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Windows 7: Windows in 2015: What Can we Expect?

31 Dec 2014   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
Windows in 2015: What Can we Expect?

Hey everyone,

I wanted take some time on this last day of 2014 to compile some news sources, rumors and thoughts spreading across the web and start a general discussion to see what the folks here on SF expect or would like to see in Windows in the coming year, with or without regards to Windows 7.

Feel free to add your own thoughts, ideas and stuff to the list, as I will be mentioning the stuff that sparks my interest the most. So here we go!

Windows Internet Explorer 12 Spartan browser?

The most recent bit of news slash rumors regards one of the, arguably, most important piece of software on our devices, and that of course is the web browser. We already heard that IE 12 might be getting a UI overhaul and possibly proper addon support back in September, but as WinBeta reports, Mary Jo Foley is hearing bits and pieces about codename "Spartan", a new and light-weight web browser based on an updated Trident engine (and the "new" Chakra Javascript engine introduced with IE9) that will ship with Windows 10 for both desktops and phones.

Here's where it gets interesting: The new browser is not Internet Explorer 12, as IE will still remain on desktops in Windows 10, and it looks like there's no real answer yet as to how Spartan fits in. But from what I personally can assume/hope/expect, Microsoft is trying to fight both the stigma and the pressure of legacy support in one giant move.

Spartan on the desktop could be the "updated IE" that we've heard of back in September, with the new UI, addon support and the power to really make use of modern web standards. At the same time, websites with legacy code or those that are just hard coded to detect IE and treat it differently can make use of the existing Trident engine.

Right now, IE11 has multiple rendering methods based on how a website is coded, and implements them accordingly; but this decreases performance. With Spartan, the updated Trident is supposed to take care of the modern web while the old Trident is supposed to activate only when needed, based on compatibility. This would significantly speed up IE/Spartan and finally bring end user's attention to Microsoft's efforts on the browser front, as it hasn't exactly been easy fighting the social stigma shadowing IE.

Personally, I just hope that we won't actually have two physical browsers on the next version of Windows, but rather Spartan as the forefront and IE as the compatibility layer beneath it (perhaps something like XP Mode?).

DirectX 12!!!

For gamers like me, without actual gaming hardware, like many other people across the world in different financial situations, this year's reveal of DirectX 12 at GDC still has me pumped up months later. With benchmarks demonstrating an amazing 50% performance increase to multi-threading and CPU utilization AND the fact that Microsoft claims that 80% of current hardware on the market is already compatible with DirectX 12, I most certainly hope that gaming will become much more "budget" friendly in the future. Hardware will always have restrictions, but if games start utilizing DX12, that might mean that it can run on any hardware regardless of its power. They might not look as pretty as they could, but at least they'd work.

I mean, having that extra gig or two of RAM right now (just an example) is a make-or-break for gamers in their decision whether to buy a game or not - if game devs can reach out to more consumers by using DX12 to optimize performance, they get more sales and we'll just be happy we can play. It's a win-win situation from my standpoint.

Windows (Phone) 10

Windows itself has changed a lot since the XP days. Though Vista caused outrage from the public since its release, it brought fourth an amazing new design and greatly improved usability with tons of new features. 7 went beyond that and is pretty much the reason why I've been sticking around Seven Forums for years: I've watched too many people buy new PCs and stick with XP, thinking nothing good would come from upgrading. I guess, by helping others solve their problems here I feel like my investment into this OS, testing leaks, betas, sending feedback etc. was really worth my time.

But we can't stay on Windows 7 forever, as much as some of us might want to. Windows 8 is a different topic of discussion and despite its mess of a design, some improvements still made it appealing: faster bootup and performance, OneDrive integration, a more minimalistic UI etc. (add/exclude your own)

10 so far looks, to be perfectly honest, both amazing and annoying. The current amount of news on 10 are a bit overwhelming, but then again, there are still going to be new features that'll make it exciting to use.

First and foremost, the current design of Windows 10, though not complete, paints a realistic picture about what exactly Microsoft is aiming for by trying to combine different devices and tie up the experience of those devices to one "universal" OS. More new features is always a good thing (Windows 8 was amazing for what it brought us in terms of modern apps: their potential is incredible even though the execution of the OS itself was underwhelming), and with 10, these apps are only going to get better. Microsoft seems to really be working hard to please as many people as possible by tailoring 10 to be more customizable than any previous version of Windows. I do hope that literally every option/feature/service included in 10 can be changed, removed/disabled and/or tweaked. It's still too early to judge Windows as it keeps constantly changing with every new build, but this is something we can discuss over at Ten Forums once we get the next version of the Technical Preview (or whatever they'll call it) next month.

And speaking of apps...

Divided (by devices) we stand united by apps!

With Microsoft open-sourcing some of their services and making others available on rival platforms, it becomes much less important whether you use a Windows tablet, phone, desktop or laptop - as long as you have one of those (and even if you don't actually), you can still use those services on other devices like the iPad or your favorite Android phone. This is something that Microsoft needed to do, IMHO, a long time ago to stay relevant and competitive; so by widening their reach they can maintain presence on every market front.

Even Cortana got ported to 10, and with its release, we'll be seeing her both on the Xbox One and battle Google Now and Siri on their respectful devices. Got a 10 desktop and you rely on Siri for information, reminders, etc? Feed her with tasks then switch to your Android on the go and watch all your important information sync seamlessly. Though I constantly hear people claim it lessens the importance of, in this example, the WP brand, I still think that despite having access to what used to be unique and exclusive services to WP, users can still enjoy a different experience by sticking with Microsoft's devices in a more closed-off ecosystem, much like Apple has been forever.

