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Windows 7 Trades Email and Photo Apps For Downloadable Ones 496

arcticstoat writes "Microsoft has said that it plans to remove a lot of the standard apps from Windows 7 in order to make the new OS 'cleaner.' Among the apps for the chop are Windows Mail, Windows Photo Gallery and Windows Movie Maker, which will no longer be included with the operating system as standard. Instead, equivalent versions of the apps will be available from Microsoft's Windows Live download service as optional free downloads, much like the new BETA versions of the apps that Windows Live offers today." Meanwhile, jammag writes that "tech pundit Mike Elgan posits that the rushed-to-market Windows 7 — due in 2010, now being beta released this October — may in fact merely be Vista with new packaging.
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Windows 7 Trades Email and Photo Apps For Downloadable Ones

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  • Windows 7 (Score:4, Funny)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:19PM (#25140809) Homepage Journal
    Is that the new Mojave thing we've been hearing about?
    • by Kifoth ( 980005 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:24PM (#25140903)
      No, it's Vista Service Pack 2.
      • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:47PM (#25141325)
        Vista SP2 is going to remove my email (Thunderbird) and photo apps (Picasa)?
      • Re:Windows 7 (Score:5, Interesting)

        by lgw ( 121541 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @04:08PM (#25141691) Journal

        it's Vista Service Pack 2.

        It's true, you know (though it will probably be Vista SP3, as they'll need to roll a new desktop GUI). Microsoft has recognized that the corporate customer base didn't warm to Vista and is "waiting for Windows 7". No dummy, Microsoft will release *something* branded "Windows 7" ASAP.

        Of course, this may blow up big time if the fundamental issues with Vista aren't resolved. Since one fundamentel issue seems to be "it doesn't add anything important over XP", MS may be in trouble here. Big companies skip one release of Windows all the time, but MS really doesn't companies to stop and ask "wait a minute, why do we do these upgrades again?".

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by registrar ( 1220876 )

          Microsoft has plenty of options for making this release interesting to business. Really, they just need to say "it is boring, it is a bit more secure, it has a few more Palladium-style paranoia features, your willy is big enough already, it will work on your existing hardware, nobody will need retraining." Sure, that marketing won't be interesting to the geeks, nor will it entice the home users to upgrade.

          My theory is that Microsoft has accepted that lots of people skip a version, and is going to adjust

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by petermgreen ( 876956 )

          "stop and ask "wait a minute, why do we do these upgrades again?"."
          In a large networked environment basing your desktops on a version of windows that no longer gets security updates does not seem sensible to me. Also as a release gets older finding suitable hardware/software/drivers for it will get harder and harder.

          So you either have to let new machines have the newest as they come in (meaning you support a mixture of releases) or you do a mass upgrade at some point in the release cycle.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by phantomfive ( 622387 )

          Microsoft has recognized that the corporate customer base didn't warm to Vista and is "waiting for Windows 7". No dummy, Microsoft will release *something* branded "Windows 7" ASAP.

          You know, you say that, and it would totally make sense, and I'd agree with you, but why is it going to take until 2010 to reskin the OS? Apple will come out with a completely new version before then, Linux should have some awesome stuff for sandboxing and virtualization by then, heck even Novell will have a new OS by that time.

          So what exactly is Microsoft doing? Are they truly that incompetent that they can't get a cleanup of their operation system done by the middle of next year (despite Vista being

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by lawaetf1 ( 613291 )

        Yeesh, I'd rather they repackage XP with a new look and SP4 and sell me the stack as Windows Mohave. Just guarantee support for another 5 years and I might actually pay!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Nope, the author is a hack who is just trying to evoke anti-MS feelings to get people to read his story. Who takes statements like "I presented ____ a public challenge" seriously? It's like the group doing the data recovery challenge - there's no incentive to take the challenge, and plenty of reason not to.

