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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Microsoft Windows Enhancement Ideas

As a passionate supporter of Microsoft, I have composed the following list of ideas for the future of Microsoft and Microsoft Windows:
  1. All Windows computers manufactured by OEMs should have a prominently displayed Windows logo on the back or front of the case.  The logo should be consistent.  It should be backlit or brightly colored and approximatley 4" in height. 

  2. Microsoft and OEMs as a group should further contract with TV and Movie Production Companies in order to place Windows products in a highly visible manner in popular TV programs and movies.  With a prominent logo design, the device is easily recognizable.

  3. Microsoft should continue to build stores in prominent, high traffic locations throughout the United States.

  4. 10-gigabit Ethernet or 10GBASE-T (10 gigabits per second) should become the new standard of Ethernet network adapters included in Windows computers.  This technology has been available since 2006.  I would expect the demand for 10-gigabit Ethernet switches would then make the price far more affordable.

  5. 802.11ac (433 Mbps) should become the new standard of wireless network adapters included in Windows computers.  This technology has been available since 2011.  I would expect the demand for 802.11ac wireless routers would then make the price far more affordable.

  6. I believe the use of low-cost processors such as Celeron, Pentium or Atom in Windows computers can sully the Windows computer experience.  Computers that use low-end processors are often extremely slow and the customer may associate their individual computer experience with all Microsoft products and/or all Windows products.  I believe Microsoft should require a higher standard of components on systems that employ Microsoft Windows.  This higher standard would be applied to Microsoft and all OEMS.  This would result in consistently fast Windows comptuers that use better processors, better motherboard bus speeds, better drives and more RAM.  Additionally, the Windows Setup should prevent customers from installing Microsoft Windows on computer hardware with a low benchmark.

  7. The Windows Experience Index should be returned to Windows 8 and all subsequent versions of Microsoft Windows.  This allows the customer to quickly assess the speed of the computer.  This is especially useful when the customer is in a computer store attempting to make a decision on their Windows purchase.

  8. For decades, network administrators and other technical professionals have been able to download Service Packs for a given Microsoft Windows operating system.  Updates such as Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update 1 should be an easily downloadable Service Pack/Update for obvious reasons required by technical professionals supporting Microsoft Windows in business environments.

  9. Microsoft Windows Small Business Server should return to the marketplace.  The last functional version of Small Business Server being Small Business Server 2011 subsequently replaced by the limited Windows Server Essentials.  Small Business Server was an excellent product for providing Outlook and Exchange to small businesses.  Small businesses being the largest purchasers of enterprise products in the world.  When small businesses grow into corporate environments, they are more likely to maintain their relationship with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange.

  10. It should be easily foreseen that changes to the user's visual interaction with Microsoft Windows will result in those that support the changes and those that do not.  This is likely the easiest way to alienate a large number of people using Microsoft Windows.  In the last few years, changes to Windows have been preoccupied with visual interaction such as buttons, menus and toolbars.  What appears to be overlooked are the millions of people who have been trained to use Windows in a specific manner.  This is perhaps a generational gap.  As an example, hundreds of thousands of people are used to using Function Keys in Microsoft Word that were smiliar to - or the same as - those used in WordPerfect in Microsoft DOS.  Because the customer first learned WordPerfect and then later learned Microsoft Word, the customer became accustom to their usage of the computer.  When the customer is not accustom to the usage of the computer, the customer can become frustrated and upset.  Microsoft Windows has a significant history/legacy.  Any and all changes that are not "backwards compatible" will have ramifications.  The easiest and most obvious way to address this issue is to provide a method of using Classic View.  Third parties often provide a solution to these issue with the Operating System and/or Microsoft Office but this should not be the case.  Microsoft should consistently foresee this issue and provide the method for using Classic View in all buttons, menus and toolbars.  This includes the Start Button in its entirety as it existed prior to the introduction of Windows 8.

  11. Throughout the Windows experience, a trainer should be accessible at all times.  I envision a highly sophisticated trainer which greatly assists both the young and old in using Microsoft Windows.  Clicking, double-clicking, opening, closing, saving, printing, etc.  The trainer would be usable and accessible at all times within the operating system.  It would be relevant to the task at hand and easily pulled up or put away when needed.

