Despite a few bright spots, application installation and mangement is a key area where Windows continues to lag behind even the basic facilities offered by its compettition. Opportunities abound in this area to improve user experience and yet they go unfulfilled,
blocked by the burden of a disastrous series of legacy decisions.
One day I hope Windows gets a first class package manager and format. I would very much like to never have a program I can't uninstall again. I would like it if installing or uninstalling one application doesn't break another. I would like to be able to install
personal software for an unpriviledge account (such as a game, provided policy does not restrict it). I would like to be able to run apps directly from removable media or a network share. I would like to be able to install multiple instances of IIS. I would
like to be able to install multiple versions of Word. I wouild like the system to help manage automatic update of third party software. I would like the system to provide an application firewall that would prevent a compromised application from accessing APIs
it didn't declare it uses. I would like to see applications restricted to seeing only the file areas and file types it declares it can handle. I would like Windows to correctly manage dependencies for a change. I would like applications to be isolated from
harming each other. I would like common application interactions to be mediated by the system in a well behaved way.
There are things that give me some hope in this area. Microsoft's aquisition of Softtricity is one of them. Being able to virtualize the changes an install makes to the system so that there is a minimal impact on the hosting machine is potentially a killer
capability. It would be interesting if developers could produce this type of package directly one day (without the capture phase). Hell it might even be possible to fake out legacy installers to run in a capture session automatically.