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Microsoft Brings 36 New Features To Windows 7 509

Posted by kdawson
from the enormous-changes-at-the-last-minute dept.
Barence writes "Microsoft has unveiled a slew of new features that will appear in the Release Candidate of Windows 7 that didn't make an appearance in the beta. 'We've been quite busy for the past two months or so working through all the feedback we've received on Windows 7,' explains Steven Sinofsky, lead engineer for Windows 7 in his blog. A majority of these features are user interface tweaks, but they should add up to a much smoother Windows 7 experience." In separate news, Technologizer reports on Microsoft's contingency plan, should things not go well in EU antitrust, to slip Win7 to January.
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Microsoft Brings 36 New Features To Windows 7

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  • So.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jerep (794296) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:07AM (#27011775)

    .. how many of them are actually useful?

    • Re:So.. (Score:5, Funny)

      by von_rick (944421) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:11AM (#27011821) Homepage

      Feature 1: It uses kernel 2.6.28.x....

      No? Dammit!

      • Re:So.. (Score:4, Funny)

        by Hojima (1228978) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:39AM (#27012263)

        feature number:

        1) overpriced marketing and DRM
        2) ???
        3) profit!

        (seriously seems like their advertising campaign is run my underpants gnomes. And their developers too)

        • Re:So.. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Friday February 27, 2009 @12:13PM (#27013671) Journal
          What does the DRM stop me from doing?
          • Re:So.. (Score:5, Informative)

            by Lumpy (12016) on Friday February 27, 2009 @12:27PM (#27013887) Homepage

            It prevents you from sending your audio playing from your pc to your airport express. BIG warnings about the protected audio path and it stops it from working. The workaround that airfoil had for Vista does not work under windows 7.

            Oh, dont own a HDCP compliant monitor AND video card? cant watch HD content. it downscaled it.

            I have not explored what other DRM gotchas are in there but so far those two will keep it as not recommend for all my companies clients the same as Vista currently is.

            honestly there is no legitimate reason for any DRM to be present in the OS.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by tcc3 (958644)

              How is this not equally your fault for buying/using/tolerating drm encumbered media?

              • Re:So.. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Friday February 27, 2009 @01:11PM (#27014443) Homepage Journal

                How is this not equally your fault for buying/using/tolerating drm encumbered media?

                Probably because, like the average buyer, he didn't realise this until four months down the road. Most people don't notice or care about the DRM until it screws them doing something legitimate.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by tcc3 (958644)

                  And the same uninformed, ignorant user will rail at MS for not having such a basic feature as playing music or movies.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                    And the same uninformed, ignorant user will rail at MS for not having such a basic feature as playing music or movies.

                    Some people will cry and bitch whatever happens. So, yup I agree with you there.

            • Re:So.. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by kestasjk (933987) * on Friday February 27, 2009 @01:00PM (#27014303) Homepage
              I heard Blu-ray and HD-DVD stuff was DRM protected, and that Windows 7 needed DRM code to play that DRM protected content.

              i.e. It's giving us the choice to play DRM content, or not. As opposed to just "not." This may be one of those "damned if you do, damned if you don't" things.

              But yeah, lets use this "Microsoft adds more value to Windows 7" story to express our hatred for Microsoft!
              • Re:So.. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by w0mprat (1317953) on Friday February 27, 2009 @04:25PM (#27017121)
                The irony of DRM is that Pirated material is 100% DRM free and you own it forever in a conveniently manageable format.

                These pirates (gosh, who would do that? ahem) never get to invoke Vista/7's draconian DRM code in this case.

                It's not really often pointed out that DRM directly promotes piracy and encourages previous non-caring disc-in and push-play users to learn about how to circumvent protection.
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by recoiledsnake (879048)
                  WTF is this draconian DRM in Vista and Windows 7 that you keep talking about? WTF does it stop you from doing that Ubuntu/Mac OS X will?
            • Re:So.. (Score:4, Informative)

              by recoiledsnake (879048) on Friday February 27, 2009 @01:35PM (#27014799)

              It prevents you from sending your audio playing from your pc to your airport express. BIG warnings about the protected audio path and it stops it from working. The workaround that airfoil had for Vista does not work under windows 7.

              Does it prevent you from sending non DRM'ed audio or DRM audio? If so, that's a (unintentional?) bug. If it does allow DRM'ed music to be transmitted, the music labels will successfully sue MS for a few billions before you can say shazam.

              Oh, dont own a HDCP compliant monitor AND video card? cant watch HD content. it downscaled it.

              What a crock of BS. 'it downscaled it'? OMGWTF BBQ??? You can play full HD content shot on your home HD camcorder for all you choose. If you don't have a HDCP monitor, only the protected ones that have a flag set(don't think this flag is set on ANY media yet?) will not play. Simply stay away and watch the non protected full HD to your heart's content.

              I have not explored what other DRM gotchas are in there but so far those two will keep it as not recommend for all my companies clients the same as Vista currently is.

              honestly there is no legitimate reason for any DRM to be present in the OS.

              If DRM was lacking in Windows 7, it doesn't mean that you can watch full HD in non HDCP monitors. All it means is that you'll be unable to watch bought/rented HD content like BluRays AT ALL. Wonder why this simple point is so hard to grasp. Looks like Slashdot gets its panties in a twist once DRM is mentioned. Or maybe you were karma whoring 'OMG it downscaled it'. Works well on here though.