  12. The various editions of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office products should be reduced to single editions.  Microsoft Windows Ultimate should be the only version of Windows.  Microsoft Office Professional should be the only version of Office.  Etc., etc.  The customer should not have to spend time trying to determine the differences in editions.  Product selection and purchase should be simple and straight-forward.  When Windows or Office is preloaded on a computer by an OEM, it should be the single, higher quality edition not Home or Student, etc.  Single edition pricing should be standardized on being affordable for every demographic.

  13. Microsoft Internet Explorer should be fully capable of interpreting websites in the exact same manner as all other web browsers.  In 1994 with the introduction of Netscape Navigator, the browser wars began.  As web developers know well, Internet Explorer often is the only web browser to interpet specific components of a website in a different manner.  The engines employed by the other web browsers:  Apple Safari Webkit, Mozilla/Netscape Gecko, Google Chrome Blink will often display information in the exact same manner.  The only stand-out sometimes being Microsoft Trident.  This forces web developers to employ the use of CSS Hacks in order to insure the use of their website or web application is consistent amongst all web browsers.  This should not be the case.  There should be a method for web developers to communicate an inconsistency and for said inconsistency to be addressed by Microsoft via Windows Update.  This reporting method should be encouraged by Microsoft in order to make Internet Explorer a better product.

  14. Changes to Display Font Size in Windows should not result in Internet Explorer displaying the size of the web page and size of fonts  in a different manner.  If I change the display font size of Windows and then browse the internet using Mozilla Firefox, I continue to see websites in the same manner as I did previously.  The font size within the web browser has not been impacted by changes made to the Display Font Size of Windows.  However if I open Internet Explorer, web pages are displayed in a wildly different manner - the sizing of web pages is completely different.  The Display Font Size of Windows should not impact applications - only buttons, menus and toolbars.  Each application should have its own ability to control font size.

  15. Windows Search within Microsoft Windows should be completely redesigned.  I am not all impressed by the Indexing nor the Search Capaibilities of WIndows Search.  In my opinion: The indexing process is incredibly slow and search queries often results in no matching entries.  I use a third-party product that is extremely fast and always finds the information that I am looking for within my saved folders.

  16. Sync Center should be completely redesigned.  When compared to other products that synchronize Microsoft Outlook or files amongst devices (phones/drives/folders), Microsoft Sync is extremely slow and can produce unusual results amongst synchronized devices.  The process of synching information should be simple, fast and completely trouble-free.  I would have to add that my experience with the synchronization process employed by Microsoft SkyDrive/OneDrive is cumbersome when compared to third-party applications.  The most obvious being a Stop or Pause Sync button.  If the customer does not want to use Microsoft SkyDrive/OneDrive, it should be easy to uninstall using Programs and Features not hidden in Settings - Change PC Settings.

  17. To further benefit Microsoft SmartScreen and Microsoft Windows Defender, users of Microsoft Windows should be able to quickly and easily report a malicous website, malicious email hyperlink or malicious file from whtin the operating system.

  18. Instead of being logged to the Event Viewer, more messages should be displayed on screen as a dialog box.  Or at the very least, the Action Center should alert the user when important messages have been logged to the Event Viewer - providing a method of double-clicking to see the messages in the Event Viewer.  The most obvious of which would be all Errors involving Disk Errors, Other Hardware Errors and Group Policy.  The alert should stay on screen within the System Tray.  The operating system should be enhanced to include the detection of temperature-related issues. which would also be displayed by the Action Center. 

  19. Error messages in the operating system and all Windows applications should be required to be easily understandable in plain language fully communicating the issue at hand.  The age of Event ID 2032 should end.  Error trapping should be required to be in place that translates the error code to useful information.

  20. Windows Installer and all third-party Installers should be required to display all installed programs on a computer regardless of the logged in user account - not just those programs that may have been installed under a specific user account.  Add/Remove Programs or Programs and Features should always display all Microsoft and third-party applications installed in Windows.

  21. Windows Installer and all third-party Installers should be required to conform to the Security of Microsoft Windows.  If the user is logged on as a Limited User Account, the user should not be capable of installing Google Chrome, Skype, Juniper Networks Client, etc., etc.

  22. Windows Installer and all third-party Installers should be required to log the installation and uninstallation of an application - logging the user account and time in Event Viewer not a hidden text file.  This logging would also include the installation or manual uninstallation of a Windows Update or Service Pack.

