A Better View Through Thinner Windows?

imageThere’s been a lot of talk recently about the digital diet that Windows 8 seems to be on.  A diet that is as promising as it is overdue.  Let me be clear.  I think it’s wonderful that the next version of the venerable, but a little long in the tooth, operating system is looking to shed some bloat.

In fact, I think Windows 8 can be a game changer.  On the desktop and on various mobile devices.

How much of a game changer depends on whether Microsoft is being visionary or reactionary.  If the former, Windows 8 could set the stage for both the reinvention of the desktop and Microsoft’s long awaited push into the mobile space, after a few starts and stops.

But let’s not kid ourselves.  Microsoft has to recreate Windows.  Because the world is going small and mobile and the current and past versions of Windows are not well suited for small and mobile.  I remember trying to use Windows 7 on an HP Netbook.  It was a horrible experience, because of the hardware and the software.

On the other hand, Windows 7 on a regular laptop or a desktop is mostly a wonderful experience.  And that’s saying something.  Microsoft has to make an operating system that will run on an almost infinite number of devices.  Apple, on the other hand, has to make an operating system that will run on a handful.

Microsoft’s biggest advantage is its biggest problem.  Zillions of hardware makers jacking around with its product.  And its image.

Start a Windows machine for the first time, and get it set up the way you like it.  Then do the same thing with a new Mac.  The initial Windows experience is, at best, a time consuming chore.  The initial Mac encounter is simply cinematic.  Some of this is not Microsoft’s fault.  I refuse to buy an HP machine, because they put so much bloatware on them (it still chaps me that they make you uninstall those stupid games one at a time).

Fortunately, it looks like Microsoft is in the process of addressing many of these issues.  Bloatware, via the Signature program.  Yet another ridiculous name, but I applaud the intent – as long as it’s not a half-baked smokescreen to drive people into Microsoft Stores (the horror).  Bloated load times are under attack via a combination of a traditional boot with hibernation.  This is excellent news.

And, of course, look for a bit of mandatory cloud integration.  Which makes the primary job of the operating system to load fast, and get out of the way.

Yes.  All of this is really good news.

I use Macs, but I run Windows via Parallels, all the time.  I’m writing this blog post via Live Writer.  But even after installing Windows 7 on my iMac, I had to go in and remove a bunch of stuff I don’t want.  And that’s from a downloaded (via TechNet) Microsoft iso.  It’s ten times worse with an OEM machine.

So…

I have very high hopes for Windows 8.  I have reasonably high hopes that Microsoft will be successful in reducing the bloatware that ends up on PCs.  I just hope Microsoft gets in front of the curve.  It’s time to stop playing catch-up.

It’s time to lead quickly, load quickly, and get out of the way.