              • Re:So.. (Score:4, Funny)

                by UnrefinedLayman (185512) on Friday February 27, 2009 @02:12PM (#27015327)

                What a crock of BS. 'it downscaled it'? OMGWTF BBQ??? You can play full HD content shot on your home HD camcorder for all you choose. If you don't have a HDCP monitor, only the protected ones that have a flag set(don't think this flag is set on ANY media yet?) will not play. Simply stay away and watch the non protected full HD to your heart's content.

                You know that law that says any cop that stops you is allowed to rape your mouth, and you have to comply? Someone told me they were concerned about getting raped in the mouth and didn't think it was a good law.

                What a crock of BS. 'raped in the mouth'? OMGWTF BBQ??? You can walk down the street or sit in your home without getting raped in the mouth for all you choose. If you don't bother a cop that rapes people in the mouth (don't think ANY cops have decided to start raping yet?), you won't get raped in the mouth. Simply stay away from cops and enjoy not getting raped in the mouth to your heart's content.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by drsmithy (35869)

              It prevents you from sending your audio playing from your pc to your airport express. BIG warnings about the protected audio path and it stops it from working.

              Google is unhelpful in providing corroboration for this claim. Evidence ?

              Oh, dont own a HDCP compliant monitor AND video card? cant watch HD content. it downscaled it.

              This is simply false. HD content plays fine, at full resolution, even over VGA outputs.

              *DRM encumbered* HD content, OTOH, is probably a different story (although I don't think an

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I just bought a Mac. So clearly the features are useful to someone.

    • Meh... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:52AM (#27012451) Homepage Journal

      I have TFA open right now.

      1. Windows Flip (ALT + TAB) with Aero Peek

      Meh... it doesn't sound like a killer feature to me.

      2. Windows Logo + keyboard shortcut

      OK, I really don't understan this one. hasn't [alt]+ the shortcut worked before? Seems they had this way back in win95, didn't they?

      3. Needy State "Needy window" is the internal term we use for a window that requires your attention

      Doesn't seem like much to me. YMMV I guess.

      4. Taskbar "Open With"

      OK, maybe I need more coffee, but I see apps, not documents, in the taskbar.

      5. Taskbar scaling

      Meh

      6. Anchoring taskbar thumbnails

      Meh

      7. Newly installed programs we don't even allow programs to pin themselves to the taskbar when they are installed. This is a task expressly reserved for the customer

      They're finally starting to catch up with Linux here I guess

      8. Jump List length

      A lot of these seem to be features we should have had ten years ago.

      9. Increased pinning flexibility with Jump List
      10. Desktop icon and gadget view options

      Touch

      the next four have to do with touch screens. As the MegaTouch games you see in bars all run Linux, it looks like Windows may be catching up here as well.

      15. Internet access feedback The new network experience from the taskbar's notification area makes it much easier to find and connect to networks

      I haven't had a home network for quite a while, but I've never had trouble connecting to my work's network.

      16. User Account Control

      17. Locking a machine without a screensaver

      18. Faster access to High Performance power plan

      I guess that may help notebook users

      19. Custom theme improvements

      Bleh

      20-27 Windows Media Player

      I hate Windows media player. I use WinAamp in windows, XMMS in Linux.

      28. Enriching the Device Stage ecosystem

      Market-speak for "we're still behind Linux in this but we're trying".

      29. Improving the headphone experience

      Bug fix

      30. Increased audio reliability

      Bug fix

      The rest have to do with Windows Explorere. Sorry, Microsoft, this isn't enough to make me want to drop a couple hundred dollars for.

      • Re:Meh... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Ark42 (522144) <slashdot@@@morpheussoftware...net> on Friday February 27, 2009 @11:19AM (#27012847) Homepage

        2. Windows Logo + keyboard shortcut

        OK, I really don't understan this one. hasn't [alt]+ the shortcut worked before? Seems they had this way back in win95, didn't they?

        No, this has NEVER worked right. I have so many shortcuts assigned hotkeys, like Ctrl+Alt+P for a command prompt, Ctrl+Alt+T for a terminal, Ctrl+Alt+N for notepad, etc. Only like 20% of the time does the key work, even in XP and Vista. The rest of the time, the entire Explorer freezes for 20-30 seconds. You can't click on the start menu, the task bar doesn't update, you can't get to Task Manager, etc. Alt-Tab works to go between already-open windows, but the taskbar doesn't redraw. Sit there and press Ctrl+Alt+N over and over, and wait and wait. Suddenly, 10 notepads will all open at once 20 seconds later and the system returns to normal.

        I have ALWAYS had this problem, on Windows 98, SE, 2000, XP, and Vista. Lots of different computers, different hardware, and different fresh installs of the OS where everything else really works as expected.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Red Flayer (890720)

          Sit there and press Ctrl+Alt+N over and over, and wait and wait. Suddenly, 10 notepads will all open at once 20 seconds later and the system returns to normal.

          You do realize you're slightly compounding the problem by hitting your shortcut over and over again?

          Seriously, this is the #1 annoyance for me when roaming in stupid user land... if you click something, and your computer slows down or freezes up... don't click it again until the first request resolves.

          Really, it's common sense.

          Maybe it's just beca

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by NJRoadfan (1254248)

            Seriously, this is the #1 annoyance for me when roaming in stupid user land... if you click something, and your computer slows down or freezes up... don't click it again until the first request resolves.