  23. If Services related to Security such as Security Center, Windows Firewall, Antivirus, User Account Control, etc. are Disabled, the user account should be logged along with date/time.  An icon should be displayed in the System Tray that cannot be hidden when these core Services are changed from their Default Values unless the computer is joined to a Domain and the changes have been made by Domain Group Policy.

  24. It should be possible for the user of a computer with Administrator permissions to hit a Button that re-installs all Windows Services and resets the Services to Default Values/StartUp.

  25. The use of a Limited User Account should have the same permissions as Kiosk Mode.  The Limtied User Account should be unable to make any and all changes to the computer.  They should only be able to use the computer not administrate or control the computer in any manner.  The user should be unable to install any software or make changes to the configuration of any software.  Microsoft and third-party software developers should be required to meet these requirements in the development of their software. 

  26. After being installed, all Windows software should not require Local Administrator in order to run properly on a computer.  Routinely, various software titles require Local Administrator.  Microsoft should require that all software can run properly under a Standard User Account.

  27. It should not be possible to clear the Event Viewer in its entirety.  If the Event Viewer is cleared, it should be archived and the user account logged along with date/time.
  28. When local files are deleted, it should be logged to Event Viewer with file names, user account and date/time.

  29. After the Recyle Bin is emptied, there should be the ability to undelete files in the same manner as third-party Recycle Bins.  In fact, undelete should be present in all relevant products without needing to take extra steps of any kind.  This applies to products both offline and online. 

  30. Changes made by the user in the Registry Editor should be logged to Event Viewer.

  31. If you rename a local user account, it should rename the local profile directory and create a junction point using the old username for the benefit of any existing applications.

  32. You should be able to import an Outlook PST file into  This would build upon the popularity of Microsoft Outlook.

  33. In Windows Explorer, there should be a right-mouse click for View - Hidden Files/Folders.

  34. Shadow Copies/Previous Versions should return to Windows 8 and all subsequent versions of Windows.

  35. The Show Desktop icon should return to Windows 8 and all subsequent versions of Windows.

  36. The Windows Mail Desktop App should return to Windows 8 and all subsequent versions of Microsoft Windows.  It should fully support POP3 and IMAP.  You should not have to download and install Windows Live Mail. 

  37. All versions of Microsoft Outlook and the Windows Mail Desktop App should have the ability to directly import Microsoft Outlook Express and the Windows Address Book.  Granted, there are work-arounds for this issue as well as third-party tools but this process should be simple and straight-forward.  In fact, Microsoft Outlook and the Windows Mail Desktop App should be able to directly import mail data from all common Mail Clients such as Mozilla Thunderbird, Eudora, Pegasus, Incredimail, etc., etc.

  38. When copying and pasting files/folders within Windows Explorer, the option should be available to Non-Stop copy all data without prompting when an issue is encountered.  Files that cannot be copied are logged to the screen.  By default, files that exist should be automatically skipped and also logged to the screen.

  39. The Remote Desktop brand should be further expanded to include a public website where customers can login to access a computer remotely.  This would not be unlike LogMeIn, TeamViewer, etc.

  40. Microsoft NetMeeting/SharedView/Meeting Space/Desktop Sharing should return to Windows 8.  Using a right-mouse click within Windows, you should be able to easily Send your Screen or selected Windows Application to a user on the internal computer network or the internet.

  41. Microsoft Internet Explorer should provide the ability to pause downloads and resume broken downloads in the same manner as third-party applications.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Microsoft Windows: 90.62% OS Market Share

It has been a very long time since my last post - 1 year and 3 days.  I have been extremely busy with my work in technology - always learning and growing - helping customers - completing technical projects for businesses and residential customers.  When I am not so busy working in my field, I will soon continue to publish technical information that could help others whom are also working on technical projects involving Microsoft Windows.  In this post however, I would like to talk about Operating System Market Share.  In other words, I would like to speak factually about the percentage of people throughout the world using a specific operating system.

