Windows 8 is currently out and in the hands of manufacturers and a select group of testers, pointing to a possible public Beta this September. We wanted to take this time to share a collection of features that Windows 8 needs to bring to the table to deliver a better out of the box experience and deliver some real competition to Mac OS X.
These are fairly modest changes, but would go a long way to allowing users to use their computer right out of the box.
4 Essential Windows 8 Features
1. No crapware from vendors: We review a large number of Windows notebooks every month and the biggest disappointment is trying to wade through the crapware that pops up and asks us to sign up for this or that while all we want to do is check out email. Even Internet Explorer isn’t safe with numerous toolbars often installed out of the box.
With Windows 8, Microsoft should put an end to this crap, and tell the manufacturers that the practice of installing a half dozen demos is finished. If this isn’t an option, the initial configuration of Windows 8 should allow the user to click a button to “DeCrapify” and opt for an optimized version of Windows 8.
If vendors want to fight this, we’d be OK with a, yes one single, link on the desktop that directs users to a manufacturer web app store with demos and software.
2. Better inclusion of Windows Live Essentials and Branding: On a Mac, the ability to jump into iPhoto and iMovie is a huge plus, allowing users to get to work creating fun masterpieces. Microsoft already has the tools to make this happen with a little bit of work. Rather than ask users to download another software package, bake Windows Live Essentials right into Windows 8. While you’re at it, spend some time making Windows Live Movie Maker a usable movie editor.
The “To the Cloud” commercials are a good start, but Microsoft needs to show users what they can do with these tools.
3. Microsoft Security Essentials Out of the Box: Rather than shipping an operating system that needs protection without protection, Microsoft should include Microsoft Live Security Essentials in Windows 8 right out of the box. Sure, this may upset third party anti-virus sellers, but the users will benefit greatly. So long as users can install their own antivirus software Microsoft should be OK to proceed.
4. Built in Backup That is Transparent: Windows 7 is better about backing up, but it still falls short of the Time Machine experience that Mac users enjoy. Microsoft would be well served to make built in backup a big part of Windows 8. If Microsoft doesn’t have the answer, just take some cash and buy up a company like CrashPlan that makes backup software that the average user actually understands and save us all the heartache of lost files.
Signature Windows Experience
Microsoft already sells Signature notebooks and PCs that run faster and are free of, “trialware and sample software that slows your computer down and makes it a pain to clean out all that stuff, just to get your new PC up and running.” These Signature Windows 7 notebooks come with Live Essentials, Security Essentials and an optimized version of Internet Explorer; essentially delivering the version of Windows 7 we want to see as a standard. Unfortunately, you can only get these options when you buy direct from Microsoft.
It’s time Microsoft took a bit more control with the operating system to deliver a better overall user experience. Not to take all the blame of Microsoft, but for quite some time the company has taken the blame for the “crap” installed by OEMs. It’s time that Microsoft stands up for the users and protects the Windows brand and user experience.