            It doesn't help that Windows doesn't really give the user any feedback that they successfully double-clicked the icon. Mac OS X gives that feedback with an animation of the icon enlarging.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by leomekenkamp (566309)

            Seriously, this is the #1 annoyance for me when roaming in stupid user land... if you click something, and your computer slows down or freezes up... don't click it again until the first request resolves.

            Your reaction is indicative for what is wrong in IT: when in the real world something does not work, you try it again and again, maybe even in different ways. That is normal behaviour for most people and most animals as well. It is in fact indicative of problem solving behaviour, also known as intelligence. Software should adjust to this normality, people should not have to adjust to the abnormality of computer software.

            • Re:Meh... (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday February 27, 2009 @02:45PM (#27015841) Journal

              Your reaction is indicative for what is wrong in IT: when in the real world something does not work, you try it again and again, maybe even in different ways.

              It is not human nature, to repeat a failed action in the hopes that the results change... and that especially is not indicative of problem-solving skills. It can fall under the umbrella of learned helplessness, an actual term which I suggest you read up on.

              It can also be a different learned action, from when a person speaks and must repeat themselves to be heard -- either because the listener wasn't paying attention, did not understand, or some other reason.

              There is no reason that people can't learn to try a different approach with computers than they do when speaking with people. And for that matter, effective speakers don't simply repeat the same thing again hoping that there will be comprehension the nth time. I firmly believe that the actions you ascribe to human nature are instead learned stupidity.

              One problem, as pointed out by another responder, is that there is no confirmation that the command was 'accepted' by the OS. So people click (or use the shortcut keys) again thinking that maybe the system did not 'hear' them the first time.

              You mention that it can be part of a problem-solving approach... but it's a bad problem-solving approach, but that's not what we're discussing here. We're discussing someone repeatedly entering an instruction -- whether out of frustration or something else, I don't know... but if you read the OP, you can see that problem-solving had nothing to do with their behavior (frustration was probably a larger part of it).

              The biggest problem is that the user has no other recourse... they take the only action they know how to do, which is to repeat a futile command. People faced with an obstacle do not like 'waiting' as an option for overcoming the obstacle, it's a psychological issue with feeling in control... but, IF they can be convinced that waiting is a form of action, then it works.

              You say my view is what's wrong with IT... I say catering to the LCD of users/people is what's wrong with society. We're more and more a lazy stupid people, and I think it's attitudes like yours that enable it to continue.

      • Re:Meh... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday February 27, 2009 @11:23AM (#27012897) Homepage Journal

        #2: I hope that I can turn this shit off. I use Windows+# for virtual desktop switching with MSVDM under XP. I don't use nView virtual desktops because nView won't LET me use Windows+#. I sure hope that one day we get some decent open video drivers for ATI, because that's all that's keeping me from switching.
        #7: Programs COULD install themselves to your gnome-panel. Wouldn't be that hard.
        Touch: AFAIK neither multitouch nor mouse/touch gestures are part of any standard Linux distribution. Am willing to be proven wrong.
        #15: Have you seen the new GNOME network manager? It doesn't make any sense to me :( I finally read the manpage for interfaces and just use ifupdown without the network manager now. Well, now I don't run Linux on my desktop machine, only on my server, and it doesn't have any wireless interfaces. I do have a dd-wrt system, but it's micro so I don't log into it anyway, and do * through the web interface.
        #19: Now this is someplace where Windows is truly way way way behind Linux. And let's face it, many humans place a very high value on aesthetics.
        #23 is EVIL!
        #24 is WEIRD! You couldn't resume playback after coming back from sleep mode? That seems like a bug fix, not a feature enhancement. P.S. What you use as a player is irrelevant. WinAmp is not a video player; it's a wrapper around Windows Media Player. You could use VLC, at which point this would not matter to you. But if you use winamp you're using the same mechanisms to play video as WiMP.
        #28: Linux has nothing like Device Stage [neowin.net]. Whether this is a good or bad thing is another issue.
        #29 is worse than just a bug fix, it's probably a DRM bug fix.
        The rest have to do with Windows Explorer: Yeah, you know, the part of Windows that the user uses?

        • Re:Meh... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Tweenk (1274968) on Friday February 27, 2009 @11:47AM (#27013235)

          #28: Linux has nothing like Device Stage. Whether this is a good or bad thing is another issue.

          This looks like the prefect crapware delivery engine.

          It also has a lot of confusing wording:

          • In the address bar for the printer: "Hardware and Sound" and "Devices and Printers" - great. Someone tried to be creative but failed, because Sound is part of Hardware. Same goes for the second name. Another interesting fact is that the phone is in "Devices and Printers" while the printer is in "Hardware ans Sound".
          • Customize your printer - what the HELL does that mean? Can I magically attach a spoiler or wheel caps to the printer in that dialog?
          • Open scan property - WTF?
          • You can tell Windows to download the manual whenever you plug in the phone. I always wanted that feature.

          This feature is quite nice for beginners. I think for me it would be just annoying. They really need to clean up the wording though, because now it's just very confusing.

      • Re:Meh... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 27, 2009 @11:39AM (#27013109)
        Wow, a mindless bitching fest. These aren't new features as in "hey look! New features!" These are direct responses to customer feedback.
      • Re:Meh... (Score:4, Informative)

        by neokushan (932374) on Friday February 27, 2009 @11:53AM (#27013335)

        Not ONCE in the actual article does it claim any of these to be "new features", merely changes since build 7000 (aka "the beta"). Blame /.'s stupid editors for claiming they're 38 new features.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by daveime (1253762)

          I was going to form a rebuttal along the lines of "no, surely not, say it isn't so" ... then I saw it was a "kdawson".

