What will Windows 9 look like?

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Published March 02, 2014

| Consumer Reports

It hasn't been long since Microsoft upgraded Windows 8 with Windows 8.1. But that doesn't mean it's too soon to start speculating about Windows 9. And Windows users are definitely speculating, even though rumor has it the next version won’t be out until April 2015.

We asked Consumer Reports' Facebook followers what their expectations are for Windows 9. A few are looking for "Windows 7" (and even "Windows XP"). But others would like to see Windows continue to evolve, with better security, less resource hogging, and an even simpler interface.

We have a few more suggestions: Here are some of the features we'd like to see in the next version of Windows.

Offer better apps
Note to Microsoft: If you want computers to duplicate the tablet experience, you'd better have an excellent app store. That’s what a tablet is all about. The Windows Store continues to lag significantly behind the offerings in Google Play and Apple's App Store. Time to put some serious resources into Windows apps and deliver a much more robust experience.

Give us flexible updates
Yes, it's important to get those Windows updates done ASAP, but sometimes you don't want to leave your computer running overnight because it started updating after you tried to shut down for the day. It would be great if Microsoft asked if you want to update now or later.

Provide more free cloud storage
Microsoft should lead the way with free cloud storage. The current 7GB of free space is paltry. And if the future really is all about the cloud, we're probably going to want more than 200GB, which is the current cap on Microsoft OneDrive (and that'll cost you $100).

Do your homework before you buy with our computer buying guide and Ratings.

Let us lock into Desktop or Tile mode
Have you ever opened content while using a Windows tablet in Tile mode—and a Desktop program launches? That's pretty annoying when you're working without a physical keyboard. Windows should let you choose default apps or applications for when you're working in Tile mode and when you're working in the more traditional Desktop mode. In addition, when you enter a form field on the Desktop screen, and you're using a tablet without a physical keyboard, the virtual keyboard should automatically pop up.

Bring back the Start button
Some users are still missing the Start button (like those Windows 7 fans mentioned above), so there's a good possibility Microsoft will release at least an enterprise version of Windows 9 that reverts to the old-school Start button and Start menu.

Show us the time and date
Sometimes it's the simple things. In Start mode, the date and time show up only when you pull out the Charms menu. Please, Microsoft, let us see them on the Start page without the need to swipe and scroll.

Fix Calendar and Mail
Mail should support POP3 mail. And the Calendar is just plain ugly. These are core apps that need to do what we'd expect them to do, with a clean and intuitive interface.

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