any attempt at fit and finish, it would actually threaten Windows 2000 as my favorite release.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        As many have pointed out here and elsewhere, no MSFT developer gets paid for fit & finish, only for new & different. Bluntly put, as long as its enterprise customers keep paying for volume purchasing and software assurance annually (probably paying more than they would just for Windows licenses on new PCs) WITHOUT complaining about design inconsistencies, ALL Windows users will get to continue to enjoy the, er, diversity of designs in Windows software.

      • kevin_costa

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        From a legacy perspective, yes, Win 2000 was the most consistent. From a modern perspective, Windows 7 is my choice.

        • dftf

          In reply to Kevin_Costa:

          I never get the thing all the time with Windows 2000 being the most consistent... what was so different about it's UI compared to say Windows 98 Second Edition (which bits of 2000 would have been copied-off) or Windows Me (which incorporated bits of the Windows 2000 UI in it, such as the categories in the Control Panel, updates to many of the Control Panels themselves, the high-colour icon-set, etc.)?

          Virtually everything in 95/98/Me settings-wise were all the exact same size and type of Control Panel applet, for example. In 2000, the Add or Remove Programs got updated (either in SP2 or SP3, I think) with one matching the XP style. Even Device Manager in 95/98/Me was just a tab on the System Properties applet, whereas in 2000 it was moved to an MMC.

          • wright_is

            In reply to dftf:

            Because Windows 2000 was "true" Windows, 95/98/ME were "just" a shell on DOS. They weren't as consistent, because of the DOS underpinnings. Windows 2000 was Windows from the ground up. It also had securtiy built in, so that also made it more consistent and professional.

            I don't know exactly what it was, but coming from NT 4 and Windows 98, there was a certain cleanness and "professionalism" that the others had missed. You are correct, they were very similar, in look and feel; but, at the time, it still felt more modern, with a better quality of fit and finish. It was the same, but different, it felt as though Microsoft had put that little extra bit of effort into it to make that little bit cleaner, that little bit more professional.

            Then they went all Fisher Price with XP... :-S

  5. jimchamplin

    Re: 14, this isn’t really an issue and hasn’t been for several years. Modern SSDs don’t have the limited write cycles that previous models did. There are actual issues that can come from running without a pagefile.

    Don’t tempt fate and risk your system’s integrity by turning off virtual memory. This is a function that has existed since the 1970s. Berkeley UNIX ran virtual memory on DECTape drives.

    Modern SSDs won’t be harmed by the pagefile in Windows. Your system’s integrity CAN be harmed if it runs out of RAM.

    • dftf

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      "Modern SSDs don’t have the limited write cycles that previous models did"

      Compared to HDDs though, SSD still have a more-limited write-cycle. It may not be in the 10,000s or 100,000s but overall they're still more-limited, hence why many consumer-level drives software (e.g. Samsung, Seagate, Kingston) have an "over-provision" feature in the official software for their respective drives, which leaves a certain amount of space free so data in failing blocks can be re-mapped

      "There are actual issues that can come from running without a pagefile"

      "Your system’s integrity CAN be harmed if it runs out of RAM"

      Sure, there are issues, but compared to say defective RAM (where data put into it gets corrupted, and processed or written-back-to-disk incorrectly), is a lack of a pagefile serious? I've had mine off for years and the only two issues I ever get are (1) not being able to use as large a dictionary size in 7-Zip or WinRAR when compressing data, which given the saving on a large dataset is often less-than 10MB isn't too-much of a bother or (2) very rarely, if I open tons of websites at once, I may get the browser crash saying something like "<browser>.exe, image error: out of memory or system resources. Close some windows or programs and try again" which happens so infrequently it doesn't inconvenience me much.

      Only other issue with a pagefile off is Windows cannot create certain types of dump files, as it says it needs "400MB minimum" to do so. But you still get a blue-screen with the usual details and error code, and I can't recall the last time on any PC that submitting the dump after a reboot and then checking in the Reliability Monitor has ever proved helpful.

    • wright_is

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      The other thing is, I believe Windows 10 recognises an SSD and it will adjust its paging habits accordingly.

  6. kevin_costa

    11 - There are already Microsoft Precision drivers on newer laptops, that are pretty good, making the touchpad almost Mac-like.

    12 - Windows 10 v1903 improved start menu responsiveness a lot. They created a dedicated process just for the menu, separated from the Shell Experience Host. I think Task manager "became slow" to open because it grew in features in the last W10 feature updates. Today it's way feature rich than W7's task manager for example.

    13 - From my observation, Windows Update does a really good job in delivering drivers for machines. Newer machines have almost always pull the OEM latest driver from WU. Older machines pull not so new drivers (but frequently these machines don't have OEM support anymore). I saw WU fill device manager (no warnings) on older machines (from 2008-2012 era), and the OEM doesn't had a W10 driver.