          Amazing how a proper noun can become a derogatory adjective, I just love our language.

          I'd really like to add him to my blocked editors list, but if I did that, there'd be nothing whatsoever to read on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dhavleak (912889)

        Sorry, Microsoft, this isn't enough to make me want to drop a couple hundred dollars for.

        That has got to be one of the most worthless comments on the internet ever - not just slashdot.

        This was a list of 30 items where MS responded to user feedback. They're not new features. And it's not the complete list. If you use that as the basis for evaluating Win7, I can only roll my eyes in exasperation. Don't kid yourself -- only on slashdot will you get '+4 interesting' for that drivel. Even the individual points you're refuting are flat out wrong in so many cases. For example:

        28. Enriching the Device Stage ecosystem Market-speak for "we're still behind Linux in this but we're trying".

        Let me tell you a li

  • by Huntr (951770) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:08AM (#27011787)
    Let me know when security is one of those features.
    • by GuyverDH (232921)

      The poster (I wouldn't have modded you troll) has a point... Windows (any version) is still the most violated / open to violation operating system out there.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GuyverDH (232921)

        The sad part is, that they think they can sell *protection* with that...

        ie - they try to sell you their live onecare service... If they know their operating system is that vulnerable, why not try to *fix* it - and not with some flaky "would you like fries with that? [ yes ] [ no ]" piece of shit system that *all* the end users who allowed crap to be installed in the first place will *always* answer yes to - that just makes things worse.

      • by Huntr (951770) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:31AM (#27012115)
        Its kind of funny because I wasn't trolling. Look at those 36 features. They're fine additions, but I'd rather read how MS is spending more time/energy addressing fundamental problems in Windows like security. 8 of those 36 features are about WMP, for god's sake.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Zironic (1112127)

          Backwards compatibility makes it impossible to actually solve those security issues. If it stopped being backwards compatible it wouldn't really be windows.

          • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday February 27, 2009 @11:00AM (#27012557)

            Backwards compatibility makes it impossible to actually solve those security issues.

            Why do you say that? I can think of multiple ways to address that issue.

            And you don't even address the issue of someone NOT having any of those programs that depend upon the insecure configuration.

            #1. Virtual machines for insecure apps.

            #2. Load the insecure .dll's only if necessary for an insecure program and then put a notice on the desktop which cannot be removed.

            The idea is to move towards a more secure system. Not to keep making excuses.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Zironic (1112127)

              "And you don't even address the issue of someone NOT having any of those programs that depend upon the insecure configuration."

              If you're not having any of the programs that depend on the insecure configurations then you're probably not using windows, get back on your linux/mac box already. The market for windows is almost exclusively people that depend on those programs.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by RulerOf (975607)

              The idea is to move towards a more secure system. Not to keep making excuses.

              I hate to break it to you, but unless Microsoft (or OEM's, or ISP co-ops, or some central authority) starts whitelisting user apps/behavior, when you put a virus at the end of a yes/no prompt that is required by virtually every piece of shit "must have 'Administrator' to load a fucking text file" application made over a decade after the advent of the NT security model...

              You get the idea. If applications require things like UAC (and MS was guilty too, though more with regard to non-critical system settings

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by atraintocry (1183485)

                UAC isn't there to stop viruses. It's there to provide a disincentive to honest devs to stop assuming their software is being run by the administrator. Specifically, the software will either (a) not work or (b) prompt the user enough times to escalate privilege that they stop using it anyway.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SpryGuy (206254)

          Vista and Windows 7 are VASTLY more secure than XP.

          Much of the pain of Vista was due to all the security changes they made underneath the covers (as well as in your face, with UAC).

          So it's not like they haven't been working on security issues at all. But those aren't really sexy to users. This list was just to show that they're taking user feedback about the user experience seriously, and trying to polish and incorporate things for usability reasons.

      • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:56AM (#27012497)

        The poster (I wouldn't have modded you troll) has a point... Windows (any version) is still the most violated / open to violation operating system out there.

        The security problem isn't easily solvable. The computer illiterate will keep getting infected almost no matter what MS does. Remember from last year's OS hacking competition which we talked about on slashdot that when people are actually targeting each OS, OSX was the most easily violated, and Vista was equivalent to Linux. However, no one targets OSX or Linux because of market share. Argue about details all you want, but with Vista already having been shown empirically to be more secure than OSX yet having basically infinitely higher infection rates than OSX, the solution on the OS side of things is anything but obvious.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by geekoid (135745)

          "...because of market share"
          False.
          If you can gain root in OSX, you will be written about. If you can get root remotly? Then you will get a lot of serious cred and praise.

          Market share does not equate to security.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cbhacking (979169)

      I can't believe this made it to +5, but I suppose Slashdot group-think dies hard. The actual OS security is *very* good these days. It's not perfect, and it improved since when Vista first shipped, but these days a properly patched system with the firewall enabled is very hard to exploit. Run as a non-administrator (which is a lot easier in Vista thanks to UAC, just like in Linux with sudo) and it's almost impossible.

      Unfortunately, most malware for Windows doesn't actually exploit the OS. It exploits the OS

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:09AM (#27011795)

    I want to hear about 1 feature being removed...

    DRM

    Let us know when that's been ripped from the OS, and maybe, just maybe, Microsoft might have a winner. Until then, it's just Vista SP2.

