Is Windows 7 RTM so good that SP1 needs no real improvements?

Yesterday, Microsoft started the announcements about Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. The one thing that struck me was the fact that Windows 7 will only get some minor updates and bug fixes from the Service Pack. Even though Windows 7 is sweet and looks very good from the beginning, I think there still are a few rough edges in the OS to work on. I was really hoping that Microsoft did some work to add some more sweetness to Windows 7. But I’m afraid that we have to wait a little bit longer. Here is my shortlist of issues to be fixed or better said features to be finished and enhanced in an upcoming update of the OS.

1. Libraries

Libraries in Windows 7 are a wonderful thing as long as your data is on the local system or made available offline with the offline files option. The problem is that this is exactly where the story ends. Many people have been plagued with the dreadful "this location cannot be added because it is not indexed" message when they try to add a network shared folder to their libraries. The current solutions are:

  1. Make the added location available offline
  2. Index the data on the server (therefore it must be a Windows Service)
  3. Complete disable the search feature for all libraries in Group Policy and lose file search in the start menu at the same time.
  4. Use an unsupported method by fooling the OS into thinking the data is local while it isn’t.

Why not have an option to disable the indexing requirement per library? This is much less intrusive than option C, that removes more functionality than any user would want. You can also read about this in my blog at www.xpworld.com.

2. Libraries for system admins

Libraries are nice from the end-user perspective, but what happened to the administrator’s perspective? Why can administrators still only redirect the My Document, My Pictures, My Music etc. folders and not configure the complete contents of the library. I would have loved to add the departmental share to the documents library for my users from a policy instead of fixing this by hand on each system. When I can configure libraries from Group Policy? Microsoft please also add the option to export and import library configurations as implemented in the Win7 Library Tool?

3. Search support for Distributed File System (Dfs)

Distributed File System was once one of Microsofts first attempts to virtualize the network. Nowadays it seems that Microsoft is moving away from this really useful feature that allows administrators to hide the name of the actual file server from a user by creating a Dfs share. Windows Search that is needed to add file locations to a library doesn’t work when you connect the shared folder through Dfs. Users have to connect to the actual file server and now the advantage of Dfs is gone. Microsoft, please add Dfs support to Windows Search.

4. Multiple sound devices per source in Windows

I have been a Media Center fan for quite some time. And this one really bugs me. In Windows XP Media Center I was able to connect my TV to the stereo jack of my PC and my receiver to the SPDIF connector and then play my media to both outputs at the same time. I then got stereo from the TV and Dolby Surround or DTS from the receiver. Since Microsoft changed the sound driver model for Windows Vista, I now have to choose which output I like to use. Now my Media Center is playing through the receiver all the time, because switching requires me to use the mouse or walk through the Media Center wizard to reconfigure the output. Microsoft, please enable multiple sound devices for a single application in Windows 7? Especially for Media Center.

5. Why did my system wake from sleep?

Now that Windows finally has a decent sleep option, most of my systems are no longer switched off when I don’t use them. The only problem is that these systems sometimes seem to wake up for no reason at all. I already found out that most of the time the cause of the awakening can be found in the event log. I also found out that PowerCfg.exe allows to configure what devices can wake a system from sleep. Why did I have to dig into a command line to list the devices that can wake up my systems and fix this? This should be part of the control panel applet that manages power features in Windows 7. Microsoft, please extend the Power Management GUI with an option to configure devices that can wake the system from sleep.

This is just my little wish list for Windows 7, but I am sure there must be more. It truly bugs me that the current announcements for SP1 do not mention any significant enhancements to make Windows 7 even better than it already is. Or am I just impatient and did Microsoft wait with the announcements that really matter?

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10 Responses to Is Windows 7 RTM so good that SP1 needs no real improvements?

  1. Eric says:

    "2. Index the data on the server (therefore it must be a Windows Server)"You do not have to be running Windows Server to index a folder, or have the folder\’s index accessible to a network client. Installing Windows Search 4.0 on XP/Server 2003 provides the necessary services to make Windows 7 happy to add your shared folder to a Library. As long as Vista\’s built-in search was updated to 4.0 as well, it will do the same.

  2. Björn says:

    I vote for all of your feature requests – I have run into them all.Björn

  3. Gary says:

    as far as #5 goes, did you try going to the nic\’s power management settings in device manager and uncheck the box that says "allow this device to wake computer"? my pc\’s never wake up.

  4. Raymond says:

    Eric, true indexing works on XP and Server 2003 but will not do work in any non-Micorosoft file server like a NAS running some sort of Linux. You can read about this in my earlier post.

  5. Eric says:

    Ah, I misunderstood the intent of what you said there then. I wasn\’t thinking about that from the non-Windows angle.

  6. Unknown says:

    MS has already said it wasn\’t going to add features via service packs anymore, and service packs are just going to be patch rollups, like they traditionally were in NT, 2000, and XP SP1. XP SP2 was an anomaly, and we\’re not likely to see that again from MS.

  7. tuxplorer says:

    They need to fix some annoying issues from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_Vista and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_7. Like making auto sorting optional. I will be mad if they don\’t put this in SP1.

  8. Robbie says:

    One thing i want Microsoft to look into is why Media Center in Windows 7 uses too much memory, ehshell uses 63MB when idle i.e at start page, 116MB when playing Live TV and 140MB when playing recorded tv, this causes sluggish and upredictable performance. surely something needs to be looked into here to determine the problem

  9. Tim says:

    There is an annoying bug introduced in Windows Explorer that causes the current folder to move to the bottom when expanding the tree. It has been discussed for almost a year – I\’m not sure why it would not be addressed in SP1.http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7files/thread/78c18738-2818-43f7-8ca2-b3322cd8ff0dhttp://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7files/thread/fb07b088-bc03-42dc-a8d6-79b360154d7c

  10. Fred says:

    "MS has already said it wasn\’t going to add features via service packs anymore"Not true at all. example:http://blogs.technet.com/virtualization/archive/2010/03/18/Explaining-Microsoft-RemoteFX.aspxRDP on steroids "Remote FX" will be added to Server 2008 R2 SP1.#1 on your list is HUGE. Especially for those of us using any kind of NAS. Libraries are useless for those of us in the corporate world who prohibit local file storage. Many will hat me for this but, I\’m still calling out for classic start menu as an option. I get it, the new menu has advantages but, there are still a lot of dinosaurs out there fumbling through their machine. I\’m dreading the day when I change the location of their shortcuts. They don\’t care about the OS.. they just want program x or y. I\’d rather just give them that and move on than try to educate the masses.

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