back to article Microsoft's Windows 8 goals revealed

Microsoft's successor to Windows 7 is taking shape - and that shape looks suspiciously like an iPad supplementing a diet of media with online services. A set of Microsoft slides, apparently leaked online here and expanded here, have mapped out the company's design and feature goals for Windows 8. Among those goals: Windows 8 …

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Concept Machine

It also seems that they have stolen the 2012 olympic mascot for the all in one form factor

http://msftkitchen.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Windows-8-Machine.png

Incidentally - if you google image search "2012 Mascots" its not until the 5th before the first picture of them, but ill save you the hasse: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2010/5/19/1274285749487/London-2012-olympic-masco-006.jpg

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WTF?

gotta be kiddin me

I guess there's no longer any point to keep saying "these guys just don't get it."

Facial recognition? Is this April 1? Who the heck needs, or wants, yet another buggy layer of software preventing them from getting Windows started? I actually worked on facial recognition some years ago. It is in no way, shape or form ready for a consumer product. Who cares about multi-user personal systems anyway? Who cares about "user desktop preferences"? No one I know.

They can't solve Windows' performance problems, and they can't produce a light, fast version, so they're offering a souped-up reset button? Am I SURE this isn't April 1?

Google's OS is going to boot in 7 seconds. Is anyone at MS even aware of that?

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Instant startup

An idea... I'm sure there are a multitude of reasons why this has never happened, but:

Why not basically store an image of the system RAM upon startup? Reloading that into RAM would take a few seconds, but not that long (especially if stored on SSD). I realise there would be a problem when you installed a new program that registered stuff on startup, but perhaps that would force a one-off restart next time the system boots. Or if you want to get really clever, fire up some sort of VM in the background that does a reboot on a virtual machine then stores *that* RAM.

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hybernation

What you are suggesting sounds a lot like the "hibernate" function which is at least as old as Win2k, maybe older. However, I have seen very horrible things happen to laptops when the Hibernate function is used and the battery start dying. If the memory image file is corrupted while being written to disk, then every time it starts up it's going to load that corrupt image.

Not a real pain to fix, but not a lot of fun either.

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Hibernation

You can already do that, it's called hibernation. The trouble with current implementation is that you still have to wait for the hardware BIOS to do whatever it likes to do before even giving the OS the green light, and it takes a non-trivial amount of time to copy the 2GB of memory image from hard disk to RAM. It's still better than waiting for the system to boot from cold though, but there is massive room for improvement, not least with some help on the hardware side.

Sticking the RAM image onto an SSD however is a great idea. Even better one of these hybrid HDD+SSDs that people are starting to talk about which could make for a more efficient use of the SSD.

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Plus, of course

Some miscreant could insert a lightweight boot disc for an other operating system, boot the comp, edit the RAM image on disc, then reboot the machine with the new, compromised, RAM image.

Of course, you can maybe try encrypting and sand boxing the RAM image... but that requires a boot process that launches a decryption service, first, from somewhere the bad guys couldn't have got at it, and decrypting the RAM image as it unzips into physical RAM... But what manages the decryption service, when there isn't an operating system running, yet?

Hang on. What was the objective, again? Fast restarts?

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Hibernate

I use hibernate all the time on my desktops and laptops. Means my stuff comes back same as it was when I shut it down, plus I do my bit to save a few penguins and polar bears too by not leaving the "desktop heater" on when I am not about!

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You don't need hibernate...

...when you can get to an operational desktop in under 45 seconds. I have this right now, why do I need Windows 8? In fact, I can cold boot Lucid on an old P4, log into that and have Gnome up *faster* than Win7 can handle a user login on a Core2 Duo.

MS is losing the plot big style.

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Facial recognition being the biggest.

What? Sounds more like a gimmick to me. Could be kind of creepy too, if they plan to grab a copy of the face data for other uses.

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Anonymous Coward

Nothing to see here...

Most of the stuff in the slides looks like straight forward extensions of things that have already been in Windows for a while now. Which is exactly the sort of thing MS should be pushing when they're two years out from release. There isn't much time to do anything terribly radical and anything cool enough that can still be implemented could feasibly be picked up by a competitor and tossed in their latest offering before MS could get Win8 out. --Everybody steals from everyone else in the OS arena anymore.-- This also looks to be something of a discussion piece, designed to give some of the OEMs an idea of what they'll have to look forward to. It also allows them to solicit ideas from outside of MS in areas that are most important to consumers.

