Some thoughts on things I’d like to see in Windows 10:
(1) A better Your Phone experience
The current Your Phone (in the Settings app) experience is clunky, requiring you to sign into the phone app (which only supports the latest Android OS versions) and the Your Phone app as a Microsoft account. Why not make it more Teamviewer-like and simply show a QR code or PIN on the PC, enter this on the phone and then it connects up? Then add support for older Android devices, and include things like screen-mirroring and file-transfers.
(2) Consolidate the Control Panel
Windows 10 first appeared in, what, 2015? And still there is stuff in the Control Panel that isn’t yet merged into the Settings app. I wish Microsoft would spend one of it’s “non-feature” half-year releases really working on this. I totally appreciate some old applets, such as Keyboard and Mouse, can’t be got rid of easily, due to how many drivers hook-into them and add additional tabs, but surely a link to those old applets could be added into the Devices page in the Settings app as shortcuts, and then the shortcuts in Control Panel deleted?
(While I’m on this one, am I the only one who finds it weird in Settings that Display, Sound and Battery are all in “System” and not “Devices”? I’d rename Display to “Screens & projectors” and Sound to “Speakers, headphones, microphones” and move these into Devices immediately!)
(3) A more-modern file system that supports data duplication
I understand this is a thing for Exchange and SQL (not sure about the new ReFS, in Windows 10 Pro for Workstations and Windows Server 2019?) but I find it mad that if you have multiple instances of the same file on your current NTFS volume that each instance takes-up the exact same space. In some cases, this wastes 100s of MBs and sometimes even GBs — think family computers where each person installs Google Chrome, which goes into their AppData\Local folder for each install. Or corporate PCs where each member of staff in a team logs into the same shared computers, opens Outlook and each use the same shared mailbox, so the same .OST file is created for each one.
(4) 7-Zip and RAR extract support
Ever since built-in ZIP support first arrived in Windows ME (possibly 2000?, though it was first in the Plus! Pack for Winows 98SE) no newer formats have been added. Would it be that difficult to add the ability to extract other file-formats such as 7-Zip and RAR? I believe the unextract ability for both is free…
(5) In-place upgrade from 32-bit Windows 10 to 64-bit
It should be made possible to upgrade a Windows 10 32-bit OS to the same SKU of 64-bit. So if a PC currently runs Windows 10 Pro 32-bit it should be possible to change it into Windows 10 Pro 64-bit. A compability check should run first, and flag up any issues (such as the old Upgrade Advisor tools used to do, e.g. to see if you could upgrade from XP to Vista, or Vista to 7) and advise against if a device will have no driver, or an old app won’t work. But if everything is okay, do a reboot, wait an hour or so while Windows essentially reinstalls itself, then migrates your settings and folders (which is what it does anyway, during one of the major updates, e.g. 1803 to 1809 to 1903). To be clear, this would be same-SKU only. So no Windows 10 Home 32-bit to Windows 10 Pro 64-bit. In that case, you should first update to the 32-bit SKU, then change it into the 64-bit one: Home 32-bit -> Pro 32-bit -> Pro 64-bit.
(6) Add BitLocker to the Home editions
It’s crazy that in today’s world, the Home editions of Windows don’t have any built-in encryption, given macOS, Linux and most newer iOS and Android devices do, and in a lot of cases, is on-by-default. There is a different thing in Windows 10 called “device encryption”, but I understand this only works on machines with UEFI and a TPM chip. Why not allow Home users to also be able to use a boot-time password option, or plug-in a USB key or even use 2FA to get a boot-time code each time? Sure, there are third-party options, such as VeraCrypt or a self-encrypting SSD, but I’d still prefer better built-in options here.
(7) Udpate some of the Inbox apps
Some of the built-in “inbox” apps that come with Windows 10 either have not seen updates in years (Character Map, Fax & Scan or WordPad) or perform similar functions (Snipping Tool, Snip & Sketch, Problem Steps Recorder and the screen-recording part of Game Bar). Surely the last four could be combined into a single app that could do screenshots and screen-recording? It’s also a pity there isn’t anything thesedays as good as the old Windows Movie Maker from the XP SP2 or Vista days, and the Windows Live suite simply isn’t a thing nowadays. And ditto for all the effects ad stuff that used to be in Sound Recorder in XP and below; “Sound Recorder” in Vista and 7 barely did anything, as does Voice Recorder now in Windows 10.
(8) Allow for a higher resolution than your screen’s native one
Some drivers do actually allow this, but I’d love to see a native option to let you go beyond the native screen resolution. Some laptops have large screens but with low resolutions (e.g. HD Ready) and even though it would make the image slightly “soft” I’d love to be able to go past the native resolution to fit more on-screen at the expense of a blurrier image.
(9) Improve the System Image backup type
A simple (albeit long, especially on USB 2.0 speeds) way of backing up a Windows Vista or 7 computer (yes, the option does still exist in Windows 10, but is depreciated and could be removed in a future Windows 10 release) this would backuo your entire System partition to an external drive. You could then either restore the entire thing in one go, or mount the .VHD file as a drive to restore individual files and folders. I wish Microsoft would have improved, rather then try to retire, this feature. Make it easier to get back individual files and folders, and have an option to modify an existing backup, to save time by only copying new and changed files, and delete out any from the previous VHD that no-longer exist. Given mounted VHDs can be repaired by CHKDSK this seemed like an awesome feature originally, but sadly Microsoft have let it die.
(10) Improve support for old MS-DOS and Windows 9x games
Okay, so this won’t be for most people, but in the age of Client Hyper-V and Windows Sandbox, would it really be that difficult to make it so MS-DOS, Win 3.x and Win 9x games could actually be installed (e.g. into C:\Program Files\VDOS9X) and ran in their own, secure environments with the only file access to the folder the app is installed in, and perhaps within your Documents folder, a folder called “VDOS9X Files”. Still seems mad to me it’s easier to get PS1, N64, Dreamcast, Gameboy and so-on games working on Windows via their respective emulators than it is old Windows or MS-DOS apps! Maybe as part of their renewed PowerToys they could make such support a Windows Store downloadable app?