The Old New Thing

The problem with The Month Where Everyone Focuses on Improving Documentation is that most people are terrible technical writers

Why not have a month where everybody focuses on improving documentation like that month a few years ago where everybody focused on security? Well, part of it is that most people suck at technical writing. The technical part, maybe, but the writing almost definitely not. Writing is hard (as I've learned firsthand), and technical writing is a...
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A process shutdown puzzle

In honor of National Puzzle Day, I leave you today with a puzzle based on an actual customer problem. Part One: The customer explains the problem. We have this DLL, and during its startup, it creates a thread with the following thread procedure: DWORD CALLBACK ThreadFunction(void *) { HANDLE HandleArray[2]; HandleArray[0] = ...
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The great thing about being popular is that everybody wants to see you go down

The servers that run this Web site are under heavy load, even when things are operating normally. And on top of that, they have to fend off a lot of attacks. There's the usual spam pingbots, but usually when the site starts to get all bogged down, it's because there is an active attack on the site at the network level. And it doesn't matter ...

When you have only 16KB of memory, you can’t afford to waste any of it on fluffy stuff

The original IBM PC came with 16KB of memory. That's not a lot of space in which to squeeze an operating system, especially since you had to leave enough memory for the user to actually get work done. A product of its time, the MS-DOS kernel is written entirely in assembly language, pretty much standard procedure for programs of the era. It...

There’s camping, and then there’s luxury camping, and then there’s ridiculous luxury camping

Back in 2002, I read an article about luxury camping in the Wall Street Journal, and it struck me as kind of missing the point of camping. For campers too busy to shop for marshmallows, one place stocks a s'mores kit -- skewers included -- in its gourmet general store. Another provides blow dryers, putting an end to "river hair." When ...

Why can’t I see all of the 4GB of RAM in my machine?, redux

Phil Taylor gives another few reasons why machine with 4GB of RAM doesn't show up as such. (Here's my earlier posting on this subject, for reference.) These articles about possible reasons for memory not showing up are not intended to be comprehensive. It is entirely possible that the problem you are experiencing is not one described ...

But then we ran into problems when we started posting 10,000 messages per second

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there was a research team inside Microsoft who was working on alternate models for handling input. I don't know what eventually came of that project, and I don't even remember the details of the meeting, but I do remember the punch line, so I'm just going to make up the rest. The research project ...
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Why can’t you apply ACLs to registry values?

Someone wondered why you can't apply ACLs to individual registry values, only to the containing keys. You already know enough to answer this question; you just have to put the pieces together. In order for a kernel object to be ACL-able, you need to be able to create a handle to it, since it is the act of creating the handle that ...
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