Having said that, a lot of the little details look pretty cool. Things like the facial recognition and logoff+hibernate should at least be interesting to see. The quality reports in the app store sound like they could be extremely useful to developers. Though that comes with the obvious caveat that the apps are phoning home to say where they crashed. Its also somewhat interesting to see that MS considers slates to be a seperate market from the tablets that they've been pushing.

The push button reset doesn't really do much for me. It seems to be a glorified version of the regular system restore, which I've never had much luck with.

I'll look forward to seeing more concrete details, as well as the more awe inspiring features as Win8 gets closer to launch though.

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Microsoft aping apple again

and failing again too I expect

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So ... Windows 8 gives me what, exactly ...

... that I haven't had with Slackware for the last 10+ years?

Except all the Microsoft "WeTreatOurCustomersAsCriminals[tm]" stuff, that is.

No thanks.

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Stop

Seriously, enough MS

Tablets, App stores, 'the mother-f***ing Cloud' - enough already, stop ruining windows - you don't need to jump on all those bandwagons.

As far as a techie like me is concerned there's nothing wrong with XP!

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Pint

Unreal.

Microsoft have lost the plot. The company needs to focus on simplification of their offerings, their licensing and their user interfaces, not this mutli-tentacled hydra.

Two operating systems. Just two. A full-fat x86/x64 operating system (Midori,) and a lightweight ARM variant. (Windows CE 8.) No home edition. No Pro. No Phone 7, 6.5 not-phone-7-but-still-based-on-it, etc.

Windows, and Windows Mobile. One designed to kick ass, and one designed to sip power. Back them up with a fantastic suite of online application offerings and give the whole mess a single user interface, single-sign-on and shared storage.

This is all technology Microsoft has already, but simply hasn’t had the vision to put into place. Microsoft has to either out-innovate or out-execute their competition, and so far they have failed miserably on both fronts.

It’s time for Microsoft to go back to basics, and simplify all of their offerings. I honestly wish I could take over for a few years and make these required changes. Microsoft owns some great technology, but they need to vision to tie it all together. I would rather that Microsoft remain a strong competitor; if for no other reason than to keep Apple, Google, Oracle and HP honest.

Sadly, they seem set to follow IBM on their course of slowly fading into oblivion.

A pint: to what could have been.

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C'mon!

We're talking about an OS that still needs to reboot after almost every update and every install! Un-feckin-acceptable.

They don't even have an integrated package management and update system. Every app needs its own checker and update process. Pathetic.

When they fix these problems (and others) they'll crow about how it is all their idea. Despite the fact that Unix/Linux/etc had this for ages.

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Stop

not so much...

You seem to confuse failure to innovate and improve with actual economic failure. They are quite different.

Linux is great in the innovation department but fails badly on the economic one.

M$ is making as much money today as ever and despite the whole hype about Apple surpassing it they still have MORE NET INCOME at the end of the year, and by several billions.

Microsoft will not try a new strategy for their OS line until the money REALLY starts to go down, when they REALLY start to lose market share. Do you remember the netbook debacle? MS acted smart allowing OEMs to ship with XP again and all the market they lost to LINUX distributions like UBUNTU was almost totally recovered, without investing 1 penny in R&D because they just used and old product that they knew will move the netbooks well. After all “weak” netbooks today are way more powerful than the average desktop 10 years ago so…

Apple isn’t going to take that market share away from them, Apple knows it, that is why they have shifted to this super closed hardware/software ecosystem aimed to people with medium-high to high level of income, which mean never getting over the 20% market share in any field (OS, phones, etc) But they don’t care, because it makes them a lot of money anyway.

And back to Linux distros, the problem is not the system, and is not the unwillingness of people to change, IT IS THE APPS STUPID!!! (no that you are stupid, I am just appropriating an old joke). Only when developers start to create apps for linux (COMERCIAL APPS THAT MAKE MONEY) will average Joe start to consider have it on his business and home. Problem is, developers will not create apps for a system that has such a small market share, is a vicious circle.

As SaaS evolves, MS iron grip may loosen, but there is a danger that just like Apple did, MS could (will?) try to develop a close ecosystem to capitalize in their current dominance, which would trap us even more in this situation.

Solution? Grab the market share by cheating. Forfeit this nonsense about not allowing proprietary code on your free systems, keep the forks, but make it sure that they are still compatible. And more important: Develop a true transparent sandboxed windows/DOS emulator capable of running any windows game or general app on Linux, as a integral part of the system, not a program you have to install or God´s forbids “configure”, which is a geek code word for: “it aint gonna do shit until you learn how to make it do it”.

By being able to run all the old and new apps and games, and that ONE app that keeps Joe under the tyranny of MS. And when a decent market share is in Linux hands (maybe something like 15-25%, but a % of distros that can all work together, it is no use if we have 20% but divided in 1% each that are not compatible with each other) THEN AND ONLY THEM may developers listen and start making native apps for Linux, because EVERYONE FOLLOWS THE MONEY.

Heck if this succeeds even MS will star making stuff for Linux, they may even launch their own fork.

Then you will see true innovation again… because EVERYONE FOLLOWS THE MONEY.

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Huh

Windows performance degrades over time? Mine doesn't. The boot up time lengthens a little but my work machine boots while I'm on my way into work and I hardly ever reboot my laptops.

But overall it sounds like a potential damp squib. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

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Linux

So...

WindowsNT all over with several new useless layers of bloat. And rather than occupying 12gb on the HD it will occupy 20gb to store all the extra coolness.

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FAIL

Hmmmmm

I wonder if Bill Gates has sold his Microsoft shares yet?

GJC

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Anonymous Coward

The Zzzzz is now!

Whatever happened to the Longhorn Laundry List of actual innovations in desktop computing? Did they just suddenly stop being important once they were ripped out of what became Vista, or are they still too hard to implement? Or is it, once again, a question of the release cycle needing to marry up tot he marketing cycle?

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What happened?

They landed on Linux (and OS X etc) around 5-10 years ago. Do keep up, it's clear MS hasn't.

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More fud

Nice to see Microsoft bringing up the rear...

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N2

Yawn

Here we go again, same old shit, different day

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FAIL

Kinect to recognise facts and log them on

Apparently in Windows 8...

Anyone else concerned about this, considering it's inability to tell simple things like left from right?

http://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/consoles/hands-on-microsoft-kinect-review-673321?src=rss&attr=all

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Face recognition

Heh, nice idea but it will end up being a gimmick. They will still have to make you enter a password, otherwise anyone could hold up a photo and get into your account. As long as there is still a password required, facial recognition doesn't add anything that clicking on one's name doesn't already do, and more accurately.

On the other hand, if they could make a short-range identification token replace the password, I would be very excited. (Well ok, not excited, but I would like that.) Even something like a bluetooth connection, so when my mobile phone comes in range of the PC it forgoes the password requirement.

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Linux

Too Late

My linux laptop already locks it's screen when my bluetooth phone isn't in range

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Silver badge

Err...

... and what happens if you leave your phone at home or it gets nicked...

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Linux

bluetooth security

If you don't have the phone, simply must use the logout button on the screen.

The name/password login is always admited.

The bluetooth login is optional.

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Anonymous Coward

Simple

I just type in my password.

Computers work for me, not the other way around

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Grenade

What???

"It also suggests Microsoft feels it cannot stop the performance of Windows on PCs degrading over time"

You can, stop making your code hugely overblown and slow. Maybe go back to giving users control over their own computer, if they've got the power to do stuff, Windows doesn't have to.

Also

"The Windows 8 customer will reinstall applications by visiting Microsoft's Windows Store"

Great, if everything's online, the average user is going to go over their ISP's 2Gb a month download limit if they install/reinstall or gawd 'elp them, hit the reset button.

Would anyone trust the reset button wouldn't kill all your personal stuff on your computer?

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Unhappy

@Glyn 2

"Great, if everything's online, the average user is going to go over their ISP's 2Gb a month download limit if they install/reinstall or gawd 'elp them, hit the reset button."

Good point, but I wouldn't worry about it - by the time they actually release the operating system we'll all have fibre to the house. If history is anything to go by (and it usually is with MS), this OS will be years late.

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@Glyn2

I picture the reset button, if done properly, as the lovechild of SFC /scannow and a windows "repair install."

We'll have to see how that one plays out...

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Gates Halo

Nice to see things like.

Build deep customer relationships.

Agree on Privacy and regulatory guidelines.

At an early stage of planning. Some other companies should take note. I'm not saying MS is perfect but they does seem to be better than other big IT companies.

Bill because lets face it; rather him than Jobs.

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Anonymous Coward

fast boot

is pointless, if you're trading off the usability. It doesn't matter if my desktop appears in 5 seconds, if you've done that by delaying all the services and startup programs, increasing the overall time before you can realistically use the machine.

vista and 7 do this to some extent, your desktop appears nice and early, but it's still actually booting in the background, just hiding it from you. fine as long as you don't need what hasn't finished starting.

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What they really need...

Is a file system that has any place being used in this century. Diddle around with the rest of it, as much as you like, but when one of the core activities of your operating system still using a code base that originated in early 1990s, your operating system is doomed to be a 'chugger'.

There probably remains a massive world of hurt at the heart of Windows Development around what happened over WinFS in Longhorn, and I guess that enough senior executives still hold madly entrenched lines against each other, over the "axing-not-axing" of it, but it seems like there is no concerted effort to move on from it in their commercial products. "WinFS", or something like it, or maybe something not like it, will be along 'Real soon Now' - and has been for over half a decade.

Either deliver a smooth, lightweight WinFS for use in future Windows, or drop it for good, and develop something else. People buying Windows 7, today, are buying NTFS - and that's just mad. Goodness knows, there are enough examples of implementations they can just copy, if they must copy; but to continue using an approach to disc data-management which made sense in an age when quarter gig was a BIG hard drive, no longer makes sense.

Over integration and over optimisation has long been cited as a key Windows flaw (the famous "50 dependency layers" from Phil Su's "Broken Windows Theory") - and it remains astonishing that people in COSD will assert that it is physically impossible for any one human being to understand how a job of work gets from the interface level of Windows, down to the hardware layer, and back again - but *that* file system is one part, that they could surely dump, in order to reduce that number of layers, and thus human beings needed, to a more reasonable level?

Or has WinFS already grown beyond 50 dependency layers, all by itself, and that's why they're so coy about using it outside of a lab?

There comes a point where backwards-compatibility becomes an obstacle to proceeding forwards.

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Gold badge

Hear, hear!

After I reach about ten million files on a given partition, the entire thing turns into poo. Both EXT3 and ZFS do significantly better with large numbers of files. Time for NTFS to be replaced.

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Grenade

restart?

well is obviously a good idea to startup quick as all you ever do with windows is reboot for one reason or another!

also the goals, aren't they what the latest version of Ubuntu already does?

grenade as i just pull the pin out with the word 'ubuntu'

mine the flak jacket please

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hp

fast boot/face recognition

My missus works for a magazine publisher and theyre think of developing for the iPad - they have a couple to play with and I had a couple of hours on it the other night. Boot time is between 1 and 2 seconds. This means (for example) you use it to immediately enter someone in the address book etc rather than writing it on a post it and typing it in later. I wouldnt have thought face recognition wasn't useful - as said you'll still need a password otherwise someone could just hold up your photo. Also if this is a wish list of features for a prooduct not yet developed by microsoft it'll be a couple of years before you see it in real life.

Regards

Hugh

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Anonymous Coward

Speaking as a man whose role was to hunt and kill animals.

What I'd really like is more of the Office bar where all the easy to read words are replaced with yet more multicolour icons that I've got to remember, and all look the same to male oriented brains.

Oh and no up button. I've lost count of the number of times a day I think to myself, "Do you remember they used to have an UP button in explorer? It was like the stone age. Why did anyone need to go upwards in a heirarchy?"

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Bronze badge
WTF?

No up button?

An up button in windows vista/7 is redundant, just click the level you want to go to in the address bar

And the office address bar is so much neater now. Everything is nicely organised and always in the same place no matter who's machine your using. My male orientated brain, having learnt the new system can now go for a quick kill shot every time

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Heart

bwa ha ha

"And the office address bar is so much neater now"

What's neater than just the information you need

where you used to have

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12

which showed you exactly where you are

now you have

> Computer > Local Disk (C:) > Program Files > Microsoft Office > Office12 >

except when you don't have the explorer window maximised when you get

<< Microsoft Office > Office12 >

where if you can see the old path you can see all of it

Extra padding around everything isn't neat, it's wasteful

"Everything is nicely organised and always in the same place no matter who's machine your using."

The up button was in the same place on every machine. The size of the drop down button is different for each directory as it's the size of the directories name, so they're not always the same size.

Why do the expand directory arrows disappear when you're not hovering over the folder list? You have to wait while they fade in so you can see them. What is the thinking (was there any thinking) behind this? All it does is give you some more of your vaunted whitespace but at the cost of being able to see at a glance without moving the mouse whether a directory has any subdirectories.

My personal male oriented brain wonders what the logic is for this.

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Pint

also

If you're in a folder that's on your desktop, how do you go up to see the desktop, you have to mouse snipe a 5 pixel dropdown and then slide down to desktop.

That's neater than aiming at a big button and clicking once?

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Boffin

Up button

If you really REALLY miss it, alt-up works just as well.

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FAIL

@Annihilator

I /do/ miss the up button. Quite a bit. And no, alt-up does not "work just as well." I'm not a bloody Mac user who ctrl-clicks because he doesn't have a real mouse. The issue with simply removing the up button is the sheer arrogance of how it was done. Give us the OPTION to enable it if we so choose, while turning it off by default. You can totally remove it from the operating system in one or two more generations of product.

It's called deprecating a feature. It shows respect for your users by giving them time to adjust to the new order. Microsoft want to know why their reputation is going down the drain? This crap /right here/. They lack respect for their customers. They have taken an Apple “you vill do it my vay, und you vill like it” approach. If I wanted that crap, I’d buy Apple!

The same can be said of the ribbon bar crap. This was a changed that was simply forced on it’s customers. There was no deprecation of old features or gradual introduction of new ones. Also, don’t give me any crap about “you have a choice to buy it or not to.” There are no viable alternatives. (Down fanboys. Back IN YORU CORNER! I’ve got a broom!) Once you start getting complex xlsx or docx files using features not available in Office 2003 you start having to upgrade. The only saving grace is the excellent UBit menu that has given us time to transition our users to that accursed blasphemy of a ribbon bar.

Arrogance is a symptom of pride, and pride doth most definitely goeth before the fall. Microsoft’s inglorious fade into the shadows of irrelevance over the past decade, despite major releases such as Windows 7 is the proof of this.

They either change their approach to dealing with customer demands, requirements and their own reputation, or they will die.

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Thumb Up

Help is at hand

I've been using

www.classicstartmenu.com

for a while. It puts the up button back in and the old style start menu without the obnoxious search box and it fixes a few other niggles as well. It only takes up 1k of memory too, so it's not like some other add ons which fill memory with useless rubbish you'll never need.

P.S If someone can explain the reasoning that you can disable the start menu search box from searching but it stays there but does nothing, I'd appreciate it. You can kill it altogether but you have to disable all searching on the PC. They're microsoft's toys and you'll play with them the way they want you to !!!

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Pint

There's the money shot!

"The Windows 8 customer will reinstall applications by visiting Microsoft's Windows Store."

One day, in the not too distant future, I can imagine almost all PCs and devices will have their own app stores. It's a great way to stop people copying stuff for themselves, if the device is locked down and the only way to get software is through a sanctioned, online store.

I hate the idea, no control over what you paid for? Not a nice prospect, but this is business and money talks.

I am dreading the day when OSX goes the way of the iPhone/iPad and you need an app-store to run anything. That will be a sad day indeed. It will happen one day, just too tempting not to, mark my words!

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FAIL

Sound like MS enough to be true

I just like that MS are accepting of the degradation over time. Ubuntu doesn't. 18 months and counting with no noticable slow down. I dare say jobsian PC's are the same? IT can be done, just not by MS.

The sticky point for me though is anything that means we have to download from them following an incident will not be great.

In the real world servers stall, demand outdoes supply and I can't see a 400 seat Insurance company, NHS, call centre etc. Being happy at having ALL their software require some network connections. Especially as BT run the UK's infrastructure. Look at 'Steam' following a game update, replace it with win8 SP1 and multiply by a large number.. There are more businesses with work PC's than gamers and Steam stalls, not because it is steam but because BT can't hack it. What of throttling which riddles the UK because we ain't got the infrastructure. That would be great, the NHS throttled because each PCT has to upgrade their 1000+ PC's over night from the same N3 connections.

Lunacy. MS are quickly being the also rans, only legacy keeps them in the picture and that will change.

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oh for god's sake

can we not just get windows7 sorted and working as a standard platform please?

all of this stuff sounds like it can be bolted onto what ever windows platform already exists... nothing new or revolutionary. just pandering to the drooling masses who currently spend their hard-earned at the apple store or itunes or whatever.

and anyway, i don't understand how they are targeting enthusiasts. as anyone with half an interest has things running how they want, on a pretty tight system.

only ever done a rebuild for performance problems on kiddies laptops where they've installed anything and everything flash game / smiley toolbar related.

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need a what?

"can't stop performance degredation over time." without taking Apples approach of banning any app that doesn't work the way that they want it and making apps run in a sand box.

Come on geeks you can't have your platform freedom and reliable performance from the OS. Not every app developer is as security and resource conscious as I am sure that you are.

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Linux

re: "can't have your platform freedom and reliable performance from the OS"

Of course you can, it's called Linux.

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