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5 ways Microsoft can kill the Windows 7 buzz

Millions of you have the Windows 7 beta installed, and for the most part people seem to be enjoying it. It's been almost universally praised as being "everything Vista should have been" and "Microsoft's most stable beta to date."

Yes, the internet is all atwitter about Windows 7 and that should be great news for Microsoft. Unless, of course, they manage to suck the wind out of the sails.

How would that even be possible?

1. Keep confusing everyone with the versions

Yesterday it was announced that there would be six versions of Windows 7 for sale. Half of those, however, you'll never really see as a consumer, because the emphasis will be on Premium, Pro, and Ultimate.

The Upgrade won't actually upgrade your existing OS, just your license. Wait, what? So the Upgrade requires a doing a fresh install? Oh, that's not misleading average consumers.

There isn't going to be a netbook version, but Starter will be available everywhere. It's only an option as a preinstalled OS from system builders. But you won't want Starter anyway, because Ultimate runs fine on under-powered systems. And you can only run three apps simultaneously with Starter, which severely hampers usability.

But they're still going to release it. So there.

2. Offer non-compelling Ultimate extras

Vista Ultimate owners, I feel for you. Where are your awesome extras? What is it that cost you almost $400?

What will Windows 7 Ultimate get you? Bitlocker? Really? Most potential Ultimate users probably already have a good encryption solution like TrueCrypt, which is free. Booting from a virtual HDD? Interesting, but why not stick with your favorite desktop virtualization app, like VirtualBox or VMWare?

Wait, wait! You get all the language packs, and that's exciting, right? I guess that's good news if you're a polyglot.

3. Fix things in a way that unfixes them

So long, annoying UAC! Man, that sure was a drag in Vista. The downside is, malware written by a 6-year-old can now disable your UAC completely without you ever knowing about it. As Long Zheng pointed out, all you need to protect against that is a simple prompt when something tries to shut off or modify UAC. Is that too much to ask?

The biggest unfix: startup repair. In the name of all that is holy, why does it need to take 40 minutes? I can pull my hard drive, install it in another desktop, run chkdsk on it in Windows, and throw it back in the offending system in about a quarter of that time. I can reinstall Windows 7 from scratch in that amount of time.

Thanks, but that kind of fix I can do without.

4. Don't provide killer examples of your new functionality at work

Federated search connectors are an awesome idea with tons of potential. Who has come up with the most interesting ones so far?

Microsoft? Nope. Enthusiasts.

Why is that? If this is really an exciting development, then why aren't there some really great connectors for download from the Personalization site?

And what about IE8? It's going to be right there on most Windows 7 desktops, so why aren't there any really cool web slices? Even the MSN offerings stink, and they don't render properly half the time.

5. Release Windows 7 before it's ready

Vista took a beating because it wasn't fully cooked when Microsoft pulled it out of the oven, and people weren't too happy about it. Don't get me wrong - even in its present state, Windows 7 can out-OS Vista. It's just that there are bound to be issues that pop up if it gets rushed out to consumers before 7 is totally ready.

The temptation is strong for Microsoft to get the RTM done in time for the 2009 holiday season, but this release really needs to be a complete about face from what we saw with Vista.

Tags: osupdates, windows-7

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