5 features everyone wants to see in Windows 10

A few days ago I candidly expressed my feelings on why I thought Windows 10 is the answer to the wrong question.  A few months before that, I talked about why I think Microsoft is poised to fail.

Well today I want to show you a propitious sign that seems to indicate that Microsoft cares about what we have to say.

Microsoft is using the feedback system from uservoice.com to see the top complaints people have against Windows 10.

I bet you 100 bit coins that you can’t guess what the biggest complaint is.

Let’s talk about what you want.  What features are you telling Microsoft that you want in next versions of its operating system?

Admittedly, even if the top requests are implemented it won’t be the anodyne you need to heal the painful quirks of Windows 8 and 8.1, but if Microsoft seriously considers public opinion on this release, it could shape Windows 10 into a winner.

Let’s jump into the top five features requests that everyone is asking for:

  1. Tabbed browsing in File Explorer
  2. Making Windows 10 free
  3. Include third-party drivers in Windows Update
  4. Merge PC settings with the Control Panel
  5. Redesign icons to use modern flat UI

Did you guess tabbed browsing as the number one feature?

Let’s explore the feature request list.

Windows 10 feature request list

The first thing you’ll see are voluminous requests to add a Persian Calendar to Windows.

I don’t know if these requests are legitimate or why there are so many of them but it appears that the Microsoft Store is inaccessible to a bunch of Iranians and they currently don’t have a calendar in their native language.  If anyone knows more about this please let me know.

1. Tabbed Browsing in File Explorer

Crazy windows in File Explorer

First up on the agenda are tabs.

It’s all about the tabs baby.

Tabs were introduced to the world via web browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.  Since everyone is already conversant with them, they are a perfectly sensible idea for Windows.

Everyone knows how to use them so why not include native support in Windows 10?

People want any easier way to sift through the melee of Windows on their busy screens.  Moreover, people want a way to group tabs, color them and possibly even align them in multiple panes.

Windows Explorer has undergone some minuscule changes over the years but most of them were just nice to have (think of the Ribbon bar).  I actually think adding tabbed browsing to the File Explorer is imperative and shouldn’t be ignored.  It doesn’t need to be enabled by default but it should at least be an enablable (is that a word?) option.

Probably not – but who cares?  Dictionaries are for wimps.

2. Give me Windows 10 for free!

Image credit Amazon AWS

Interesting enough, the number two most requested feature is to make Windows 10 a free upgrade for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 home users.

The more I think about it the more it make sense.

Microsoft needs to make bold moves if it wants to ingratiate itself with its customers. After Windows 8 strutted on the stage, people left in droves.  And this is the thing: I don’t have any data to support this but I think Windows 8 was the impetus behind an exodus of loyal Windows users.

Some people fled to Linux while other went to Mac and part of the rationale for using a Mac is that Apple offers Mac OS X Mavericks and Yosemite as a free upgrade.

I like free.

Who doesn’t like free.

I’m not advocating that Microsoft release the enterprise version of Windows 10 for free but enabling existing home users to upgrade free of cost is a judicious marketing move.  Microsoft should consider it.

3. Include 3rd party updates in Windows Update

Windows updates in Windows 10

It’s easy to use Windows update to update your Microsoft products but what about non-microsoft products?

No one wants to do the Google dance looking for drivers through the labyrinthine maze of multiple websites.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just attach your Logitech Webcam, Neat Receipt Scanner and iPhone 6 and update all your drivers, regardless of vendor, from one place?

Nice idea but this is actually a controversial feature because it seems to conjure up more problems than it solves.

For example, if all Lenovo, Sony, Dell, Intel, Adobe and every other vendor has updates injected into Windows Updates then who would manage the whole process?  If Adobe discovers a bug with Adobe Reader then how long would it take for Microsoft to approve the newer update?  Would Microsoft even want to filter hundreds of thousands of approvals in this way?  Whose responsibility would it be to test the quality of these updates? And what’s to stop viruses from proliferating through Windows Updates?I guess you could use Digital Signatures for vendor authenticity and integrity but managing updates this way doesn’t seem like a viable option.

I know Linux already has a source list that allows the biggest vendors the ability to add drivers but I can’t think of a smart way to do the same in Windows 10.

I don’t know.

Do you think this idea could work its way into the final release Windows 10?

4. Merge PC Settings with the Control Panel

Merge PC Settings with the Control Panel

In Windows 10, I think Microsoft mollified everyone who couldn’t deal with the split-personality of the disjointed Start Screen and Start Menu.

Boot to desktop was a welcome change and the Start Menu made people feel a little more comfortable with the OS; however, there’s still one little thing that a lot of people take umbrage with: PC Settings and the Control Panel are redundant so why not merge them?

Seriously, what’s the point of the PC Settings Metro App?  Wasn’t that for touch screen users?  Microsoft can’t be different things to different people.

In other words, you can’t befriend both touch and non-touch users with a single OS.  Microsoft tried that but made an abortive effort with Windows 8 and I think PC Settings is a legacy component of that debacle.

Here’s the bottom line: No one really wants to use PC Settings.  Everyone remembers and loves the Control Panel from the Windows XP epoch so why is Microsoft making everyone use this weird and superfluous PC Settings thing?

Microsoft, think about all the new users out there!  Computer settings are confusing enough but now we have to tell new computer users to go to PC Settings for some things but the Control Panel for others?  How can we expect people to remember this sort of thing?

All your PC settings should be in one place and that one place should be the Control panel.  Period.

5. Redesign icons with a flat UI

These new icons in Windows 10 would like nice

People want prettier icons.

With the proliferation of HD monitors these days, you could probably argue that hyper-realistic icons are the way to go.  But I actually think the converse is true: a flat simply UI is adequate.

For example, check out the Enrique Alonso Ramirez Tejeda’s beautiful icon remix for Windows 10.

I also think it would be a good idea to have the Modern Apps use the same icon style as traditional desktop apps.  This would help to unify both screens and would result in an overall improved user experience.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately it doesn’t matter what we think right?

Microsoft is going to do what it thinks is best for the business.  And when its agenda is incongruous with its customers, history has shown that it will side with itself.

I know I sound cynical but I can’t help it.

But here’s the thing:

If Microsoft integrates tabbed browsing into File Explorer, offers Windows 10 as a free upgrade to Windows 8 and 8.1 users, figures out a way to include 3rd party drivers in Windows Updates (I don’t think this is possible though), junks PC Settings for the Control Panel and refreshes the icon library – it could seriously get back in the game.  Right now it’s on the bleachers.

What do you think is the biggest think Microsoft needs to do in Windows 10?  I’m really curious to here what you think about all this.

Share in the comments below!

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  • laurentgv

    No, clearly not “everyone” wants flat icons (or a flat UI in general).

    Sure, “people want prettier icons”. That doesn’t mean flat. For all those who asked for new icons (which, again, doesn’t necessarily means flat) in the requests, there are just as many who want Aero back (the opposite of flat).

    Flatness may be the latest fad but it generally doesn’t look good. Enough people said so when 8 came out and they voted with their wallet. Gradients also have a functional purpose besides look: they help the eye intuitively interpret icons and borders without them being huge and garish. Why do you think they brought back shadows instead of Windows 8’s huge window borders?

    Make new, simpler, more uniform icons… but instead of making them flat to match the rest of the UI, bring back gradients into the whole UI. Or at least make it an option.

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  • HADI HADDADIAN

    Persian language added to windows 10.