Monday, September 1, 2008

<pretentious>How to fix Windows</pretentious>

I know many people have suggested ways to fix windows before, but I have a viewpoint most don't: I'm a programmer. And as a programmer, I'm acutely aware of all the concepts behind windows that I can't begin to grasp. However, I do have one vague idea on how windows could achieve the reliability and speed of a Mac without losing its focus on customization.

Security levels.

That's right, one of the most boring subjects ever to reach computer science, and I think it can solve one of the biggest problems in computer science. Here's why.

There are really two big hurdles to windows performance, programs that run in the background and programs that handle the windows registry improperly. That's why the most common first tips to speed up a windows computer are "Take out the programs running in the background" and "Clean out your registry". In order to address these two major bottlenecks, I think you , the windows user, should be able to restrict your installed software's access to them.

Some programs have a right to always be active, like antivirus software, and some large programs must load parts of themselves when the system starts to allow you quick access to them. Both of these strategies make sense for reputable, well-coded programs, but not for programs packaged with device drivers or random freeware.

Essentially, any program you choose to run can slow down your system by always running in the background, loading itself into your ram, starting up along with your operating system, and filling your system's registry with useless information. Every program you have installed has the same rights to your system's resources. If that makes sense to you, you must be from Redmond.

I think you should be able to assign every program you install one of three security ratings.

  1. The program can access your registry, load on startup, and access the internet.
  2. The program can load on startup and access the internet, but not access your registry.
  3. The program can only access the internet.

Now, developers like me would have to balance the worth of our programs with the ratings people were likely to assign them. Instead of using all the resources I could possibly need, I'll have to design for the security rating I'm likely to receive.

I'm not saying that one silver bullet feature will be able to make windows the absolute best operating system, but I think a radical improvement like this might put windows back on the right track.