    15 - Windows 10 on HDD is usable (I'm not saying that is good), provided you don't install tons of things, and clean your startup programs. MS could mandate that new PCs must have a SSD in order to give the OEM a license key (like the UEFI/Secure Boot drama back in the day). But allowing HDD-only PCs to install W10 as well.

    18 - Windows 10 v2004 will improve Virtual Desktops, allowing users to name them. But I would like applications record in what Virtual Desktop the are open on, and keep that way.

    19 - The new chromium Edge has an IE mode built in. It's a matter of time until MS removes iexplore.exe from the system (they can't remove all of IE dependencies, because the whole system relies on them).

    20 - That would be good. Xbox Game Pass and Play Anywhere are opening the path to that possibility.

    • dftf

      In reply to Kevin_Costa:

      (11) Sadly, not with older touchpads. If you go to the Microsoft Catalog site and search there you can find the latest driver and after install get all the features. Just a shame Windows Update doesn't install the driver itself, and leaves users with barely any config by-default.

      (12) I think they separated it out as a separate process (start.exe) which by-default runs at High priority. I can't honestly say I've seen this make a difference though. As I say, our work laptops are certainly not years old... virtually all are brand-new Core i5 or i7 HPs, with latest BIOS and drivers, and min 8GB RAM. But still most users still complain of Start Menu issues.

      (15) Given the rise in half-and-half drives (SSHD), where there is say an 8GB or 16GB SSD part, then a 1TB or so HDD, maybe Microsoft could create better drivers to recognise such devices, and then intelligently put boot files and your most-frequently accessed .EXE and .DLL files on the SSD part, thereby giving users both speed but lots of storage? Sadly, at present, some drives will do this via their own controller, but from what I've read it's far-from perfect. Be best to let Windows control it. As a caveat: this should not apply to (1) installs inside Virtual Machines, (2) stop updates on existing machines with HDDs or (3) prevent reinstalling Windows on machines where it was first activated with a HDD present.

      (19) I believe the "IE tab in Edge" functionality is only for businesses? You have to enable it via GPOs, and configure a list of which sites Edge should open using the IE engine. Don't think home users currently can do this?

  7. wright_is

    12 - takes less than half a second for both on my laptop, my desktop is even quicker.

    13 - Microsoft can only offer what the manufacturers hand over for release. If there is nothing, then Microsoft can only offer the generic drivers.

    15 - that is up to the manufacturers and the suppliers - and user choice. Given that we generally buy SSD based devices, we don't have a problem, but we also install Windows on NAS over iSCSI or SAS. Microsoft can make it a recommendation, but they shouldn't force it on people.

    16 - why? I can't think of any Android software I want to run on Windows, the Windows versions are generally superior anyway. Then you have the problem about resizing and windowing.

    17 - I never used it, so I don't know. I've always used Samba servers at home or direct access from one PC to another using \ip-addressshare

    18 - I've never used virtual desktops, so I can't comment.

    19 - you can manually remove/add it. We still have a lot of websites that only work with IE (E.g. Siemens Simatics equipment). If you took IE away, half of our plant equipment would be unmanageable.

    • dftf

      In reply to wright_is:

      (12) Well, I'm not sure what's wrong with our machines then, as they certainly aren't low-spec. But a quick look on Reddit and Microsoft Answers does seem to suggest this is a common complaint.

      (13) Windows Update is supposed to match your VID_XXXX&PID_XXXX strings to find the latest driver; but certainly on older devices I find this hit-and-miss. You can visit the Microsoft Catalog site and find the driver .CAB file manually, extract the files and install... but like your average home user knows to do that!

      (15) I'm not saying SSD-only; other fast drive types, such as 10000RPM or enterprise/rack types, are fine. But I do think the time has come to try to prevent use of your typical laptop/desktop 4200-5400RPM disks; they drag down the performance of otherwise good CPU and high-RAM PCs. One compromise could be those hybrid SSHD disks; the EXE and DLL files Windows uses every day and those for your most-common apps should go on the SSD part, leaving the rest for user files.

      (16) You might not, but you're not every user in the world. I'm sure there are loads of games and social apps many people would enjoy using on their PC/laptop, especially if you had a way to create a "touch point" on the app, then map these to keyboard controls (e.g. tap left arrow on screen, then assign this to the left-arrow key on the keyboard). The apps would run windowed, and when maximised would retain a standard phone aspect ratio.

      (17) Again, you're not your average home user... HomeGroup was useful for them, and the workarounds are not as simple for them to now use.

      (19) IE will go eventually... just look at how many other legacy apps (or at-least their DLL files) are no-longer present: Windows Address Book, Outlook Express, Netmeeting, etc. I'm suggesting to leave the IE engine there, but render the pages inside tabs in the Edge browser. This stops users from having IE open, and then continuing to browse in IE11. In Edge, each new tab would go back to the Edge engine. Users should be able to add sites they always want to load in the IE engine into a list, similar to what enterprises can currently do via GPOs

  8. virinder

    Thanks for great information.

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