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Windows Blue wish list: 15 must-see improvements

Brad Chacos | April 19, 2013
Windows Blue is barreling down the pipeline, promising to fix many of Windows 8's flaws. We have a few suggestions.

5. Improved default apps

Microsoft dumped its tried-and-true desktop defaults in Windows 8, swapping them out for modern-style apps such as Mail, Calendar, People, and Maps. And, sure, the new apps are pretty, but they're missing crucial features that severely inhibit their usefulness. (Heck, the Calendar app-themed Outlook.com calendar packs deeper options than the Calendar app itself.)

A recent spate of updates added some additional functionality to Windows 8's baked-in apps, but they still have a long way to go before they're ready for everyday contention. Bring it, Blue.

6. The ability to run modern apps in desktop Windows


If Stardock's MOdernMix can do it, why can't Blue?

Stardock's absolutely stellar ModernMix program gives you the ability to run modern apps in desktop Windows, so the technology backbone is definitely there. If Microsoft truly wants to encourage desktop diehards to dip their toes in the modern waters, letting us run apps as part of our usual workflow is a lot less obnoxious than forcing us to boot to the Start screen all the time.

7. App syncing

Windows 8 already offers a tremendous number of syncing options, allowing you to keep your wallpaper, settings and other elements constant as you bounce from device to device. And buried deep in the Blue leak were even more new sync features. The one I'm pining for most is missing, however: The ability to automatically sync whole apps across devices, so that you can transfer all of the apps installed on your primary machine to new pieces of hardware headache-free. Basically, what Android does.

And while I'm on the topic, some finer-grained wallpaper syncing options would be nice, to prevent the crappy stock wallpaper found on every laptop I sign in to from jumping over to my primary machines.

8. More Snap customization options

Windows 8's Snap--which lets you lock an app to one-quarter of the screen while running another app in the remaining portion--is nothing short of a killer feature, but that 75/25 limitation hurts. The Windows Blue leak already includes 50/50 screen sharing for two apps, but why stop there? Give us the ability to resize Snap proportions as we see fit.

As my colleague Alex Wawro said when I asked him for wish list suggestions, "Customizable Snap view ratios is a potential minor improvement for Windows Blue that would radically change how I feel about Windows 8."

9. Better DVD support

Windows 8 won't play DVDs out of the box, even if you're using Windows Media Player (which is included with the OS, but is buried behind the Music and Video apps, which are set as defaults). Sure, you can download a third-party program like the superb VLC to unlock DVD viewing capabilities, but Average Joe doesn't know that.

 

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