    • by kimvette (919543) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:39AM (#27012251) Homepage Journal

      I'd vote for another "feature" to be removed even before DRM: activation. Granted, Activation is DRM but it's specific to Windows registration.

      Why?

      Activation has not deterred "piracy" (arrr!) in the least; if you visit any torrent site you will see many torrents of "activation cracked" Windows XP and Vista. When I reinstall Windows XP or Vista and need to install updates for testing client projects, I need to activate Windows; This requires a 20-minute call to the Activation hotline each time. This is even with the MSDN version, which allows for 10 concurrent installs on separate workstations (PER subscription - I have three subscriptions, which allows me 30 seats). I should never, ever have to call in to activate Windows for a distribution which is intended to be frequently reinstalled.

      Every time I have to call Microsoft about anything, or any time they ever call me, I rip the rep a new one about the activation scheme. I refer them to the torrent sites and pointedly ask them why I should be penalized with this activation scheme when I paid literally THOUSANDS for Microsoft Windows while non-paying ("pirate") users don't encounter any inconvenience at all. I ask them why I should buy genuine Windows when the counterfeit is actually SUPERIOR to the "genuine" product.

      I also drop the L-word every time they call me; it is a five-letter word which has Microsoft shaking in their boots. I inform them that Windows only hangs around for Quickbooks, Adobe's creative suite, and for Windows development projects, and that our servers and the workstations for day-to-day productivity run Linux. It's a better solution which requires less downtime (er, "scheduled maintenance windows" in Microsoft-speak - redefining "downtime" is how they boast less downtime in their marketing drivel), requires less resources, and maintenance can be fully automated - and administered remotely via a command line shell. In fact, I have scripts running in nagios to automatically correct many minor faults and warning conditions should they occur.

      The reps are usually apologetic but does upper management have ANY clue?

      We sell systems with Windows preinstalled - many to the DoD however I flatly refuse to become a Windows OEM. I'd rather pay $10 to $15 more to continue buying from the distributors I'm buying from because the OEM agreement is 100% one-sided. Why should I give Microsoft permission to enter my office at-will? They won't find license violations - they'd probably claim 'patent infringement' however since I run the F/OSS distros I don't have RedHat or Novell covering my back.

      My mail server is currently scalix (probably going to switch to Openxchange soon since Scalix has stagnated with Xandros' buying them out - I needed a single support incident but they sell them only in blocks of five - forget Scalix! I dug in and fixed the problem myself, although it probably cost me more time than it was worth).

      Microsoft really needs to consider long-term impact of how "anti-piracy" features devalue their products compared to the counterfeit options. and how IT personnel recommendations are going to affect adaptation of their future offerings. Hell, as it is Vista was as close to stillborn as a monopoly OS can get. People buy it only because Worst Buy, Circuit City, etc. did not offer a choice. I've had quite a few customers call me and ask if I can still get Windows XP (Yup! Sure can, and because I didn't ever sign the OEM agreement I can legally purchase OEM Windows and resell it without hardware, per first sale doctrine) and I've UP-graded (not downgraded) them from Vista to XP.

      Having said that, I'm ordering a new notebook - either a Dell E6500 or M4400 (the Precision is tempting because of the workstation chipset and I'll still get decent runtime with the power slice!) and it's going to come with Vista Ultimate + Windows XP down^H^H^H^Hupgrade rights. It's more than enough to run Vista well (It should run even better than my desktop workstation runs Vista) but 300GB of the drive will be L

      • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday February 27, 2009 @12:42PM (#27014089) Homepage Journal

        At most clients when I'm documenting work (network configurations, etc.) and writing scripts I'll be using Linux, and when they see me flip screens (desktop cube) they ask me about the OS and "Is that Vista?" (I run a Vista theme courtesy of Emerald - I don't care what you say about Vista's quality, you have to admit its default theme is pretty) so I give them brief tours of Linux - they're invariably impressed and ask if they can run it on their home systems.

        I reinstalled my sister's computer for her a month ago, and while I was looking something up on my computer I did a Ctrl-Alt-Right to flip screens. She though that was really cool and asked if I could put it on her computer. I explained the issues and we talked about the software packages she uses, and finally decided to install XP on 160 GB of her 200 GB drive, and Ubuntu 8.10 on the other 40.

        About a week later she IMed me to say she was trying to use her printer on Linux and wanted some help. I googled her model and groaned -- it's a Canon with manufacturer-provided binary-only drivers that require a bunch of manual futzing with config files to make work.

        Well, back to XP, I figured. I didn't have time to go do it for her. I did give her the URL I found, though. It had reasonably good step-by-step instructions. I didn't hear back from her.

        A week later she IMed me to ask how she can find out which printers work with Linux. I was offering to find time to help her get her printer working, before she went to drop money on one when she interrupted to say that no, she got her printer working just fine. She had just been thinking she might want a better printer, but wanted to make sure she got one that supported Linux.

        I was pretty surprised both that she got her printer working (she's not dumb by any means, but she's far from a geek either) and that she appeared to be so committed to Linux. Then last week at a family BBQ she asked me what would be the best way to get rid of Windows and give the rest of the drive to Ubuntu.

        And it all started with the rotating desktop cube.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by adolf (21054)

        When I reinstall Windows XP or Vista and need to install updates for testing client projects, I need to activate Windows; This requires a 20-minute call to the Activation hotline each time.

