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What You Want from Windows 7

So, the beta version of Vista SP2 is now available, which is only important if you bothered with Vista or Vista SP1. Already, the reviews for SP2 beta lack enthusiasm but, hey, it's only a beta version, right? And Vista's only two years old -- it could still catch on. Right? Right?

Well, just in case it doesn't -- where's that "rolling eyes" emoticon when we need it? -- Windows 7 is well on its way. We asked you last week what you wanted from Windows 7, and some of you answered, in great detail, in the comments section of the RCPU blog online (and thank you for that). Some of you took the other route, though, and e-mailed your editor directly. We like both forms of feedback, so let's get to those e-mails:

Keith starts us off:

"The IT department here has been using Vista in case we decided to roll it out to the whole company, and I can definitely state that I have no intentions of doing so. I will use XP on my network as long as I possibly can. If Windows 7 is just a glorified version of Vista, then it may be time to migrate to Macs. It's obvious that Microsoft has lost its edge. But it remains to be seen if Apple, which has historically failed to capture the mainstream market, can use the Vista debacle to make strong gains on corporate America. I believe losing market share is the only way Microsoft will wake up and realize that Vista is a flop. It should have built Windows 7 on the XP core instead of the Vista core, in my opinion."

Keith, that whole message makes a lot of sense, especially the last bit. Why Microsoft insists that Vista's core is the way forward is as baffling to us as it is to you. (Then again, we here at RCPU don't build operating systems, so...) It certainly feels as though Redmond is trying to force the Vista-Windows 7 model down our throats, but we wonder how much leverage Microsoft still has to do that sort of thing these days. A lot, maybe, but it would be nice if Microsoft would listen to its customers and accept that Vista is largely a flop. Maybe Windows 7 will be much, much better than Vista -- but it'll have to be a massive improvement if Microsoft wants to win back the hearts and minds of a lot of users and partners.

Dave offers a similar perspective:

"IMO, Microsoft has three blind spots it will need to face before the rest of us will take a look at a new OS:

  1. Legacy applications. Vista won't run them, and all security issues aside, there has to be a way. If I wanted to re-buy all my applications, I'd switch to Mac.
  2. Testing. I purchased a brand-new HP with brand-new Vista Ultimate, and it's had unresolved problems since Day 1. I STILL have to reboot every day. I want an OS that is tested before I buy it.
  3. Parity. My Vista computer refuses to install updates, even after a complete re-install of Vista. XP gives me no trouble, so why change? I want to go beyond parity.

"The bottom line is: What am I going through this kind of pain for? The Aero interface? If that's the big attraction, then who cares? Microsoft assumes we find value in Vista but fails to convince us that Vista has more to offer than XP when, in fact, we find Vista to offer us less. What do I want? In a word, MORE."

We hear you, Dave. We feel sure that Keith hears you as well. The question is whether Microsoft hears you. Stay tuned.

Thanks to Keith and Dave for their thoughts on Vista. We'll be running more reader feedback this week, so get your thoughts in on anything and everything to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on December 09, 2008 at 11:55 AM