I do acknowledge that WP devices are still far away in terms of usability because of the app gap - and Microsoft has realized this as well, which is exactly why their move to bring their services to as many different mobile platforms as possible is definitely a game changer; perhaps not for our favorite Lumias and an odd HTC/Samsung WP, but definitely for Microsoft itself.

The cloud! THE CLOUD! The cloud is on fire!

It might sound silly, but I really want Microsoft to up their game when it comes to the cloud. This doesn't necessarily mean more end-user features because we've seen shakiness with Microsoft's online services too much in 2014: Azure outages affecting OneDrive, Outlook and Office, not to mention tons of business that rely on Azure working all the time; Xbox Live hacking and the like - all this needs to be improved in 2015 and forward if they really want to maintain their "mobile first, cloud first" efforts.

Why, you might ask?

Imagine Windows not existing anymore in 5 to 10 years time. Imagine Microsoft's OS dominance decline and sink to new lows despite their efforts with Windows 10. It's almost unimaginable, but it's definitely a worst case scenario for Microsoft - and if they can't maintain their online services with almost "perfect" efficiency, their future will be nothing but dark.

Or how about Microsoft bringing another whole new OS from their kitchen? Something like Chrome OS - light, fast and easy to use, something that would divide the enterprise (that generally is heavy to rely on compatibility and power-user features) from simplistic, consumer-friendly requirements of day-to-day PC usage? I'm not saying it might not happen ever, or that it actually might in the future - in the end it doesn't matter. Microsoft pushed hard into the cloud and they must keep it efficient no matter which strategy they adopt in the future for any of their products across markets.

I think that's all of 'em. There's a lot more to talk about, but most of the stuff, as with those mentioned above, will probably not see the light of day here on Windows 7. But like I said, we can't stay on 7 forever, so we might as well just hope and see what happens in the future, starting with 2015.

Have a great New Year, folks, and I hope we'll get to spend many more together, one at a time

My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Dec 2014   #2

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers

Hi there

It's amazing that one of the REALLY GREAT features introduced in Windows 8 and carried on in Windows 10 is RARELY mentioned. STORAGE SPACES.

This is much much better than RAID - and you can MIX volume sizes so if you've got a load of say old laptop HDD's or other HDD's around you can AGGREGATE these into a single large storage space. You can have more than ONE storage space if you want and need more space -- dynamically add another HDD.

Really useful too if you start getting things like large multi-media libraries etc. This whole idea fnally gets rid of the Windows idiotic Volume idea of C, D, E etc. I just keep my OS on an SSD as a "classical C: volume and then have TWO sets of storage spaces.

Really does work a treat and is infinitely beeter than libraries too.

For Network sharing just share at the Folder level -- no probs sharing with W7 / XP / Linux etc.

For me the storage spaces idea made a switch to W8 well worth the inconvenience of the lack of a menu (now brought back in W10).

I like the idea also of being able to mount virtual ISO's without using 3rd party software and having the security built into the OS.

W7 was a GREAT system - but like XP it's time to at least THINK about moving on. I'm keeping W7 for a while still - I need some corporate software that won't yet run on W8 / W10.

W10 looks as if it could be a winner - and unlike W8 most users of W7 could run W10 without batting an eyelid.

However whether you remain with W7 or decide eventually to upgrade to W10 next year at least LOOK at the storage spaces concept. Very powerful and useful.

Storage Spaces: FAQ - Windows Help

My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Dec 2014   #3


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Gornot View Post
DirectX 12!!!

but if games start utilizing DX12, that might mean that it can run on any hardware regardless of its power.
The big question here is "If" and more importantly "when". Exciting potential. Although I'd wager the trickle down reality will take years in resulting in AA/AA titles for the PC. Console milk first, PC port, later.

Hot diggity if implemented sooner rather than later.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

31 Dec 2014   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Unfortunately for some reason the website doesn't allow me to give you rep, jimbo, but if I could I totally would. Great post, and I totally agree with you!

Also, Patrick, while I also hope the same, we pretty much already know this isn't going to happen fast. Yeah, it's a process, but as long as it DOES happen I'll be happy.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2015   #5


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Gornot View Post

Also, Patrick, while I also hope the same, we pretty much already know this isn't going to happen fast. Yeah, it's a process, but as long as it DOES happen I'll be happy.
It will trickle down for sure. It all depends on where games are at in the development process.

Those that are nearing release wont benefit. Others may implement certain features while new stuff will benefit the most. Since it will be the Xbone standard, it does ensure that it will happen.

Like you, when it does happen - I'll be very happy indeed as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2015   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

I would be pleasantly surprised if some older games got updates to support DX12 if the game engine is capable of it. I don't think it'll be anything massive, but there are game devs out there who still push updates to their old stuff.

The original Trine got a massive update right around the time I bought it on the Steam sale (last summer I believe) and the devs updated ALL the graphics to bring it closer to the look of Trine 2.

Good game devs would certainly push out updates to support DX12 if their engine can handle it, I'm sure of that. How many? Not too many, but I guess if there's a chance from a technical point of view, it'll probably happen.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jan 2015   #7
Arfer Daley

Win 7 Pro 64Bit

to temp me too W10 MCE has too be Included as I do a lot of tv recording thru it
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows in 2015: What Can we Expect?

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