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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.

Cover Flow

Available on: Mac

We all absorb information in different ways, and some of us do better at handling visual information. That's the main appeal of Apple's Cover Flow, which lets Mac OS X users browse through their folders, files, music, and other data visually.

By sliding the scrollbar or tapping the arrow keys on the keyboard, you can flip through your files one at a time, viewing each object as a large, helpful thumbnail, rather than seeing everything as a mess of small, obscure icons.

Vista has made strides in improving the Windows Explorer interface, but Windows has yet to integrate anything as dynamic as Cover Flow. With a free utility called Harmony, though, you can add Cover Flow-like browsing to Windows. Harmony works only with iTunes-generated cover art, and it doesn't integrate into Windows Explorer.

Nevertheless, it's a simple, free way to add a little Cover Flow-style action to your Windows Media Player experience.

Pre-installed web server

Available in: Mac, Linux, PC-BSD

Not everyone needs to host a website on their own PC. But some people do, whether it be their personal blog or just a few pages they wish to share on their internal network. And when people do set up a web page on their computer, they usually choose Linux or Mac OS X for the job, because some versions of Windows don't come with a built-in web server.

In Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate, you can install Microsoft's Internet Information Services. From the Control Panel, click Programs and Features, then choose Turn Windows features on and off from the left pane. In the Features list, check Internet Information Services and make sure Web Management Tools and World Wide Web Services are also checked.

If you're running Windows XP Home or Vista Home Basic, however, you'll have to download and install Apache HTTP Server (the same software Apple uses). Once installed, Apache lets you host web pages, complete with SSL encryption, from a folder on your Windows PC.

NEXT PAGE: Get POSIX compliance on your Windows PC

  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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