August 31st, 2019 by Mike Fulton
Categories: Microsoft, Windows

Microsoft has released build 18970.1005 of Windows 10. This what they call a features update, as opposed to a “bug fix and security patch” update.

The two big changes here are an updated UI for tablet devices, and a change to the Windows Reset feature that allows you to download Windows files instead of using a local recovery partition on your hard drive.

These are worthwhile updates, but they’re not really something many people will get too excited about. And that got me thinking…

We haven’t really heard much about what’s coming after Windows 10. What and when is the next big version of Windows?

Several major versions of Windows ago, Microsoft was doing press previews of new features they were working on. This was a year or two before the new version in question was released, and when it did come out, many of hose new features were nowhere to be found. I presume they either couldn’t get them working like they wanted, or else they simply decided they weren’t the great idea that they first seemed to be.

Here Are Things Microsoft Needs To Fix, And New Fefatures They Need to Add

Cleanup Desktop Clutter — The problem of desktop clutter goes back to the earliest days of the GUI. If you let users put unlimited numbers of icons anywhere they want on the desktop, that’s exactly what they’ll do.

I’m not saying users shouldn’t be allowed to do that soft of thing, but it’d be nice if there were better tools for dealing with it when it gets out of hand.

When I was a System Admin, I couldn’t help noticing how messy and cluttered some people’s desktops were. A few here and there were neat and clean but they were far outnumbered by the cluttered ones.

Aside from the aesthetic question, the main problem here is that the mess makes it hard to find specific items. It’s like playing a less fun version of Where’s Waldo.

Microsoft needs to come up with a way of organizing t his mess, even if it’s a temporary while-you–look-at-it fix.

My approach would be something like, Control-Click on an icon and it fades out or hides all other types of file. Like if you Control-Clicked on a PDF file, it would fade out all other file types like JPEG, TTXT, XLSX, etc. Hit the ESC key and the files unhide or fade back in.

File System Metadata

One thing Mac users have enjoyed pretty m much forever is the ability to use file system metadata. The Finder allows them to add custom notes to each file, assign files to categories and so forth. The Mac implementation of this idea is fairly simple but eyry, very useful.

This sort of thing is decades overdue for Windows users and let’s take things a step or five further than what the Mac does, just so you can say you didn’t copy it, if for no other reason.

  • Add notes to each file or folder
  • Assign each file or folder to one or more categories
  • Assign tags to each file or folder
  • Search by any of these

Last but not least, these things need to work regardless of the underlying file system (i.e. NT FS, FAT32, EXFAT, etc.) and the metadata has to move with the file regardless of what tool might be used to move or copy a file.

I didn’t say it was going to be easy.

Improved Start Menu Editor

It took a fair amount of trial and error but I really like the Start Menu as it currently stands. But it’s a pain in the ass to customize so many users don’t even bother. Microsoft needs to come up with a better option. This should include:

  • Method(s) to select multiple items – shift click, control-click, rubber band selection
  • Resize all items in current selection
  • Option to Rename A Start Menu item

Finish Moving Stuff To The Settings Panel

Once upon a time we had the Control Panel: a unified place to access various settings and system options. This worked pretty well but it wasn’t always as user friendly as one might like, so Microsoft came up with the Settings window starting in Windows 8. This was essentially the same basic idea of the Control Panel but redone using the UI conventions of Windows 8. However, not everything in the Control Panel was to be found in the Settings panel. In fact in many cases the Settings Panel simply had links or buttons that led to the original Control Panel items. Over time, the Settings Panel has been updated so that the original Control Panel items are used less and less, but plenty of them are still there.

Microsoft needs to finish this migration.

Update The Damn Command Prompt Already!

The Command Prompt, s text-based command line shell, isn’t going away any time soon, and that’s good as it’s a useful tool. However, the Command Prompt is essentially unchanged in the last 40 (holy freakin’ crap!!!!!!!) years. That’s not so good. T here are several minor updates that are long overdue.

Better Editing — You can mark a block and cut or copy it, but it’s a pain in the ass. This needs to work better.

Change Font Options — You can change font settings, but it’s limited nd again, a pain in the ass.

Tear Down The Text/GUI wall — A text-based command shell can still have some GUI mixed in. Fixing the editing functions would be a step towards this, but there’s more t hat can be done.

One of the things I’ve always hated about text-based command shells is navigating drives and folders and doing thigs like entering long filenames for something several folder levels deep. I Can’t think of a single reason why one couldn’t have a toolbar button that brings up a GUI for navigating to a drive and folder. Another button could lead to a GUI file selector. None of this would prevent you from typing in things the old-fashioned way but now you’d have options.

History Browser — How about a op-up window that lets you view your command history? Yes, you can already use the up and down arrow keys, but it’s easy to lose track of things with that setup.

Update T he Task Bar

The Task Bar hasn’t changed much in quite awhile but there are some updates I’d like to see.

Sizeable Icons — I wat a slider that goes from teeny tiny to way too feakin’ big.

Icon Stacks — Or maybe you’d call this Icon folders. Basically, the ability to have an icon that leads to other icons. I could have a “Games” icon that leads me to icons for individual games.