Thoughts on making Windows even better

by Michael West3 years ago

Windows 10. An operating system used by over 400 million people worldwide, that is now over a year old. It’s seen two major updates in the shape of the November Update last year and the more recent Anniversary Update this summer. Microsoft reports that it’s the most well-received version of Windows ever, and I can agree with them.

It’s a great OS…

Windows 10 (version 1511 render)

…but it isn’t flawless.


I don’t like everything that the Windows team is doing and so I came up with a list of things I’d do differently in their place.

Bring back features from Windows 8.1

As I use Windows 10, more and more, I notice features that used to be present in Windows 8.1 are missing in Windows 10. It’s often the little things that I miss, such as sliding down on the lock screen to quickly access the camera or the rather useful feature that would install a Windows Store app on all devices associated with the same Microsoft account.

There are also bigger things that are missing.

Placeholders is one of them, although evidence was seen at Microsoft Ignite that this feature may very well return in the next major update to Windows, dubbed Creators Update.

Bing Smart Search (see below) is also another feature that I miss, and whilst I understand that it may be more difficult to integrate into Windows 10 because of Cortana, I still think it can be done.

Bing Smart Search in Windows 8.1
Bing Smart Search in Windows 8.1


Then there are the minor things, such as Start menu sync and the much more advanced settings sync we had with Windows 8.1.

Little features, but ones that would be greatly appreciated if they were reintegrated back into Windows.

The return of Windows RT (in a way)

Windows RT was Microsoft’s version of Windows 8 for ARM devices and whilst the idea behind it was a good, its execution was poor. Legacy features such as the Microsoft Management Console and the Windows desktop remained, confusing users, and slowing down the system. The limited selection of apps in the Windows Store however was what ultimately led to its demise.

Things have changed now though. With the Universal Windows Platform, there is nothing stopping fully featured apps from being developed for ARM based systems.

When I talk about the return of RT, I do not mean simply recompiling Windows 10 for ARM processors (a Windows 10 RT, if you will). I instead much prefer the idea of optimizing Windows 10 Mobile for tablets and small notebooks. Microsoft recently upped the maximum screen size for a Mobile device to 9 inches and they have also shown off new features that will allow windowed apps, along with a more desktop-like experience in general in Continuum.


Microsoft showed off new Continuum features at their Ignite conference in October. Could this evolve into the next Windows RT?
Microsoft showed off new Continuum features at their Ignite conference in October. Could this evolve into the next Windows RT?

Listen to the community

Microsoft has come a long way when it comes to listening to users. In just over two years, we have come from Windows 8.1, which was widely criticized for it’s user unfriendliness, to Windows 10:

An OS that asks its users to rate and review aspects of the system in an effort to make things better, along with allowing users to test pre-release software to find bugs and give feedback on new features.

Whilst there is still a lot left to be improved in the Insider Program, (I recommend reading Michael Young’s article, “Thoughts about the current state of the Insider Program” to learn more about that), it is a start.

Microsoft should now take the next step and begin to listen and communicate with respected members of the community. These are people who know what they’re doing and who can offer extremely helpful advice or information, but who are turned off by Microsoft’s reluctance to listen to the things they say. This will make things better for everyone, and hopefully establish a good working relationship between the people who develop Windows and the people who actually use Windows.

These are just a few of the things I’d like to see improvements in.

What would you do differently, if anything at all? Let us know in the comments below!


Michael West – Inside Windows