      Among those reasons: what happens when someone promises a feature that is canceled or modified for quality control purposes? Does it suddenly become a failure to deliver, or is it delivering a skillfully

    • Re:Windows 7 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by numbski ( 515011 ) <> on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @04:02PM (#25141573) Homepage Journal

      Okay - jokes over. Everyone can go now.

      Seriously - why are we making this so difficult?

      We have Windows like this:

      Windows 3 (pre-9x?)
      Windows 3.11 for Workgroups (NT3)
      Windows NT (NT4)
      Windows 95 (Win9x)
      Windows 98 (Win9x - 95 with actual USB support)
      Windows ME (Win9x - 98, but broken out of the box)
      Windows 2000 (NT5)
      Windows XP (NT5 - 2000 but with Fisher-Price lickable interface)
      Windows Vista (NT6)

      So - that brings us to Windows 7, presumably NT7. What we're really speculating is that despite the labelling, Windows 7 is actually still NT6, but possibly the latest version of ME. Since 98, you notice a trend?

      98, ME (9x)
      2000, XP (NT5)
      Vista, ? (NT6)
      ? (NT7)

      Looks to me like he's onto something.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by geekoid ( 135745 )

        3.11 and prior are DOS. ME/98/95..also DOS.
        NT started at version 3.1. Don't confuse with windows 3.11/3/2/1.

        XP is available in 64 bit, and is a tiny bit cleaner the 2000. Not the huge jump they hyped, but it was an improvement.
        For example CD burning was made a lot easier, and USB works a lot better.

  • by Drakin020 ( 980931 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:20PM (#25140829)

    I rather like the idea of having an OS with as little on it as possible.

    That way I can add what I see fit, much like the Server OS.

    Hey it's a step in the right direction.

    • by mcsqueak ( 1043736 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:30PM (#25141005)

      I rather like the idea of having an OS with as little on it as possible.

      Exactly! I know from a marketing standpoint you want to cram in as much of your own products as possible, in order to keep your brand in front of the customer, but having a truly modular OS would be very nice indeed.

      As a "non-technical user" there are a lot of Windows services that I don't use that would be nice to remove without having to worry about undermining the stability and underlying structure of the OS.

      • by redxxx ( 1194349 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @04:18PM (#25141901)

        I rather like the idea of having an OS with as little on it as possible.

        Exactly! I know from a marketing standpoint you want to cram in as much of your own products as possible, in order to keep your brand in front of the customer, but having a truly modular OS would be very nice indeed.

        It still works ok from a marketing standpoint. This pretty much forces(makes it easier than the alternatives anyway) users to go to Microsoft for simple software. It gets people into the habit of using the MS Live Repository, or whatever, which will help to lock people into using MS software.

        It also takes some of the wind from the FOSS folks sails, by creating something similar to the package systems for various distros and quiets some of the anti-trust bundling issues--without really giving up market share for their Apps, because they will be the first found by the average user.

        It probably will improve the user experience, but Microsoft will surely find ways to benefit from the new(for them) model. Microsoft benefiting from something does not necessarily mean it is evil.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PagosaSam ( 884523 )
        I just had a horrible thought of Clippy popping up and saying "You look like your trying to draw a picture! Do you want me to download Paint?" Arg!
    • by Teckla ( 630646 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:36PM (#25141109)

      I rather like the idea of having an OS with as little on it as possible.

      That way I can add what I see fit, much like the Server OS.

      Hey it's a step in the right direction.

      Next, they should create some kind of ... I don't know, package or application manager maybe, which would allow users to easily add/remove programs ... might have to wait until Windows 8 or 9 for that, though. But, never fear, Microsoft can innovate it. :-)

      • by Daryen ( 1138567 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:47PM (#25141341)

        I know you were just kidding, but I'd like to contribute.