        [...]

        Every time I have to call Microsoft about anything, or any time they ever call me, I rip the rep a new one about the activation scheme.

        Gee. Maybe if you weren't spending so much time being a dickhead, your activation calls wouldn't take twenty minutes each.

        I, too, have activated my share of Windows installs by phone

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:13AM (#27011845)

    Anyone who uses VPN knows the pain of accessing network shares. You go to the server you want, wait while Windows loads all the contents of the folder, click on a folder, wait until Windows loads all the contents of that folder, and so on.

    It would be nice if it could let you select an item as it appears in the list, instead of having to wait for the whole folder to be enumerated. It would also be nice if it didn't lock up Explorer when the network is slow.

    • Want more responsive network drive access

      Somebody mod parent up please. My Suse box handles network shares better than Windows does and that's just plain stupid.
    • by MightyYar (622222) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:27AM (#27012057)

      I'm still on XP... you are saying that not only is this not fixed in Vista, but it's not fixed in 7 either? Yuck. I'm with you... I do a lot of VPN stuff and the responsiveness of the shell during network operations is my biggest beef with XP.

      By the way, in the article I had to chuckle a little bit when I got to the graphs at the bottom. Even MS can't make Excel graphs look pretty. They look like the same Excel 5.0 default graphs we've been seeing for 15 years now, only with some translucency and overlaid on a weird rounded rectangular, ugly yellow gradient.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)

        My PC runs Vista, so I can attest that it is slightly better than XP. At least Vista gives you a visual cue that it is busy and a basic progress bar while it is busy loading the folder contents.

        But it still takes a long time and you can't access any of the contents that are displayed until the operation completes.

      • by icebike (68054) on Friday February 27, 2009 @12:34PM (#27013981)

        >I'm still on XP... you are saying that not only is this not fixed in Vista, but it's
        > not fixed in 7 either? Yuck. I'm with you... I do a lot of VPN stuff and the
        > responsiveness of the shell during network operations is my biggest beef with XP.

        My perception is different.

        My Vista machine is very slow browsing the local network (to say nothing about a VPN).
        The Win 7 machine running in a Vmware Virtual machine hosted on this very same Vista platform accesses the network WAY FASTER. (At least twice as fast).

        So: Same EXACT hardware, Win7 easily outperforms Vista. Even when running on top of vista. Go Figure.

        If a VPN is involved it usually (but not always) implies a slow remote link. Explorer's file browsing traffic is indeed way to heavy for that environment.

    • by kimvette (919543) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:45AM (#27012351) Homepage Journal

      Well, to be fair, Linux is the same way. Well that's not quite true; both nautilus and konqueror will display SOME of the folder contents while it's loading, but only a tiny portion, then freeze as you wait and wait and wait for the rest of the folder contents to load. This isn't a Windows-only flaw; it's a quality inherent in accessing CIFS shares over a slow WAN, regardless of OS or file manager. What WOULD help is if the file managers were fully multithreaded.

  • by StuartHankins (1020819) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:13AM (#27011855)
    Beta is a test phase before rolling your RC and then retail. You don't add features that late in the game, you fix bugs. You fork features into the next release, service pack etc.
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:19AM (#27011939)

    3. Needy State

    "Needy window" is the internal term we use for a window that requires your attention. Since the '90s, the taskbar has always provided some type of visualization to alert the customer to this state such as by flashing the button. A careful balance must be struck between providing information and not irritating the customer. With the new taskbar, we received feedback that Outlook reminders or a Messenger chat sometimes went unnoticed because needy windows were too subtle. For example, Mudassir opened a bug to say "The flashing is not obvious enough to get user's attention. Sometime I don't even notice it. It flashes for a little bit and then stops. If I am away the icon flashes and stops before I come back. The icon is not noticeable." We've made three changes that should address the issue. First, we changed the flashing animation curve to make it more noticeable (from a sine to a sawtooth wave). Second, we used a bolder orange color. Finally, we wanted to double the number of flashes which is currently set to three. As a nod to Windows 7, we decided to go with seven flashes instead.

    Oh, in OS X (at least Tiger), I hate this "needy" state of constantly jumping up and down like a student wanting to give an answer. It's usually an app wanting just to be clicked on like it needs attention with absolutely no reason for it. I know way too much of Vista also tends to be needy out of the box pestering you with bullshit. After a few flashes, why don't they just silently invert the colors on the icon or rectangle (or give it a halo or something) on the task bar so that it sits there quietly, STFU, stays still, and lets you get to it in your own time?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually I think they're missing the real right way to do it: check user idle time. If the user has been idle for a while, keep the notification going until you see that they've become active again.

      When the user comes back, or is NOT idle, make the notification more obvious but short lived. After that, yes, settle in to a state like you suggested where the app's state is quite obvious but non-distracting.

      • Mod up (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Pentagram (40862)

        That's actually a pretty good idea. Certainly one of the better ones I've heard from an AC.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by marcosdumay (620877)
          Yeah, that is a good idea. But save it for when somebody comes with a way to differentiate "reading" from "idle".
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by xouumalperxe (815707)
      Not sure whether Vista or 7 actually do this, but at least from Tiger onwards, OS X provides you with much better alternatives to the bouncing "needy window" metaphor, which is dynamic icons (in fact, I don't think I've seen a bouncing window for anything that doesn't need my attention to continue in a while). Basically, Adium (an instant messenger program) has a duck for an icon, and the duck will flap its wings when you have unread messages. It's quite visible, but doesn't actually exceed the space normal
    • Hey, thought you might be interested in how to turn that off. The hint is here [macosxhints.com]. It's a two line command:

      defaults write com.apple.dock no-bouncing -bool TRUE
      killall Dock

      It's one of the many hidden preferences of OS X.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:22AM (#27011983)
    eg. Improved headphone experience. Fixes a bug or improves an existing feature, but is not a new feature.

