Windows 8 is still about a year away from launch but hasn’t stopped tons of speculation about new features. In Windows 8 Developer Preview the desktop had few real changes present from Windows 7, albeit the Windows METRO interface that replaced the start menu.
Although Metro is pretty big news, Windows 8 needs to offer a whole lot more than this in order to entice anyone to switch from XP, Vista, or 7 to Windows 8.
Windows 8 BETA is set to arrive in January of 2012, and with it we will hopefully see many new features that didn’t make it into the preview.
There are a few features that Microsoft has revealed are on their way with the BETA which include customized start screen options. Although we all ‘love’ green, it is very annoying that we can’t change this in Windows 8. Luckily the personalization option in beta will include new colors, changing of group sizes, unpinning and resizing tiles, and more.
This will mean that every METRO experience will be individualized, something certainly welcome to this regular user of Windows 8.
This also means major improvements to the app screen. Applications in Beta will be organized into groups so you can easily find what you are looking for.
In addition to the app screen changes, Microsoft says that jump lists in Windows 8 are more application-centric and Microsoft predicts that application developers will follow the Windows Phone route by creating pinable items inside of their applications as well. Live tiles will also allow developers and end users to interact with their apps in closer ways as well.
Another announcement from Microsoft indicts that we will likely see improvements in Metro that will make Windows 8 look better on the big screen.
Although these features are cool, we certainly hope to see a lot more.
I have two features that come to mind that are very unlikely but would be really cool to see in Windows 8:
While desktops like OSX and Linux have been offering ISO mounting directly without using other software for years, this isn’t present in any version of Windows. In Windows 7 if you click on an ISO it will prompt you to burn it to a disk. This is a feature that wouldn’t be hard to implement and we can at least hope Microsoft considers and we see it in the BETA.
For many regular users, this is a feature that won’t matter but to us power users and system administrators such a feature would make our lives a lot easier. I’ve downloaded many a purchased program and wanted to run them directly without having to use isoMount software or burn it to a disk, so at least for me this would be a very welcome addition.
Since 2003 Microsoft has been talking about its new file system, WinFS. The new technology incorporates features of SQL relational database servers to intelligently find connections between files and bring them into applications.
Supposedly WinFS was cut from Vista, and yet it wasn’t present in 7 either. This is looking more and more like vaporware. Still it would be really awesome if 8 finally brought this format to the forefront.
Windows 8 BETA is sure to be a much more stable experience than we’ve seen so far, although I have to admit that even the Developer Preview was a fairly solid experience. Microsoft has a flexible OS that supports many different hardware platforms on its hands so let’s hope that they make the most of it.
Are there are any features that you would love to see in Windows 8? Do you think that WinFS will ever become a reality or is it vaporware or destined for Windows 9? Share your thoughts below!