        The Windows Add/Remove Programs menu doesn't even begin to cover what should be removable from the Operating System. Internet Explorer is the back end for a number of programs and cannot be fully removed, a few programs even rely on MSN Messenger and will not allow you to remove it if they are installed. There are all sorts of extra services running, like one for office that waits for it to be installed so it can clean it up. There's Alexa, a never ending assortment of drivers for ancient equipment. The system restore and hibernation services are installed and running whether you want them or not. And even in XP (although this is worse in Vista) the indexing service.

        There are replacements for every single one of these applications that are better than the original, yet there is no way to easily remove them. You should check out the nLite program for making your own Windows image to get an idea of all of the cruft that is built into Windows (and isn't anywhere in the add/remove programs menu). With Linux, everything outside of the Kernel can be removed, usually without even restarting. With Windows you need to reinstall just to remove most of this junk, and that's assuming you have the administrative knowledge to make your own custom image.

        • by DaveWick79 ( 939388 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @04:24PM (#25141979)
          May I also contribute. The Windows Add/Remove Programs menu lets you remove just about everything the normal user should be able to remove as far as OS features or addon applications go. IE is the back end of the OS and they really have made it part of the OS - why should I uninstall it? I can remove the icon from my screen. I've never seen a program that required MSN or Windows Messenger to run, and you can uninstall it easily. System restore and Hibernation are easily disabled using the Control panel. Why do you want to remove the functionality, to save a few hundred KB? Why bother? They put features in the OS because people wanted it. If you give Joe Schmoe the ability to delete OS components, he will - and then wonder why stuff doesn't work.

          On the other hand, nLite is a great option for techies who want to customize their systems - and it's a great tool to have for those folks who wish to dabble in it.
      • But, never fear, Microsoft can innovate it.

        And patent it!

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @04:37PM (#25142245)

        has a good ring to it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BRSQUIRRL ( 69271 )

      I agree that a leaner OS is a good thing -- however that is accomplished. I also think that separating these apps from the OS would allow them to be updated and improved independently (and presumably more often).

      But I think that when most people describe Windows as "bloated", they are referring not to applications (which consume resources when run and then go away when closed), but to startup processes and services which the average user has little control over. What would be really nice would be a fool-pr

    • by martinw89 ( 1229324 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:58PM (#25141515)

      When I recommend the Linux distribution I use, one of the things I promote is that:

      1. It's fast.
      2. AND it has everything you need from the start.

      By this, I mean that you can get set up and ideally have a complete working system right away. Browse the web with a strong browser, set up your email right away, view PDFs (with a fast PDF viewer), listen to music, write documents, spreadsheets, etc. Now, in practice some things don't work right away, but for that I blame general difficulty of installing any operating system (driver issues etc.) and licensing issues (goddamn MP3 license). I think installing an OS will always be a PITA, just on varying levels. Licensing is getting better with more distros offering paid legal licenses for MP3.

      Anyway, what I'm getting to is that I feel a complete OS offers a solid platform on which to build. From my experience, casual users are satisfied with the included apps in a modern Linux distro save for maybe a better music player for the music buffs or better photo management for digital camera users. I think a minimal OS translates more to a Slack or Gentoo approach, which I doubt the everyday user wants. This also encourages OEMs to put their crap into EVEN MORE basic uses.

      I think the association of Windows and bloat comes not from included MS apps (maybe not including Movie Maker), but instead from OEMs putting their shit on these computers. Good for Microsoft for making ANY change, but I think the real reduction in bloat happens at the installer level, not the OS producer. Let me know when a pig sprouts wings and the OEMs start putting less shit on their builds.

    • by Kanasta ( 70274 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @09:54PM (#25146145)

      Don't be tricked. It's just a ploy to promote Microsoft's Windows Live download service.
      As an MSN messenger user who uses a 3rd party MSN client, I'm not sure I like this.
      Why not let me download from Microsoft's site like everything else?

  • As long... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shados ( 741919 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:21PM (#25140849)

    As long as they make sure that OEMs include some. Any, doesn't matter if its Outlook, Windows Live Mail, or whatever third party or open source app you want... Else customers will not be too happy out of the box.

