Microsoft wants a do-over -- or three

Redmond backtracks on Windows 7, rolls out more predictably botched patches, and hints at a possible return of the Windows Start button

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Windows: The trilogy
And then there are the rampant rumors about Threshold, the next version of Windows expected in spring 2015. Many analysts say Windows 8 and RT caused Ballmer's downfall. Now, as InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard writes, "Myerson appears to be dismantling the Jekyll-and-Hyde monstrosity that is Windows 8, instead replacing it with a triumvirate of products that people and companies will actually want."

If rumors about the next Windows prove true, it will offer users the do-over they have been waiting and agitating for: namely, a return of the Start button. Paul Thurrott says his source also revealed that the next version will be able to run Metro apps in floating windows on the desktop -- much as you can already do today with third-party utilities such as ModernMix.

Also amid the details leaked by sources, Leonhard says, is talk "about a single Windows core (which has been the holy grail of Windows development at least since Windows CE), with 'a few' Windows versions built on top of that core." These could include the following: First, a "modern" Metro consumer version, designed to run on ARM and Intel-based devices; second, a traditional consumer version that would include a desktop and "be customized so that mouse/keyboard users will be able to continue to have some semblance of productivity and familiarity with Windows"; and third, a stodgy old-fashioned traditional Enterprise version -- what Leonhard calls OFW, for old fogey's Windows -- with "all the usual business bells and whistles, like support for Win32 apps."

"Who knows? Windows might actually become relevant again," Leonhard says.

Caught in a Black Tuesday time loop
And lastly, no list of Microsoft do-overs would be complete without mention of its perennially and predictably botched patches -- so much so that InfoWorld's Leonhard has proposed a Patch Monday "that would give software manufacturers, corporate customers with patch testing capabilities, enthusiasts, and, yes, hackers, a one-day head start on the pandemonium that invariably ensues upon unleashing Automatic Updates."

Microsoft's most recent flawed updates had customers complaining about a wide array of Outlook 2013 problems.  Leonhard writes:

At the time it seemed like a relatively minor problem that would be diagnosed and fixed quickly. Over the ensuing weeks, reports started surfacing about two related problematic patches, KB 2837618 and KB 2837643. Resolving the Outlook 2013 problems may -- in some cases -- involve removing both of the bad patches; removing one or the other might not solve the problem. Microsoft hasn't documented any problems with the latter patch, and we don't yet have definitive word when the problems will be fixed.

In Microsoft's "Groundhog Day" time loop, perhaps it will all come right in the end.

This story, "Microsoft wants a do-over -- or three," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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