Wishes for Windows Vista

Admittedly, I haven’t seen the beta yet, but I figured I’d get this out there in the hopes that someone who matters sees it…

Great idea for Windows: User Profile Templates and Machine Templates.  Essentially, they are just collections of registry settings, editable through a Tweak UI-like interface, and (most importantly) saveable as files.

User Profile Templates

These templates can be applied to existing profiles or the default user profile.  They would be editable and easily transferrable as files (Why? Because even though I’m a power user, I still like the Welcome screen).

Windows would include these Profile Templates out of the box (with example setting changes):

  • Beginner — pretty much what the default is now.
  • Intermediate — Windows Explorer switches over to details view, visible status bar.
  • Power User — All of Intermediate, plus: Quick Launch bar enabled.  Windows Explorer gets simple folder view disabled, filetype extensions visible, full path in address bar, encrypted/compressed files in color.  Windows Explorer & IE toolbars get compacted like so:

    Simple Folder View is disabled.

I don’t care if the default templates are editable, but if not, they should be copyable as the basis for other custom templates.  (If so, they’d need a “restore default settings” option).

Machine Templates

Same idea here, but for machine-wide (HKLM) settings.  Default templates would be something like:

  • Standalone Workstation — current defaults
  • Networked Workstation — RDP enabled, NetBIOS enabled

Here’s my reasoning behind this:

For Users: short of a new “GPOs for Workgroups” feature (which I’d love), power users need a way to manage workgrouped machines.  Even plain ol’ Power Users with Standalone Machines need an easy way to setup a machine which doesn’t require two hours of fixing stupid defaults.  Profile and Machine templates would greatly mitigate these issues for users.

For the Windows team, these templates would lessen the dev struggle between Features and Beginner simplicity.  Got a great but possibly-confusing feature?  No problem, just disable it for Beginners, and enable it for Power Users.

Also, miscellaneous Windows Explorer fixes/improvements I want:

  • Bring back the file filter which Windows 3.1’s File Manager had.  (Sure, disable it for the Beginner template).
  • Context Menus: speed them up by any means necessary.  (Click/wait is my biggest annoyance with a busy Windows box [like while copying files])
  • Context Menus: make them easier to edit (like IE, or ideally Office).  (I really want to move the “new folder” action from the “New” submenu to the main context menu!)
  • Make it possible to enable the Size column for Folders (without the current crashy 3rd-party addons)
  • Absorb BAxBEx’s FolderBox addon’s functionality.
  • Make the search windows honor the “Launch folder windows in a separate process” setting.  (Currently a hung/crashed search does the same to the shell Explorer despite that setting).
  • more as I think of it…

I realize some of these are advanced features

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