    However, historically, with other things that were not included (like, let say, anti-virus for a while), the total trash that OEMs put on it (because they're paid to) really sucks ass, even if there are free alternatives that are really, really good.

    Customers are not going to be happy...

    • Re:As long... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Dionysus ( 12737 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:36PM (#25141119) Homepage

      When it comes to apps like Windows Mail, I doubt the average person will notice. My impression is that most non-geek, people use webmail.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jonbryce ( 703250 )

      Most non-slashdotters use Internet Explorer for their email which is still shipping with Windows, or Outlook, which has never shipped with it.

  • Windows Movie Maker

    What version of Windows did that ship with? I don't recall seeing that as a standard feature before... To say nothing of whether or not I think such a program deserves to be categorized as a "standard application" for an operating system.

    • Re:standard apps? (Score:5, Informative)

      by andrewd18 ( 989408 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:24PM (#25140905)
      Reinstalled your XP anytime recently? There's a basic version installed with the OS, assuming you didn't customize it with nLite.
    • by armanox ( 826486 )
      That was included by default starting with Windows XP - in all editions.
    • Came with XP SP1, SP2, and SP3 retail and OEM releases.
    • Not that I've had Windows as my main install for ages (it's now relegated to a virtual machine) but I read "Movie Maker" in the list and went "Huzzah! They've finally decided to ditch that crappy app they install in XP that I've never wanted to use and that I'd find a better alternative of if I did want to make movies". I've never understood why it was one of the core apps.

    • Re:standard apps? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Drathos ( 1092 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:58PM (#25141523)

      Not only did this ship with XP, as others have noted, but you couldn't remove it.

      When I found it on a work computer I had inherited, I tried to remove it. Uninstall? Not listed. Windows Setup? Not listed. Ok, Delete the directory. Success! Five minutes later when I was looking for other things to clear off, I found the directory had been recreated in C:\Program Files\, complete with files! I have no idea where they came from, either, as the computer was not on the network and did not have the Windows CD in (or the install files on the hard drive).

      IIRC, when Movie Maker 2 was available on the Windows Update site, there was a note that you wouldn't be able to uninstall it.

  • Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) * on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:22PM (#25140871)

    Among the apps for the chop are Windows Mail...

    Er... I guess you don't see it this way, Microsoft, but I sure as hell always thought that checking your e-mail was basic computer functionality in this day and age. But hey, what do I know?

    Microsoft can talk about a "cleaner" OS all they want, but watch them change their tune when people scream about not being able to check their e-mail on a new PC.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:22PM (#25140873) Homepage

    That would be newsworthy!

    • by qoncept ( 599709 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:38PM (#25141145) Homepage
      Nothing like not being able to download a web browser because you don't have a web browser!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Qalthos ( 1220310 )
      Yeah, really... let's think about that for a minute:

      User installs Windows, only to find no browser installed by default. "That's okay," says the user, "I'll just download one... from the Internet... without a browser..."

      Easily removable and decoupled from the system I could see. But let's not get silly.

      • Not only would it appease various legal observers by following the instructions given to them by courts, it would be the right thing to do.

        All that would be needed in its place would be "select the browser of your choice" followed by a menu which would include MSIE, Firefox, Opera, Safari or any of the others that don't come to mind.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      The problem would be that they would probably make some kind of proprietary "download windows program" system that doesn't even use the browser. This would be similar to Linux's repositories, but you would not be able to change the list of download servers. So yes, you would need to download IE, install IE, then download FF and install FF... :(
  • ... they're making it more like Linux distros?

    Excellent idea.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Drakin020 ( 980931 )
      Or a less flamebait'ish way would be to say that they are making it more like their Server OS...But hey...whatever floats your boat.
  • ...users complaining that MS adds too much to their OS, they're listening? Bull!!!
  • by fishthegeek ( 943099 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:27PM (#25140963) Journal
    It's about the training of the consumer to accept upselling to subscription based services.
    • This does not sound like a subscription issue to me. Download once does not imply subscription.

