What I Want From Longhorn

So last week seemed like a yawner for the windows business. Msft’s quarterly results showed a mature business. People at winhec were bored with longhorn — at best.

It got me to thinking about what I really want in the next version of windows. A lot of the discussion around longhorn concerns what I would classify as middleware — tagging, searching, graphical layout, media, etc. I can get a lot of this today without buying a whole new OS — and in fact would prefer to get this unbundled from my OS, and would prefer to get my OS unbundled from middleware.

What I really want an OS to do is get the most out of my hardware, and more to the point, make my hardware work. Here are some things I want

* Smart hard disk failure prediction. All the hard disks are instrumented, most of the utilities suck, but Microsoft should have the data to do a great job of failure prediction, especially if they pool real experience across all Windows users.
* Video card stability. I play games, I have to download unapproved video drivers all the time, I wish the latest cards had better driver support.
* Correctly working Usb attached drives. So often my XP machine decides it can’t find the drives. Why? I have no idea. But it happens on all my machines and I’ve heard it from other people too.
* Bios patching. I’ll leave it for another day why we still have to deal with BIOSes at all, but given we do — why can’t windows find and apply all the patches for me?
* Overclocking support. Give me a nice UI to deal with processor, ram, videocard clocking, and save me from doing wrong things.
* Real working hibernation and suspend. I don’t use these features ever because so many devices don’t respond correctly to these state changes.
* Sata support. It is terrible that using a sata drive requires me to insert a floppy at windows install time — who the heck has floppy drives any more???
* Software raid — please let me bond together heterogeneous drives, stripe across them, replicate across them, etc.
* Power usage monitoring and budgeting. As my buddy rich tong has pointed out, a ton of system failures are due to insufficient power supplies.
* Wireless USB. Please support asap!
* Better printer and camera drivers. I hate all the shovelware that the printer and camera guys provide. Just please include the simplest possible drivers to print pages and to suck files off the camera. Phone drivers too so I can sync with ANY phone, not just msft’s smartphones — and don’t tell me to use ActiveSync, that thing is a confusing and confused piece of software.
* Multicore support. Do something interesting with this. Don’t let the additional core just get sucked into the miasma of windows startup tasks, etc.

My point is — the OS should make my hardware work great and work flawlessly, that should be the point of an OS release. I don’t want delivery of these features slowed down by middleware integration, and I don’t want middleware delivery slowed down by inclusion of all these hardware features.