    But hell, 36 specific features more in an overloaded interface does not improve ease of use for most customers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:27AM (#27012063)

    its been a long time since I did Win32, but I remember when they changed it so applications couldn't "steal" focus from another application if the focused application hadn't seen mouse or keyword activity in X seconds (X configurable through the registry). The number of times the taskbar window flashed was also a configurable registry setting... somehow, though, applications like Outlook could ALWAYS steal focus. I always wondered what API call they used to do that, because I could never find it, and I scoured MSDN.

    Now it looks like even their own apps can't steal focus? Good, that used to annoy the shit out of me.

  • by nnnich (1454535) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:29AM (#27012105)
    36 new features in windows 7:

    1.More!
    2.New!
    3.7!
    4.Personalize!
    5.Stuff!
    6.Things!
    7.Easy!
    8.Faster!
    9.Oh Yeah!
    10.An even worse network stack!
    11.No Crash! *Cross Fingers*
    12.Vista?
    13.Improved!
    14.Progressive!
    15.Compatible!
    16.The Newest!
    17.More!
    18.7!
    19.Personalize!
    20.Stuff!
    21.Needy Windows!
    22.Alt+Tab!
    23.Screen Savers!
    24.Customizationalizeable!
    25.Safe! *Cross Fingers*
    26.Improving Performance Through Data! (an actual quote!)
    27.Keyboard Shortcuts! (Previously not available since Windows 95)
    28.7!
    29.Even a 4 year old is doing it you idiot!
    30.Saves Time!
    31.Reduced Confusion with Drag/Drop!
    32.More!

    boy, I can't wait!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by daveime (1253762)

      33. Developers! Developers! Developers!
      34. Sweat-stained shirts washed while you wait!
      35. ????
      36. Profit!

      There, completed the list for you ;-)

      Actually, 35. was going to be "Flying Chair Screensaver Now Included!", but then I couldn't have got in the gnomes reference.

  • MMMmmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ledow (319597) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:31AM (#27012139) Homepage

    I read through this list the other day and the only thing that I thought was:

    Still nothing more than a Service Pack.

    Seriously, #1 concerns Alt-Tab, ffs. #2 is a shortcut key. #3 is about taskbar windows flashes. #4 is about a shortcut to Open With. #5 is an adjustment to the size of icons. #6 is something to do with thumbnails. #7 is about showing "newly installed programs" in a different way. #8 is about the maximum number of items shown by default in a list. #9 is about file associations. #10 is a GUI change to seperate two types of things.

    #11 is about a new gesture. #12 is allowing multi-touch devices to perform... well.. multitouch. #13 is the same. #14 is about text selection. #15 is a GUI change to the way networks are displayed. #16 is about making UAC even more annoying with a tiny (probably one-line) fix. #17 is allowing a machine to be locked without a screensaver specified (woopie-do!). #18 is a GUI change to the way power schemes are displayed. #19 is some tweaks to the way themes are displayed. #20 is an ACTUAL FIX to do with playing Internet radio (because such a task REALLY taxes a modern computer).

    #21 is about adding long-established things like SEEKING and playing certain MOV files to media player. #22 is a UI change to "Now Playing" in media player. #23 is a GUI change to the way Media Player shows files that are corrupt/unplayable. #24 is about resuming from sleep properly while playing an audio CD. #25 is about cutting out dialog-overload when you plug in an MP3 player. #26 is about moving some settings/menus around. #27 is a GUI change to "JumpList". #28 is an internal change to the API for providing extra device driver functionality automatically. #29 is about plugging headphones in. #30 is a change to Windows Logo Testing to stop sound drivers being so crap.

    #31 is GUI changes to explorer. #32 is the REMOVAL of an ability to drag/drop files into Libraries. #33 is about looking like XP when you see My Computer. #34 is about FAT32 still being supported as a filesystem. #35 is a GUI change. #36 says they actually profiled the users and their OS and "improved Start Menu opening times".

    There is still *nothing* on that list worth the price of Windows 7. There is also nothing on that list that a single person with access to the source code couldn't do in a handful of days, except possibly the last one. You are seriously trying to tell me that out of the many thousands of people who tested the Beta, these were the only real problems that they encountered that MS has bothered to fix for the RC? That's the *most* affecting stuff that they needed to fix and shout about on a blog post? You're telling me that all the feedback from testers was about minor GUI changes, shortcut keys and unlikely/rare/pathetic hardware scenarios (like multitouch input devices and resuming a playing Audio CD from sleep?).

    And MS wonder why people laugh at them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by faloi (738831)
      You are seriously trying to tell me that out of the many thousands of people who tested the Beta, these were the only real problems that they encountered that MS has bothered to fix for the RC?

      I'm not a big fan of MS...but no. What they're seriously trying to get you to believe is that on top of the fixes that are going into the RC, they added a lot of simple fixes and posted about them to attempt to maintain buzz about their new OS.
    • Re:MMMmmm (Score:4, Informative)

      by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:48AM (#27012387)
      I am glad that you went ahead and characterized all of the improvements, that's very helpful and I thank you for it.

