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Microsoft GUI Operating Systems Software Windows Technology

The 30 Best Features of Windows 470

Barence writes "PC Pro has picked out its 30 best features of Windows 8. Its countdown includes features such as the revamped Task Manager, the option to run ISOs and VHDs natively, and Windows To Go, which allows you to take a portable installation of Windows 8 with you." They've also listed ten features they'd like to see added to Windows 8, "including the return of the Start button on the desktop, virtual desktops and one-click sharing of optical drives."
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The 30 Best Features of Windows

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 13, 2012 @07:57PM (#39990023)

    Is that Windows 8 has 30 features

    • Re:The real news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (bob_eissua)> on Sunday May 13, 2012 @10:21PM (#39990949) Journal
      It doesn't.

      There's almost nothing in that list that hasn't been available on other platforms for more than a decade. One item (Kinect for Windows) has no relevance at all to the new OS, apart from being available at the same time.

      Don't waste your time clicking through all the advert-ridden pages of banality. I'm sure even Microsoft will offer more novelty than this semi-article suggests.

      • Re:The real news (Score:5, Insightful)

        by recoiledsnake ( 879048 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @11:33PM (#39991289)

        >There's almost nothing in that list that hasn't been available on other platforms for more than a decade

        How does that stop something from being a feature?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ozmanjusri ( 601766 )

          I should have phrased it as "interesting" features.

        • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @03:21AM (#39992305)

          If Linux gets something Windows or MacOS have had for years, like, day, the ability to play sound from more than one program at a time without special setup or hardware mixing, that is a major improvement, something to be lauded, etc. However if Windows gets a feature something else has had, it gets looked down on, as though the first OS to get the feature should be the only one, ever.

        • by Krneki ( 1192201 )

          >There's almost nothing in that list that hasn't been available on other platforms for more than a decade

          How does that stop something from being a feature?

          It didn't stop Apple, that's for sure.

        • ...I'm wondering, does Windows count as an "other platform"? I've been able to do some of that stuff, like run ISOs natively, for some time on XP and 7. The news is not that the feature is available, even on Windows, but merely that the feature is now built in, which means it'll have some degree of lameness, I'll get frustrated with it, and go back to the products I was using. (Similar to firewall, malware remover, CD burner, video editing, a dozen more.)

      • Re:The real news (Score:5, Informative)

        by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @03:22AM (#39992307)

        There's almost nothing in that list that hasn't been available on other platforms for more than a decade.

        Half of those features are actually available on my Windows 7 installation already. Support for USB3.0 devices, not rebooting / nagging to install updates, builtin antivirus, quick search, device synchronisation, 3G support, split screen multitasking, the ability to turn wifi off with a click of a button rather than a hardware switch, and the ability to auto mount ISOs, all of that works just fine on my Windows 7 install.

        In fact judging by Microsoft's early attempts at WiFi integration, and CD burning I predict that Windows 8 will be shit at all of the above.

    • by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @12:51AM (#39991659)

      Is that Windows 8 has 30 features

      It doesn't. Actually, the bad mouths say there are 2 features and 28 bugs.

      (takes cover)

    • Re:The real news (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2012 @02:32AM (#39992077)

      Where's the list of the 30 features that we wish we could uninstall, but can't?

  • by mfearby ( 1653 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:06PM (#39990093) Homepage

    I'm not clicking through 8 pages, each of which seems to load a popup, just to read a list of 30 items. And judging from the first couple of pages I could stand to look at, the article is hyping up some very un-newsworthy information indeed! There's nothing worse than a site with tid bits of "information" surrounded by an orgy of advertising. Get lost!

  • by goonerw ( 99408 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:06PM (#39990095) Homepage
    Yet another "click here dozens of times so we can get more advertising revenue" article. This could have been done in 3-4 pages, not 10+.

