The Five Pillars of Windows 7 (part 3 of 5)

da AeroXperience

This posting is provided “as is” with no warranties, and confers no rights. All of the information herein could easily be right, wrong, up, down, in, out, backwards, forwards, heavily dated, or totally false. You can interpret it as you wish, or not interpret it at all. Also, in case you haven’t figured it out, all of this is non-static and heavily subject to change.

So far, we’ve discussed the Specialized for Laptops and Designed for Services pillars of Windows 7. The common thread between these two focuses on connectivity and utilization of online resources. The third pillar, unsurprisingly, shares the same common link with the other two pillars.

Part Three of my series on the Five Pillars of Windows 7 will expand on some of the elements of the Designed for Services pillar with Microsoft’s plan for personalization and access. Given how susceptible the User Interface of an application or operating system is to change, this pillar could see the largest shift in scope over the coming years, so don’t be terribly surprised if the information in this pillar sees the most change out of all of them.

Comments are appreciated. You can catch pillar three after the jump.

Pillar Three: Personalized Computing for Everyone

It’s as it sounds. Microsoft will move to transform Windows 7 from a generic operating system (despite how pretty Vista happens to be) to one which users can identify with. Will we finally see third party themes?
The irony in this pillar is that the scenarios focus more on globalized access of resources than the Designed for Services pillar does. Given the early nature of all of this, I’m sure things will become more organized.

  • “This desktop is made for me!” Users want to associate themselves with what they use. A customizable desktop provides just that. This particular scenario is still up in the air, though a number of close sources say that we could see a demonstration of what Microsoft means with this scenario by the time PDC rolls around.
  • Culturalization improvements give the user the ability not just to choose a language and location, but to choose what is termed as a “market theme” which would change many aspects of Windows to reflect a user’s cultural background. From a marketing perspective, I think this would help keep Microsoft in the homes of people outside of America quite easily. Americans tend to be less protective and embracing of culture than the rest of the world, so a cultural slant would help not only to keep the Microsoft name afloat in other markets, it will attract more people towards using a computer. I personally think this will fold well into Microsoft’s plans for low cost computing in third world nations.
  • Access, access, access! Accessing files from anywhere is vitally important in Windows 7. Accessing home content remotely as well as better offline file access, compiled with seamless access to all of your resources (see Working on Demand) will allow for Explorer to present your files to you as if they were available locally. Using your home content remotely would be secure, with nothing left behind on the machine you use to connect to your home network. Again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this occur with the help of Windows Live, though no such Live integration was noted by this scenario.
  • Secure Roaming personalizes computing for everyone by rolling new features into both Windows 7 and Live ID. For example, certain settings like IE favorites sharing (a Delicious Flock of Furl, if you get my drift), web passwords, and possibly even broader user account roaming will allow for a user to feel more at home no matter where he is. Expect more online-storable things (think SkyDrive) to be enabled.
  • Home Network Management enhancements give the user the ability to easily create a secure home network which grants seamless access to media and other computers possible. This home network can be automatically detected by an enrolled laptop, granting access to printers, files, and resources while protecting work data. You can see where Microsoft is going with this in the screenshots below:

    This is what a user of Windows 7 Milestone 1 would be confronted with during setup.
    Sadly, it breaks when you try to assign a password, so there’s obviously much work to be done.

By now, a common trend is beginning to emerge; Microsoft is connecting Windows to its online platforms much the same way it’s doing with Office and Office Live. It’s a healthy assumption to say that this is all in response to Google’s ballooning size and the threat it poses to Microsoft.

I’ll post part four of my series either tomorrow or Monday depending on the demand. It’ll appear online at around the same time.

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