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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.

Automated and partial screenshots

Available on: Mac

Taking screenshots in Windows has never been as easy as it should be. Sure, it starts out simple enough: you press the Print Screen key, and the current view instantly copies to the Clipboard. Where it goes from there, however, is another matter entirely. It's up to you to open up Paint or another image editor, paste the captured screen into the app window, and then save it. What a pain.

On the Mac, however, things are easier. When you press Command-Shift-3, an image of the entire screen view instantly saves to your desktop. Press Command-Shift-4, and the mouse pointer turns into a set of crosshairs that you can drag over the area you want to capture. You can grab as much, or as little, of the screen as you like.

You can improve Windows' screen-grabbing prowess with a $15 (£7.50) utility called Better Screenshots. Better Screenshots lets you assign any hot-key to capture whole screens, partial screens, and even full-motion on-screen actions. It then automatically saves them to any folder you wish, in a format of your choosing.

Multitouch trackpad gestures

Available on: Mac

Beginning with the new generation of MacBooks, all Apple notebooks now support at least some multitouch trackpad gestures. You can use two fingers to do cool things such as scroll up and down, resize objects on the screen, swipe your way through Cover Flow menus, and more. Some Macs can do more than others, but all now recognise two fingers on the trackpad in one way or another.

Apple accomplishes this, of course, because it makes its own hardware. Microsoft, on the other hand, makes only software. However, some PC notebook vendors, such as AsusTek, are beginning to ship their notebooks with multitouch trackpads and the drivers required to make them work.

We'd like to see multitouch become standard on all Windows laptops over time, with support for multitouch gestures built directly into Windows, but for now it's something you'll have to keep an eye out for with every laptop purchase.

NEXT PAGE: Cover flow and a pre-installed web server

  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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