    They also clearly haven't used Windows 7 as it has the ability to mount VHDs as well. (Windows 8 improves upon that by adding ISO mounting support) The way they wrote that "feature" is as if the VHD mounting is absent in previous versions.
  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:12PM (#39990139) Homepage Journal
    10. Quit whoring for pageviews with needlessly split up articles

    Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next
  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:18PM (#39990183)

    To me, where BitLocker or another disk encryption tool means the difference between a hardware write-off and insurance claim versus having to report to every manager up a chain, as well as the press, I consider the basic Windows 8 security upgrades to BitLocker important.

    It would be nice if they would allow non-TPM encryption without a USB flash drive, because not many machines have TPM/TCG compatible motherboards these days.

    However, I can deploy images that are already BitLocker encrypted, or just tell the machine to encrypt used space in Windows 8. With the new hardware encrypted HDDs, I can have BitLocker deal with those as well.

    Yes, this is boring, but anything that ensures that an attacker isn't going to get data should a laptop be stolen is important for day to day IT.

    • Err it sounds like you could save yourself a few headaches with Truecrypt.

    • It would be nice if they would allow non-TPM encryption without a USB flash drive, because not many machines have TPM/TCG compatible motherboards these days.

      What machines are you using? I'm mostly familiar with HP and Dell, and just about every business-grade machine they sell (laptops, desktops, servers) has Bitlocker-compatible TPM built-in.

      • What machines are you using? I'm mostly familiar with HP and Dell, and just about every business-grade machine they sell (laptops, desktops, servers) has Bitlocker-compatible TPM built-in.

        I was wondering the same thing. I work at a school district, and every desktop and laptop the district has purchased in the last 4-5 years (meaning every computer in use other than a few oddball donated models) has had a TPM module. I know because we had consistent problems with them under Windows XP and they had to be disabled, only to be re-enabled when the machines were migrated to Windows 7.

  • Lets break it down (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HeliumHigh ( 773838 ) <> on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:22PM (#39990205) Journal

    I agree with number 1 (Bring back the start button) if only for consistencies sake. Windows has had a start button for years and years, and most graphical operating systems have some a main system button in one form or another. Why fix it if it ain't broken? (An argument that could probably be applied liberally to 8's new GUI...)

    Number 2: Blu-ray support would be nice, but I actually like how they have removed most of the optical media licensing crap to the media/media pro packs (or whatever they are called). By the time 8 is out, I would bet a majority of consumer-grade computing devices won't have an optical drive. Blu-ray should be supported in the media pack, but I have no qualms if it isn't in the default stack of cards.

    As for number 3 (One Click Optical Drive Sharing), I think this might be the most valid criticisms on the list, mainly for the same reasons stated above: optical drives are going away. I currently have one optical drive in the house and have it shared via samba and few other ways, but this is a read-only approach.

    Number 4 (Drag to open) doesn't seem like a very harsh criticism, it feels more like list padding. I don't use drag and drop for just about anything after having found the keyboard is much faster though, so I should recuse myself from commenting on this one.

    As far as Virtual Desktops go (Number 5), it is technically unfeasible, for reasons I don't quite remember. Something to do with the way Windows handles windows which has escaped me for the moment. Nevertheless, there are third party applications of varying quality that already implement this, to a varying degree.

    Bring back visualbasic? (Number 6) No. Just no. That thing was a mess. Friends don't let friends script VB, drunk or otherwise.

    Number 7: Fonts preview app: I have the win8 consumer preview running in vmware right now, and the font folder looks pretty much untouched from win7. It still lets you preview installed fonts. More list-padding?

    I've got an easy fix for 8 (Dual-pane explorer). Use two explorer windows, one on the right one on the left. Or feel free to use something like Total Commander or its variants. They still make those, right?

    As for 9, I'm sure Microsoft is going to give a little polish to the out-of-box-experience. Just cause the alpha doesn't have it, doesn't mean it won't be there.

    10 is valid. I don't like where the shutdown button lives on win8. Move it up one level, just so that it is a little easier to find. I don't like to hunt and peck for a basic system function.

    • by Osty ( 16825 )

      As far as Virtual Desktops go (Number 5), it is technically unfeasible, for reasons I don't quite remember. Something to do with the way Windows handles windows which has escaped me for the moment. Nevertheless, there are third party applications of varying quality that already implement this, to a varying degree.

