10 must-have features for Windows 9

Desktop users deserve a significant rethink of the Windows 8 gaffes and omissions for the next version of Windows

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Windows 9 must-have feature No. 8: A Control Panel that controls

Would somebody please tell me why I can't add a new Windows user by going through the Control Panel? Why do I have to jump to the Metro Control, er, Change PC Settings program and find the Users section to add a new name?

Wait, that's only the half of it. If I want to add a new admin account to my Windows 8 PC, I have to add a regular account over in Metro, then switch back to the desktop, crank up the Control Panel, go into Users, and change the account over to an admin account? That's plain ridiculous.

Windows 9 deserves a Control Panel that controls everything. If Microsoft wants to split off idiot-proof, er, user-friendly subsets of the Control Panel and stick them in the Metro interface, that's cool. But don't castrate the Control Panel to do it.

Windows 9 must-have feature No. 7: Let me choose my chrome, thank you very much

Microsoft dropped Aero and Glass because they pushed graphics too hard, draining the battery to create their shiny effects. Those poor little ARM chips (which happen to come from the most advanced video chip manufacturers) couldn't take the load. So we were told that Microsoft has "moved beyond Aero Glass -- flattening surfaces, removing reflections, and scaling back distracting gradients," calling the Aero Glass interface "dated and cheesy."


I like Aero, I like Glass. If you don't, fine -- that's what makes a horse race. But I spent two hundred bucks on a GTX 660 with 960 cores, 80 texture units, and 2GB of GDDR5 memory sitting on a 192-bit bus. It can render Aero like a hot Surface melting butter and generate Bitcoins by the bushel.

Why can't it give me Aero Glass? Hey, Microsoft, if you want to hobble your interface just to run on some wimpy processor, I won't begrudge you the effort. You can make the Windows 9 interface look even more like Windows 3.1, if you like. But let me get back the chrome I had in Windows 7, OK?

Windows 9 must-have feature No. 6: Metro apps at iPad standards


Put any of Windows 8's built-in Metro apps up against their iPad counterparts. There isn't one of them that's close to the competition -- not one. (My InfoWorld colleague Galen Gruman, however, does see some wins for Metro apps vs. those on the iPad.)

Metro Mail won't even connect to a POP email server, for heaven's sake. Metro Pictures can't correct red-eye. Navigating any folders, anywhere, is almost as easy as typing CD on a DOS command line. The Xbox Music and Video apps are mere extended ads, with minimal functions. The Windows iTunes program (which I personally swear at on a frequent basis) had more features nine years ago. The Metro apps are so bad they're embarrassing. Don't get me started.

While I'm on the topic, why isn't there a Metro calculator that's as good as calc.exe?

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