Why doesn’t \ autocomplete to all the computers on the network?

Raymond Chen

Wes Haggard wishes that \ would autocomplete to all the computers on the network. [Link fixed 10am.] An early beta of Windows 95 actually did something similar to this, showing all the computers on the network when you opened the Network Neighborhood folder. And the feature was quickly killed. Why? Corporations with large networks were having conniptions because needlessly enumerating all the machines on the network can bring a large network to its knees. Think about all the times you type “\\”. Now imagine if every single time you did that, Explorer started enumerating all the machines on the network. And imagine how your network administrator would feel if their network traffic saturated with enumerations each time you did that. Network administrators made it clear in no uncertain terms that having Windows casually enumerate all the machines on their LAN was totally unacceptable.

The needs of the corporate environment are very different from those of the home network, and Windows needs to operate in both worlds.


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