      Actually, virtual desktops should be trivial to do, and I'm surprised it hasn't been done yet. The key is Remote Desktop. Since XP/Server 2003, even your local console login session is essentiall

  • by scottbomb ( 1290580 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:28PM (#39990253) Journal

    That abomination that is Metro is enough to kill the deal for me. I will use Win 7 until it's end-of-support. Meanwhile, I'm dual-booting Xubuntu so that when 7 comes to an end, I'll already be comfortable with a different OS.

  • by bertok ( 226922 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:29PM (#39990263)

    Half of those "new" features are already in Windows 7, like AppLocker. I have USB3 support now. Sure, it's not "native", but it works, so who cares?

    A lot more interesting are the new features under the hood of Windows 8 server. Take a look at this article for example: Optimizing for Latency-Sensitive Applications: scenario overview [].

    Sure, it's not visible or shiny, but wow those are some big changes!

  • Too Bad... (Score:3, Funny)

    by RamenJunkie ( 2509554 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:30PM (#39990271) Homepage
    It's too bad that one of the features of Windows 8 isn't "Not a piece of crap".
  • Some sort of integrated 'Games' service 'for Windows' that I could connect to 'Live'. Just so I could play such popular games as 'Shadowrun' with my many friends (but no more than 100).

    But I'll understand if that technology is currently unworkable.

  • For the thousands of people who realize that maybe a Linux distro isn't that difficult after all, and decide to wipe this version of Windows, that doesn't seem meant for their desktop, off their hard drive.
  • by maccodemonkey ( 1438585 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:54PM (#39990397)

    ...features that have been in every other operating system for years.

    I can't believe people get excited for this. Now we have to deal with all the fanboys who every time they see these things in other operating systems are going to yell about people ripping off Microsoft.

  • I tried to come up with the 30 best features of Windows 1. I don't think it had 30 features, even counting startup and shutdown.
  • Why cant you mouse over the volume status in the system tray and roll your scroll wheel to change your volume? Linux has had it for over a decade.

    Really Microsoft, people would not mind it you implement this feature.

    • I'm fine with click the tray icon and roll the scroll wheel. You make it sound like that extra click is a tragedy. Given how tray icons work, this makes sense, btw. Otherwise explorer would have to catch what your doing and pass it to the tray icon.

  • by devent ( 1627873 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @09:09PM (#39990497) Homepage
    #1, delete opened files.

    It is so annoying everytime if I just want to look at a file or to open it in different editor, or delete I file I need first to search the app that opened it. In Linux you just open the file with whatever you want, move it, delete it, etc. no problems.

    #2, virtual desktops.

    If I work on a project and then want to look something up, or someone comes with an USB stick and I need to copy it, and open the files, I just switch the desktop. It's like you have one table full of stuff, then you go to a different table to eat your pizza, and then you go back to your work table. You don't put away your work stuff so you can eat the pizza, you just go to the kitchen table.

    #3 Fast file system checks.

    The fsck on Linux takes only 20 seconds for 100GB (ext4) why does Windows need minutes for a check?

    #4 A good command prompt

    I really hate the 1990 DOS command prompt. Can we please have a modern command prompt in the year 2012? A modern cmd prompt is: any true type font, any size also full size, completition of commands with tab key, searchable history of cmds, different background, different text color, etc. For an example of a modern cmd prompt, see Konsole (KDE).

    #5 Ease change of the desktop environments

    I mean a complete change, not just like a theme. I really like to replace the whole Windows desktop with KDE.

    #6 Good SSH integration.

    In Linux I can type in anywhere: ssh-add and it adds my ssh key for every program. Why can't it be that easy in Windows?