      Thankfully, none of them look like they will require Processes, because when I first saw this article, I immediately thought "Bloat." But these are more "tweaks" than "new functionality."

      As for your commentary, I think you're dead wrong. You seem to think that these are the only fixes and improvements that Microsoft is making based on user critique. I'm sure there are thousands, if not millions, of tweaks and bug fixes that they didn't mention. These, on the other hand, are pieces of untested functionality that didn't appear in the Beta _at all_.
  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:39AM (#27012257)
    "Blue Screen of Death" now "Azure Notice of Discomfort" in preparation for new cloud [microsoft.com] computing initiatives.
  • by VMaN (164134) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:43AM (#27012317) Homepage

    Apparently quicktime will be supported natively.... So that's about 4 fewer processes running on the standard install (quicktime agent/quicktime update/"quicktime install safari and set as default browser for my friends and family who are conditioned to press "yes" to remove dialog boxes - agent")

    yay MS, this is years overdue :D

  • by Gldm (600518) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:51AM (#27012435)

    Here's my most frequently bitched about UI complaint:

    18. Faster access to High Performance power plan

    Clicking on the battery flout from the taskbar notification area offers two different power plans: Balanced and Power saver. Windows 7 laptops are configured by default to use the Balanced plan since this setting best balances a good experience while promoting more environmentally friendly power use. However, some customers tell us they want to be able to quickly toggle between Balanced and High Performance (yet another power plan). Weâ(TM)ve taken a change to now show the latter in the flyout menu when it is enabled under the Power Options Control Panel.

    This has been perhaps my biggest complaint (which goes to show you something) about Win7 beta on my laptop (Acer Aspire 6930). It takes 2 clicks to switch from high performance or power saver to balanced. But to switch from high performance to power saver or vice-versa takes 5. For no good reason. It involves clicking the taskbar icon, opening a window for "more power options", clicking "show additional plans" despite ample room to show the third plan, clicking the selection button, then closing the window. 5 clicks vs 2, because we can't handle a third power choice? I'm glad someone is awake over there.

    And here's probably my second most bitched about UI complaint:

    33. Reviving familiar entry points

    Mando writes, âoeIn Win7 the Win+E shortcut opens an explorer window but the path is âoeLibrariesâ instead (which isnâ(TM)t where I want to go most of the time). Is there a way to configure the target folder of âoeWin+Eâ or is there an alternate shortcut that will get me to the âoeComputerâ path like it did in Vista?â RC reverts the behavior and now the shortcut will launch the âoeComputerâ Explorer. Also, we changed the link in Start Menu -> Username to match the Vista behavior.

    And bonus, here's my most bitched about hardware support complaint, which I mentioned in another slashdot thread a couple days ago [slashdot.org]:

    29. Improving the headphone experience

    Customers informed us that sometimes their audio streams did not properly move from the default speakers to their headphones. The fix required an update to the algorithm we use to detect new devices. In RC the transition works more reliably.

    Most of the rest of the stuff sounds pretty good too. I'll admit I've been a bit skeptical about this whole pinning things on taskbar which is now also the quicklaunch at the same time type deal. Mostly because I'm used to all my quicklaunch apps being on the left and not having to hunt between open apps to launch a new one. But that win-# shortcut sounds like it will justify the whole deal for me, so I will withdraw my complaint on it pending testing of that feature.

  • ISO Mounting? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nlawalker (804108) on Friday February 27, 2009 @11:06AM (#27012651)

    This is great, but I still don't see ISO mounting, which (as far as I know) has been asked for repeatedly by power users everywhere, and is one of (if not *the*) top request on Connect.

  • by ifrag (984323) on Friday February 27, 2009 @11:06AM (#27012663)

    23. Filtering content that cannot be played

    Media Player's library view is designed to surface and showcase one's content. However, in some cases items were displayed that couldn't be played. For example, Apple's lossless .M4A or .H263 MPEG-4 content would be shown in a library even though Media Player could not play them. In RC, this content will no longer appear in the library view so that there is better expectation of what is supported by the player.

    Here's a thought, why not instead of filtering out content Windows cannot deal with just support playback of the format?! These formats are not exactly on the fringe here. The way it's being dealt with is as surprising as the fact they are not supported.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday February 27, 2009 @11:11AM (#27012741) Homepage Journal

    1 - Warner Bros DRM

    2 - Disney DRM

    3 - Sony BMG DRM

    4 - Universal Music DRM

    5 - Stronger Warner Bros DRM

    6 - More Powerful Disney DRM

    7 - Catch-All Sony BMG DRM

    8 - No shit Universal Music DRM

    9 - You aint seen nothing yet DRM

    10 - All your computer belong to us DRM

    why, but these are fantastic features !

  • by Johnson90512 (1487551) on Friday February 27, 2009 @11:41AM (#27013137)
    This is an awesome write up, props to the poster of the article!
  • by jim_v2000 (818799) on Friday February 27, 2009 @11:44AM (#27013183)
    These aren't new "features", they're tweaks to existing features.
  • by fred fleenblat (463628) on Friday February 27, 2009 @01:23PM (#27014599) Homepage

    Two years.
    30,000 programmers.
    20,000 managers.
    40,000 more people doing god knows what.

    And they come up with 36 new features.
    That's one new feature for every 2500 employees.

    THIS SEEMS A LITTLE ON THE LOW SIDE.

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