I love the idea that in Linux, I can simply reinstall my operating system without having to back up my files, because of a seperate /home partition.
It seems that the programmers of MS Windows and Linux as well have forgotten that the hardisks have a tendency to break. In windows all the configuration files are built all around the disk, You got ini-files, dlls, configs and registrys. When the system breaks, you have no way to recover your programs. In Documents and Settings many important files are either hidden or in hidden directories.
You have no simple way to make backup of your system, because also many programs keep their caches there. I'm sure you don't want to make backup of your browser cache.
(It is possible to build scripts or programs to take care of the backup, but scripting and gui programming is awfull in MSWindows. I'd rather do something productive.)
At least there should be an option to move all datadirectories to an different partition. It can be done in WinXP, but it should be the native way. Like in Linux you can have your /home -directory in another HD. Still in Linux most of the configuration files are in the system disk. The /etc directory can and should be copied to backup at least once per week. Still there is a lot of programs whose configurations are hidden in binary and library directories. If the system disk goes to heavens, you got to build everything again.
Some nerd can say that it is easy, but you got to remember that it still takes time and that there is many (like myself) who tries to take care of hundreds of computers.
In the next generation of OSes (Win8 ?) there MUST be a simple way to make backups (please do not mention MS Backup/Restore, it has cost us a lot of work allready. It is worse than dangerous).
There is a B/R system in the new W7. I tested it and sent a warning to my customers. It makes some proprietary file format and we all know what happends to them. The only file formats, that can be used in backup, are native linear and ZIP.
Another thing is that the system folder (Winnt, Windows...) should be read only. I see no reason, why all and every program is writing there all the time. It makes the AV programs busy eating your processor power. What ever you do, the AV program got to check every file the system needs.
Here we come to the next thing. Installation of the programs should be done with some kind of 'su' or 'sudo' command like in Linux. This way we could keep down the number of viruses. I see no reason, why all and every program has rights to install new files to system folders. So far it has been a nuisance to install new programs in WinXP -for a normal user it many times nearly impossible. For a virus it is piece of cake.
(Yes, I have found a way to simulate 'su' in WinXP, but it uses some undocumented tricks and parameters)