The Old New Thing

Hotkeys involving the Windows logo key are reserved by the system

Hotkeys involving the Windows logo key are reserved by the system. New ones are added over time. For example, Windows 98 added Win+D to show the desktop. Windows 2000 added Win+U to call up the Utility Manager. Windows XP added Win+B to move keyboard focus to the taskbar notification area. And a whole bunch of new ...
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The first day at Microsoft: Don't just stand there

A second installment in a very sporadic series titled The first day at Microsoft, relating stories of funny things that happened on people's first days at Microsoft. Today, we hear from Employee Y: One of the things you have to do on your first day is get your photo taken for your identification badge, and I waited in line with the ...

The importance of the FORMAT_MESSAGE_IGNORE_INSERTS flag

You can use the FormatMessage message with the FORMAT_MESSAGE_FROM_SYSTEM flag to indicate that the message number you passed is an error code and that the message should be looked up in the system message table. This is a specific case of the more general case where you are not in control of the message, and when you are not in control of ...
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What to do when the steering column is stuck and the ignition won't turn

One evening, I parked pointing downhill and like the book says, I turned my wheels to the right before parking. But I turned it a bit too far, because when I returned to the car and inserted the key into the ignition, the key wouldn't turn. The wrong thing to do is to force the key until it breaks. Here's the right thing to do: Take the ...

When you compress a drive, some files are exempted, but you can force it, and then it's your problem

On the drive property sheet for an NTFS volume, there is a checkbox called "Compress drive to save disk space." If you check that box, the shell marks the drive as "compress all newly-created files" and also goes through and compresses all the existing files on the drive. Well, almost all the file. Some files are exempted by default. ...

Why are INI files deprecated in favor of the registry?

Welcome, Slashdot readers. Remember, this Web site is for entertainment purposes only. Why are INI files deprecated in favor of the registry? There were many problems with INI files. The registry tried to address these concerns. You might argue whether these were valid concerns to begin with, but the Windows NT folks sure thought ...

Sounds about right: What a geek does with an iPhone in the first two days

Welcome to Black Friday, the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season. I suspect there will be a bunch of people who are hoping Santa will get them an iPhone. Here's one story of what lies in store. One of my friends stood in line on the first day of iPhone availability and got one of the highly-anticipated gadgets. We happened ...

The forgotten common controls: The GetEffectiveClientRect function

The GetEffectiveClientRect function is another one in the category of functions that everybody tries to pretend doesn't exist. It's not as bad as MenuHelp, but it's still pretty awful. The idea behind the GetEffectiveClientRect function is that you have a frame window with a bunch of optional gadgets, such as a status bar or toolbar. The ...
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When in doubt, consult the online Magic 8 Ball

On our team's web site, buried among the other debugging documents, was a page titled simply "Magic 8 Ball"®¹. If you visited it, you got a dark blue circle with a lighter-blue triangle, on which appeared white text with a randomly-chosen message. The messages were things like It was fun to give the 8-ball a shake, but the real ...

Alternate theories on how Putin can retain power after his second term expires

Everybody has their own pet theory on how Vladimir Putin can retain power after the end of his second official term. I earlier wrote of one such theory: Change the constitution to permit a third term. In the intervening months, other theories have been put forth. Each one chips away at a different part of the statement that "the president can...

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