      What it does sound like is more apps/functionality being secured by Genuine Advantage. I wonder if these apps will also become part of the top pricing tier SKUs after MS failed to deliver much of interest to Vista Ultimate users.

  • I think the motivation there is to stuff the OS with download links so that people go to and download this crud from there instead. This is typical for people who have never offered any software for download and install from their web site. The harsh reality is that only a few percent of users will download, and out of those who do, not all will install. So they'll see a very temporary blip followed by people just going to Google instead. If I have to download, I might as well download Picasa and T

  • If the final product of a redesign of an unfavorably viewed operating system has it's e-mail client be written in such a way that it's seen as bloat, you need to seriously reconsider your design philosophy. How hard could it be Microsoft, make the applications in a way that does NOT mix their files and settings into the operating system, has all the files stored in one folder (per application), and uses no registry settings what so ever. Then it won't be bloat, because it's merely existence on the system

    • by Dan667 ( 564390 )
      They should get rid of the registry all together. It is a wasteland of bloat and causes more problems than it solves.
  • New Vista? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sasayaki ( 1096761 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:37PM (#25141129)

    Well, if it's Vista minus the bloatware, DRM and huge resource requirements... it might be actually a decent operating system.

    Interesting that Microsoft appears to be actually listening to their users over Vista. That, or they're panicking and being forced to...

  • Auto-Update (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Light303 ( 1335283 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:37PM (#25141133)
    I can already see Windows7 being shipped without all that useless bloatware ...
    ... and having it all installed again after selecting all "important" "security" updates ...
  • by webappsec ( 854813 ) on Wednesday September 24, 2008 @03:38PM (#25141141)
    and no matter what Microsoft does I'm going to bitch and complain about how they should/shouldn't have done it years ago and that Linux is far superior.
  • Sure, when you're stuck on a windows box with time to kill, there's always web games if it's got an internet connection and a browser, but I like being able to assume that I'll always have Minesweeper and FreeCell to waste my time.

  • Vista or 7? (Score:2, Informative)

    by puppyfox ( 833883 )
    A few months ago I specifically asked how will Windows 7 differ from Vista to a friend of mine who happens to be a Project Manager in the Windows team. He obviously couldn't go into too many details, but admitted that the changes are "evolutionary", not "revolutionary", so it's NOT going to be anything like the 3.1 to 95 or XP to Vista transitions. It's more like Windows 95 to 98 (my friend confirmed my analogy was appropriate).

    You can call it repackaging if you want, and it may not even be worth an upgr
  • The only thing that would save it is if they make the DRM stuff an optional module you have to download.
  • That'll save me -- and likely many people -- the trouble of having to get the chainsaw and hack Outlook Express out of the thing, and installing something like Thunderbird. Of course that'll be about 10 years from now; I'm just today starting to transition my main desktop machine over to XP this week.
    • You can't just remove it from Add/Remove Programs? What version of Windows are you running? I don't even install it with my nlite stuff. Sure there are some extra files left over but you're not running them.

      Outlook Express was crap so I can understand wanting to remove it. Windows Mail is a decent and well streamlined app though.

  • I'd be surprised if Windows 7 really was a huge re-working of the OS. It seems like they are following the same path they did when they released Windows 98. 98 looked and felt almost identical to 95, but had enough improvements that it made people want to switch.

  • Leaner can be better and I'm all for not having all kinds of pointless apps in my OS installation, but I hope they think about what's necessary a little harder than they did when deciding to remove the telnet client from the default install of Vista.
    How about putting in some more useful utilities and maybe a truly powerful CLI that can rival bash?
  • "tech pundit Mike Elgan posits that the rushed-to-market Windows 7 -- due in 2010, now being beta released this October -- may in fact merely be Vista with new packaging.

    Well, duh! It was either that or simply reissue XP as-is and call it Windows Classic.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.