    • I was using some of those things you are asking for on a Win2k desktop in 2001, with a little help from a machine on the network. Now you can do it all with the help of a virtual machine on the physical host:
      Virtual desktops, desktop environments, Good SSH integration - I was doing that with X Windows on the Win2k desktop. Any X program that supports the extensions available can run across the network and a Window Manager is just another program to X. I was running KDE and Enlightenment on the remote hos
    • ReactOS replacement explorer.exe has 4 desktops from memory, though the file manager needs work.
      Works on xp

  • Hide The Features (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @09:28PM (#39990633) Homepage

    Clearly Microsoft hears complaints from users that computers are too complicated. Their solution, unfortunately, is to keep hiding things. Like that helps.

    I think it started with "personalized menus": the menu items you haven't used in a while get hidden... which rather defeats the purpose of menus, because you're less likely to remember seeing those less-used features to know they exist, and when you go looking for them, they're concealed. Filename extensions apparently confused some people, so now they're hidden... making it easier to trick people with trojans disguised as Word documents, befuddling them when they see two files (of different types) with the same name, and rendering files "unopenable" if they get saved somehow with the wrong (hidden) extension. They've been doing it with IE in a big way: taking buttons off the standard toolbar, removing button labels, and recently hiding the whole damn pull-down menu bar! The MS Office "ribbon" left me scratching my head trying to find the "print" button (or menu option) the first time I encountered it. The Start button has lost the word "start"... not exactly hidden, but no longer as easy for newbies to find when told to click on it. In Win7 (maybe it was Vista), the "log off" and other I'm done-using-the-computer options are now hidden under a non-descript arrow button. And now in Win8 (which I've looked at in preview only long enough to get frustrated trying to re-orient myself) they've hidden the Start button altogether, and made Shutdown even harder to find.

    Instead of actually simplifying the system, what they're doing is the equivalent of sweeping the complexity under a rug. It's still there. And often you still need it. But it's harder to get at. They're shoving more and more features into the system... then hiding them away. Along with a bunch of the old ones. Eventually it will get simple enough for my aged mother to use it... but by then I will find it totally unusable.

  • The List (Score:4, Informative)

    by TranquilVoid ( 2444228 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @09:30PM (#39990639)

    Here's the list not spread over 9 pages. I'm surprised there are 30 new things worth commenting on.

    #1. Interactive tiles

    #2. Task Manager

    #3. Run ISOs and VHDs natively

    #4. No new hardware requirements

    #5. Airplane mode

    #6. SkyDrive integration

    #7. Windows Store

    #8. Interactive lock screen

    #9. Split-screen apps

    #10. Split touch keyboard

    #11. App contracts

    #12. Fewer surprise restarts

    #13. Cross-device synchronisation

    #14. Improved 3G support

    #15. Built-in antivirus

    #16. Picture passwords

    #17. Instant search

    #18. Windows To Go

    #19. Secure Boot

    #20. Revamped Explorer

    #21. Restore PC

    #22. Thumbnail previews

    #23. Metro groups

    #24. Kinect for Windows

    #25. AppLocker

    #26. Reset PC

    #27. File copy revamp

    #28. Faster boot times

    #29. Native USB 3 support

    #30. Panoramic background images

    • Re:The List (Score:5, Informative)

      by bmo ( 77928 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @12:28AM (#39991565)

      Thank you for your enumeration. I will respond to these one by each.