Over the past few years, I have noticed an increase in the amount of website articles directed at promoting Apple products over Microsoft products - or periodically Linux products over Microsoft products.  It has been my observation that many of these websites are often more about the writer of the article and his or her agenda - than about relating technical information.  In other words, the article is often purely subjective rather than citing sources to backup the statements being made in the article.  This practice has become all too common - perhaps beyond the world of computer journalism - perhaps to all facets of journalism today.  Perhaps it is not possible to compose an article that is not without a certain level of subjectivity in its viewpoint.  Each of us reach varying conclusions when collecting information - and I must admit that I am a long-time admirer of Microsoft Windows.  This article then may be just as subjective as others - sources have not always been cited.  However, I believe the facts noted speak for themselves.

In all things, my personality is one that I like to lift up the hood and see what is really going on.  I like the straight scoop - dealing with facts - identifying and isolating sources of information and making statements that are - to the best of my ability - accurate.  This is an important component of writing because one does not want to look ignorant or ill-informed.  Of course right or wrong is subjective and there is nothing wrong with being wrong - we simply need to learn from our mistakes and grow upward.  In fact, being wrong is the process from which we gain experience and knowledge.  Therefore, the future may prove me wrong - but it is my impression the computer market place is not in some great upheaval as many computer journalists communicate to the world.  In fact, things are as they have always been.  The major players of the computer world are all the same - the only change has been a significant down turn in the American economy.  This downturn in the American economy results in fewer businesses and individuals purchasing computers.  That is all - nothing shocking here or unexpected.  Additionally, existing computer systems are more stable and last longer.  Microsoft continues to own 90.62% of the Operating System Market Share throughout the world.  Apple Mac OSX has 7.69%.  Linux has 1.48%.  (Source: Wikipedia)

The primary difference between Microsoft Windows and all other operating systems is that it meets the needs of Everyone.  It is not designed for a specific subset of American culture such as College Kids or Musicians or Desktop Publishers or Night Club DJs.  It is not designed specifically for hosting Websites.  It is primarily designed to meet the needs of Everyone - a vast number of users throughout the world working on projects at home and business.  There are more than 4 million Windows Applications to serve this purpose.  (Source: Microsoft)  I believe the closest competitor has one million.  Of these Windows Applications, many are specifically designed for enterprise business environments and are only available for Microsoft Windows.  This is likely due to the fact that Microsoft Windows employs a number of unique and powerful programming languages to meet the needs of Windows Application developers.

Critics will then often mention the Speed, Stability or Security of Microsoft Windows.  Speed would be defined by hardware and processor utilization - a metric that would not be largely different from one operating system to another.  The only difference being the process being executed and how it was designed/programmed.  Stability - well, I will admit Windows could be unstable at times from 1992 to 2000 but since then it has been incredibly stable.  Security is defined by the configuration of computer security both in the operating system and in the physical environment where the computer resides.  If the user of the computer disables or compromises the security of the operating system - or the user of the computer installs the computer in an environment without following network security protocols - the computer will of course be open to attack - just as any other operating system would be open to attack.  I believe it is only because Microsoft Windows is the most popular operating system in the world - the issue of Security comes up at all.  An operating system that is so highly utilized throughout the world is going to be examined and re-examined.  No doubt flaws will be identified which hackers can then attempt to exploit.  Clearly, Microsoft is dedicated to maintaining a high level of Security and Stability annually publishing Windows Updates to address Security and Stability issues that have been internally and externally identified.  Over the past several years, they have also introduced a number of Security Features within the operating system which have greatly expanded the Security of Microsoft Windows.

Based on the facts mentioned in this article which have not been addressed by competing operating systems, I believe Microsoft will continue to dominate the computer world for many years to come.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Windows Small Business Server 2008/2011 + New User + Group Policy Folder Redirection

In previous versions of Winows Small Business Server - such as Windows Small Business Server 2000 and Windows Small Business Server 2003, Folder Redirection was typically contained within a single Group Policy object, the Default Domain Policy.  You could edit the Default Domain Policy directly or use Server Management - Configure My Documents Redirection which applied Folder Redirection to all Existing and New Users.

In Windows Small Business Server 2008/2011, Folder Redirection is now a separate Group Policy entitled Small Business Server Folder Redirection Policy.  Folder Redirection is now typically defined by user on an individual basis using the Windows Small Business Server Console.

If you create a New User in Windows Small Business Server 2008/2011, you will want to be sure to open the Windows Small Business Server Console  (previously named Server Management) and click Redirect Folders for User Accounts to the Server.  You will then want to place a checkmark next to your New User and click Apply.  Group Policy will then be properly applied after performing gpupdate /force on the Client.

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