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18 things Vista & XP need to beat Linux & Mac OS X

What Windows needs to be the best once more

There's no doubt that Microsoft Windows is the biggest and the most widely used PC operating system - but it's not necessarily the best. Here are 18 things we'd like to see as standard in the next Windows.

Both XP and Vista fall short in some ways compared to other operating systems including the Linux OSes and Mac OS X. Certainly when it comes to really useful built-in functions and features such as Apple's Dock, Cover Flow and ISO burning. And then there's the features that come as standard on other operating systems, but require a premium-version licence in Windows.

We've looked at a number of operating systems, both past and present, and singled out the most useful and cool features that we really wish Windows had.

Expose

Available on: Mac

It's an elegantly simple idea, and it has been available on the Mac since 2003. When you want a clear view of all the application windows that are open at any one time, you just press F3, and a little feature called Expose arranges them all as thumbnails spread neatly across your screen. Click one, and it pops to the front while the rest snap back into position behind it.

With the release of Windows Vista, Microsoft deployed a feature called Flip3D that attempts to simplify window management in a slightly different way. Flip3D lets users flip through three-dimensional renderings of whatever windows are open on the desktop, but it doesn't offer nearly the same instantaneous visibility that Expose does.

Fortunately, a few downloads can add Expose-like thumbnails to your Windows machine. One little tool called iEx for Windows does the trick for free; but the installation is a little awkward, as you have to drag the downloaded files into the correct folders on your PC.

A more refined program, TopDesk, installs automatically in XP and Vista but it will set you back £10 after the 14-day free trial.

NEXT PAGE: Virtual workspaces and remote computing

  1. Apple's Exposé
  2. Virtual workspaces and remote computing
  3. How to screen share and use time machine in Windows
  4. Don't live without ISO burning and stickies when using Windows
  5. Podcast capture and software repositories
  6. Turn your desktop into a rotating cube
  7. Get automated and partial screenshots on your Windows PC
  8. Cover Flow and a pre-installed web server
  9. Enjoy POSIX compliance on your Windows PC
  10. Single file applications on Windows

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