Now that 7 is out and seemingly doing well, we can finally turn our attention to the next version of Windows and what it needs to improve upon over the older version of Windows. Now, with the 7 just being sold, it would be hard to try and pick apart the software issues and compatibility problems that it may have, but the one thing we can look at is the confusing product matrix. The complaints about Microsoft’s operating system product matrix have been around ever since they came out with Windows Vista and the huge number of options it came with, which largely just confused consumers looking to upgrade their XP machines.
Rather than learn from their mistakes with Vista, Microsoft took largely the same tact with 7, releasing an upgrade and a full install version in 32 bit and 64 bit with 3 versions to choose from – Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate. The upgrade and the full install versions would mean that retail outlets would have to carry 6 different versions of Windows 7 provided they only wanted to carry the 32 bit versions. The price for all these versions run from 120 dollars all the way up to 320 dollars. Microsoft’s only two competitors in the operating system market, Apple and open source Linux distributions, ran 29 dollars and free respectively for their latest releases.
My first wish for Windows 8, the one thing I want them to do differently from Windows 7 and Vista, is to release a single disc to retailers. A single disc that contains a full copy of Microsoft Windows 8 that gives the customer the option of either installing a clean system or upgrading their existing OS in place. I’m sure that Microsoft pays some pretty good programmers, they should be able to figure out how to get the 32 and 64 bit version of their operating system on a single disc and have it automatically choose the best option during the install or upgrade.
I’m not exactly sure how they did it, but I know that I can choose which kernel my computer boots into – either 32 bit or 64 bit simply by holding down two keys on my keyboard during boot-up. I’m positive that Microsoft has the ability to do the same thing, which might help with running 32 bit applications on a 64 bit system.
My second wish for Windows 8 is to get rid of the annoying “Windows Genuine Advantage” program. I get that Microsoft is concerned about piracy, but it does not make me feel good about a company that treats me like I am a potential software pirate. If I’m using your software it means that I paid for it and I should be able to install it without having to jump through hoops just to get it to run. I’m not saying I wish I could just buy a single copy of Windows 8 and then be able to upgrade all of my computers, all of my friends computers, and the computers of people I may or may not have met at a Windows 7 launch party. I have no problem with buying a single copy of Windows for a single computer, if there are people that want to install the latest version of Windows on a couple of computers in their home, give them an option for a family pack – one that isn’t a “limited time only” offer. Getting rid of the type of copy protection and activation headaches that have plagued Windows since XP will help the average consumer to have a better computing experience, the people that might abuse the system and pirate Windows would do it regardless of any copy protection system that has been put in place.