      #1. Interactive tiles
      "The Metro start screen may not be everyone's cup of tea," Well, that's putting it very mildly.
      Metro specific. Start screen specific. Who cares. Just get that start screen out of my way, plox.
      #2. Task Manager
      Improved. Decent. One of the nicest task managers I've used. Now if only someone could port htop to Windows.
      #3. Run ISOs and VHDs natively
      About friggin' time. Linux has been doing this since forever ago. But you won't be able to play DVDs out of the box. Noooo.... You need to buy the Plus Pack for that. It's as if it's really 1998.
      #4. No new hardware requirements
      Well, considering the bloat going from XP to Vista/7 one would hope not. It's still too big for virtualizing.
      #5. Airplane mode
      Woopdedoo. Here is my airplane mode: Put on headphones. Listen to music. Sleep. Ignore person in seat next to me as much as possible.
      #6. SkyDrive integration
      This should be expected. SkyDrive doesn't suck.
      #7. Windows Store
      But forget about buying non-metro apps in it.
      #8. Interactive lock screen
      Tits on a bull useless. A lockscreen should show nothing but a prompt for a password and possibly the screensaver. It's a lockscreen for a reason.
      #9. Split-screen apps
      Don't we call these things windows? *looks* OH REALLY. IFRAMES ON THE DESKTOP. KILL IT WITH FIRE.
      #10. Split touch keyboard - an on-screen keyboard that is divided up into left and right sides
      Saying this to a touch-typist gets you nothing but ridicule.
      #11. App contracts
      KDE has had something like this since forever ago.
      #12. Fewer surprise restarts
      How about none? Please? The only surprise restart should be a STOP error, and at that point, it's a hardware/driver issue. All other restarts should be optional, like in sane operating systems.
      #13. Cross-device synchronisation
      Marketing fluff that means "rsync"
      #14. Improved 3G support
      But how does this help me as a desktop OS?
      #15. Built-in antivirus
      It would be nice to not need this, wouldn't it?
      #16. Picture passwords
      Only useful on touch devices.
      #17. Instant search
      Oh, you mean like what Linux has had since forever ago. Also, see Dolphin, Semantic Desktop etc.
      #18. Windows To Go
      Live distribution. "Innovation" as if Knoppix never existed.
      #19. Secure Boot
      Something that is designed to lock out other OSes from "windows certified" devices, enabled by default and unable to remove. Also: the army is always fighting the last war. Most malware runs in userspace now.
      #20. Revamped Explorer
      It still sucks.
      #21. Restore PC
      Only Windows users think it's normal to re-image the machine every quarter.
      #22. Thumbnail previews of active applications
      Woop, de, doo. old news, even on Windows. "But it's android style!!!!!" Wait, who is doing the innovating here?
      #23. Metro groups
      UI specific. Metro sucks. Therefore MetroGroups sucks.
      #24. Kinect for Windows
      This is actually useful and a Good Thing (TM)
      #25. AppLocker
      Listed, but article does not describe what it is, something to do with policies, therefore it is meaningless to the end user. This is a stretch, especially in an article targeted toward end users.
      #26. Reset PC
      dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/sda ; walk away, get lunch.
      #27. File copy revamp
      A user interface deal that does nothing about the suck-ass throughput when copying non-trivial amounts of files, like moving movie archives from one drive to another.
      #28. Faster boot times
      Yeah, well, this will be nuked by the user as soon as he or she installs $BONZIBUDDYCLONEOFTHEDAY from the app store. Purple gorillas for everyone!
      #29. Native USB 3 support
      In modern operating systems, this is pushed out with a kernel module update on existing systems. No idea why you would need an entire OS upgrade just for usb3.
      #30. Panoramic background images
      Oh my fucking god, we need this. We need this so much. TAKE MY MONEY ALL OF IT


  • I have to admit, i LIKE this feature. Everybody with me: Windows TO GO GO GO.
  • The best feature of Windows is that it's FREE!

  • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @09:57PM (#39990807)

    ten features they'd like to see added to Windows 8, including the return of the Start button on the desktop

    It's called the Stockholm syndrome [], an "apparently paradoxical psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them"

  • MyCleanPC! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I really hope Windows 8 includes MyCleanPC by default!

  • Initialize the the disk platter with GRUB, load Ubuntu, and have m$ in VMWare.

    Otherwise? It's Mothers Day, appreciate the one that loves you; even when you search for a Start Button.
  • Is it a good idea to make Task Manager consume even more CPU cycles? Especially if you're using it to find an application that is using 99% of the CPU9s) in the first place?

  • At first I thought Microsoft was drinking soo much of their own metro tablet coolaid it had melted their collective brains and caused them to go insane.

    Then I quickly realized a deeper truth. In their rush to emulate Apple MS no longer cares about me or my needs. A list of 30 useless features and a big fuck you over start menu makes my point for me. It is not about "new" or changes.. It is about flushing their existing market in an attempt to make more money in a different one currently saturated by App

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann