But Microsoft Windows 7 was arguably one of the most important launches in Microsoft’s long and storied history. After launching Windows Vista, the market rebelled against Microsoft. Vendors allowed for "downgrade rights" to revert a computer back to Windows XP. Consumers didn’t opt for Vista as much as the software giant would have liked. In addition, the enterprise practically ignored Windows Vista. It was bad all around.
With Windows 7, Microsoft fixed that. The operating system is what Vista should have been in the first place. And now that Microsoft has confirmed it’s the fastest-selling version of Windows ever released, it’s clear that consumers are happy with what they’ve found this time.
Even so, Windows 8 is just around the corner, and rumors are swirling about the upcoming operating system and what it will feature when it’s likely released next year. Although details are relatively slim for now, one thing is for certain: Windows 8 will be even better than Windows 7.
1. It improves upon a nice operating system.
Windows 8 will not be a major update. Instead, the operating system will simply improve upon Windows 7. As mentioned, Windows 7 has been a hit among consumers and enterprise customers. From what’s known about Windows 8 so far, it’s clear that Microsoft doesn’t want to fix what isn’t broken. Windows 8 will look awfully similar to its predecessor and boast many of the same features. It will simply be an improvement over an operating system that already appeals to customers.
2. The security keeps improving.
With each subsequent operating system release from Microsoft, the company has improved security. After Service Pack 2 was released, Windows XP was quite secure. And although Vista faced some pitfalls at first, Service Packs helped secure that OS, as well. Windows 7 is arguably the most secure version of the operating system yet. As long as Microsoft continues along that path—and it will—expect Windows 8 to be even more secure than its predecessor.
3. The ARM compatibility is key.
At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the next version of Windows would support ARM-based devices. That is extremely important. Now companies that want to sell products using an ARM chip have the opportunity to use Windows. Not only could this move help Microsoft and its vendor partners, but it might also deliver more options for customers who want to use Windows. It’s a win-win.
4. An application store, perhaps?
Speculation abounds that Microsoft plans to release an application store with Windows 8. If it does so, it will put its operating system on an even playing field against Mac OS X Snow Leopard and the upcoming “Lion,” which will ship with the App Store built in. The future of desktop operating systems will include applications marketplaces. And it’s nice to hear that Microsoft is willing to acknowledge this.
5. Instant-on is what’s needed.
One of the biggest issues some users have with Windows is that it can take a long time to boot up the operating system. According to recent rumors, the software giant is working on a solution for that that could deliver near-instant-on functionality. It might not seem major, but considering how annoying it can be to wait for Windows to boot up, having much faster startup times sounds awfully nice.
6. It might be more suitable for tablets.
Microsoft has been saying for years now that its operating system is ready for tablets. But as vendors have shown, they’re more likely to invest in an Android-based tablet than try their luck with Windows 7. Thanks to support for ARM-based devices, and the likelihood that Microsoft is working hard on making Windows 8 more tablet-friendly, consumers should expect many more mobile devices running the software giant’s next OS.
7. Better power consumption
One of the issues with Windows 7 is that it doesn’t deliver the kind of efficient functionality that consumers and especially enterprise customers are after. However, leaks surrounding Windows 8 development suggest that Microsoft is working on a vastly improved power-saving feature in its operating system that should drastically improve battery life on mobile devices running the software. If that’s true, there will be many happy customers out there.
8. What’s with History Vault?
Windows 8 might have a new feature, called “History Vault.” According to Winrumors, the feature is similar to Apple’s Time Machine, which provides a simple backup interface to users of Mac OS X. Microsoft’s option will let users restore individual file, edit old documents and much more. Microsoft hasn’t confirmed the feature, but if a robust backup utility like that comes to Windows, it would be quite nice.
9. A better interface
Windows 7 comes with a solid user interface that doesn’t take much time to get used to after coming off Windows XP. And although Microsoft hasn’t said much about its upcoming operating system, it’s becoming clearer that Windows 8 will feature a similar interface. However, this time around, those who follow Microsoft believe the interface will be a bit more streamlined and slightly easier to use. If Microsoft can follow through on that, it might just have a winner on its hands.
10. Microsoft’s lesson learned
Aside from the operating system itself, Windows 8 will likely be better than Windows 7 for one main reason: Microsoft doesn’t want to repeat the embarrassment of Windows Vista. Microsoft’s last operating system before Windows 7 was a nightmare for the company. The software giant became complacent and thought it could coast, but instead failed miserably. The result was a loss of trust from vendors, customers, and investors. It was a bad time for Microsoft, and the company doesn’t want to relive it. So expect the company to do something special with Windows 8. At this point, it has no other choice but to deliver an even better operating system.