I’m not all that excited about the (late next year) forthcoming new version of Windows (now called Vista, previously called Longhorn), mainly because it sounds like Microsoft has decided to leave a lot of the previously heralded features out and the end of next year is a long, long way away (plus the release date will undoubtedly move back several times).
Installation seems to be easier. I’m dubious of the new desktop search, because it can’t be as good as, but may spell the end of, my beloved X-1. My Documents, which is somewhat of a nightmare now, especially in Windows 2000, seems to have miraculously become more confusing, which is not what most computer users need. The Parental Controls stuff sounds promising, since my kids will be well supervised computer-wise by the time Vista ships. Tabs in Internet Explorer 7 looks very useful and is, as Paul points out, very overdue. Microsoft still seems to be optomistically pushing voice recognition, but everybody knows that its no more than a neat toy that is utterly useless for increasing productivity for most users (though undoubtedly of great value for people with disabilities). Networking (perhaps the most important thing) looks spotty in this release, but will undoubtedly be fixed in future beta releases.
I was a beta tester for Windows 95 and it was sort of fun. But these days I just want my computer to work. I think I’ll wait until the end of 2006 or better yet, the middle of 2007.