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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?
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?
Anyone else think it's about time for Microsoft to look to ending the 32-bit (x86) releases of Windows 10?
Apple's latest OS (Catalina) has dropped support for 32-bit apps and libraries.
I believe iOS also either already has, or is due to very soon.
Many vendors of apps that require high RAM use (e.g. Adobe, CAD software) no-longer provide current 32-bit app versions.
NVIDIA and AMD no-longer offer new features in their graphics-drivers for 32-bit (not sure about Intel?)
Ubuntu only officially now offers a 64-bit ISO for download.
According to a ZDNet article, from 1 Aug 2021, anyone with a 64-bit Android OS on their phone won't see any 32-bit only apps in the Store.
So... isn't it time for Microsoft to finally consider plans for retiring the 32-bit version of Windows 10?
If I were them, I'd plan as follows:
Home users: announce that the 20H2 release will be the final 32-bit one with new features, and from 21H1, only bug-fixes and security-fixes will be offered. Built-in apps won't see new features, except perhaps those considered separate from the OS, such as the new Edge. The bug-fixes and security-updates should continue for "the lifetime of that device".
Business users: advise them to move to the 32-bit LTSC release this year, and advise no LTSC released after this years' will be offered in 32-bit. Provide 10 years support for bug and security fixes, as is usual for LTSC releases, so that by 2030 no 32-bit releases are offered in the LTSC, Pro or Enterprise SKUs.
Kiosks/PoS systems: 32-bit could continue here, as these are specific-use cases, though Microsoft should start to charge more for 32-bit installs than 64-bit to discourage their use.
As for some issues people may comment on:
Driver support: maybe Microsoft should use their telemetry to see which are the most-common devices still in-use that only have 32-bit drivers and see if any 64-bit drivers for similar models could have their .INF file tweaked to support some of them? Or see if they could fudge-together some generic drivers to cover them?
16-bit app support: surely some sort of virtual Windows 9x kernel could be added to run these apps in? (Think "XP Mode" in Windows 7). The Windows 9x kernel must be tiny!
DOS support: integrate DOSBox?
CPUs that are 32-bit only: aside from ARM CPUs for some smartphones, I doubt any desktop/laptop/server CPU has been 32-bit only for some time now, so the only PCs needing this would be very-old ones, or those cheap-as-dirt tablets/netbooks you can find online. Surely by now 64-bit CPUs must be cheaper to use even in those dirty-cheap devices, given how many will be made in a production-run batch compared to 32-bit ones?
Just to be clear: I'm not suggesting the removal of 32-bit app support from 64-bit versions of Windows 10, just the retirement of the 32-bit versions of Windows 10
I'm aware that Windows 7 support officially ends 14 Jan, except for business customers (e.g. E5 licences, those willing to virtualize their Win7 estate into Azure, or companies who decide to pay extra to gain new MAK keys until Jan 2023).
But for home users:
After Windows XP support ended, a Registry hack to lie to Windows Update that you were running PoSReady 2009 allowed updates to continue.
And for Vista, it is possible to download the Server 2008 update files manually via the Windows Catalog site, then install them manually (true, not all worked).
Does anyone know for Windows 7 Home users if the patches made available to enterprise customers might leak anywhere, so one could manually install them?
When you go to install Windows 10 from a bootable DVD or USB pen-drive one option is "Windows 10 Home Single Language":
I wonder if anyone could assist in two things around this please:
1 What exactly are the benefits (if any) in installing this compared to the regular Windows 10 Home?
(I'd guess a slightly-smaller installation footprint, due to some additional language files not being there, but anything else?)
2 If you use a Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 8/8.1 Home key during Windows 10 installation, will they activate an
install of Windows 10 Home Single Language or only work for the regular Windows 10 Home?
Thought I would do a post here as none of the tech sites or individual bloggers I follow have done anything around the future of Windows 7, and it would be great to see if anyone could provide some answers. So if anyone could help with these points (or Paul would perhaps kindly write an article!) that would be great! Here's some of the things I'd like to know:
Microsoft Edge (based on Chrome): after Jan 14, 2020 will it continue to receive security updates? If the updates are delivered via Microsoft Update, I'd guess the answer is no. If they come via a Windows Service (as Chrome and Firefox currently do on Win7) then I guess the answer is one of: (a) yes, but only for enterprise customers paying for support until 2023; (b) yes, for as long as Google also support Chrome on Windows 7; (c) until Microsoft decide or (d) there will be no updates, making it a security risk. It's kind of hard at the moment to know if I should recommend friends or family on Windows 7 try the "Chrome Edge" as it'd be a bit pointless if it'll get no further updates after the last Patch Tuesday...
Office365: after Jan 14, 2020, for home users or companies not paying for extended support, will it still install, activate and receive monthly updates? Will OneDrive still sync on Win7? I know of friends who have Windows 7 computers and use the Family Pack (the one where up-to 5 PCs can use Office365). Will it still work on Windows 7 after end-of-life?
Windows Updates and Activation: if anyone re-installs Windows 7 after Jan 14, 2020, will it still activate, and will Windows Updates still download? I know for Windows Vista that it is very difficult to get the updates to now download, and I believe both XP and Vista now only support phone-based activation, not Internet-based.
Windows 10 upgrade: after Jan 14, 2020 can Windows 7 licence-keys still be used to upgrade to Windows 10, such as during a clean-install of Windows 10 (Ed Bott hasn't done an update of his article on this lately...)?
Drivers: do we know of any major PC components (such as AMD or nVidia video-cards) where there has been a public announcement for end-of-support for drivers on Windows 7 yet?
(I know both have dropped support for new features and moved to security-fix-only on all 32-bit Windows, but that's due to the 4GB memory limit.)
Common Apps: have any popular apps said when Windows 7 support will end? The only one I know-of for sure is Office 2019 is Windows 10 only, but that's from Microsoft. Anyone know of any major third-party paid or free apps saying when they will drop support?
TLS 1.3: given the release of "Chrome Edge" on Windows 7, will TLS 1.3 be backported, or will Edge either use it's own library to support this, or only support up-to TLS 1.2 on Win 7?
Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer any information here!