The Old New Thing

No, modifying the DLLs that come with Windows is not supported

From the I can't believe I had to write that file comes this question from a customer: Our customer is modifying the ABC.DLL file that comes with Windows in order to accomplish XYZ. Is this supported? No, of course this isn't supported. I can't believe I had to write that. if you modify a system file, then the thing you're running isn't ...

Why do some infotips repeat the name of the item as well as the infotip?

A customer noticed that when the user hovered over their application name in the Start menu, the infotip that pops up includes their product name: ... but no other program on the Start menu included the product name in the description: The customer compared their shortcut with the other ones but couldn't find anything that was telling ...

Seeing the world through arbitrage-colored glasses

On the mailing list with a negative service level agreement, one of my colleagues posted the message Free Nerf guns in my office. I've decided I'm no longer a collector. Not one to miss the opportunity to cause some trouble, another colleague posted the message Nerf guns for sale: $1 each. Get'em while they're hot. That earned a chuckle...

When your vice president tells you to stop replying to a mail thread, you probably should stop replying to the mail thread

Some time in the early part of this century, somebody sent a message to the Windows NT Development Announcements mailing list at Microsoft. It went something like, "My car was parked in «location X» and somebody ran into it and didn't leave a note. Does anybody have any information about this?" Now, one thing you need to know...

The question mark lets you make up anything you like

A trend I've noticed in journalism is to make some sort of outrageous statement, but then stick a question mark at the end to disavow any responsibility for the statement. By changing it to a question, you're avoiding actually having to back up what you write. "I'm not saying this is actually true. I'm just raising the question." For example...

How do I set an accessible name on an unlabeled control?

A customer asked for advice on accessibility. This was great news, because it meant that somebody actually cared about accessibility! We have a property sheet page that contains an unlabeled list view. The list view is not labeled because its meaning is implied by its placement on the dialog. This works great as long as you can see the ...
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Code

Is there a 2048 character limit for OFN_ALLOWMULTISELECT in MFC or isn't there?

The MFC documentation for CFile­Dialog contains the following strange warning: When the user allocates their own buffer to accommodate OFN_ALLOW­MULTI­SELECT, the buffer can't be larger than 2048 or else everything gets corrupted (2048 is the maximum size). The sudden informality of the phrase "or else everything gets corrupted...
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Code

Microspeak: Bug jail

Bug jail is not a place where bugs are sent as punishment for their crimes. Rather, it's a (virtual) place that developers are sent when they have too many bugs. Project management establishes some maximum number of bugs (known as a bug cap) each developer is permitted to have on his or her plate, and developers whose bug count exceeds the ...

Why does copying a file to my USB thumb drive say that the parameter is incorrect?

Consider the following sequence of operations, assuming that F: is a USB thumb drive with plenty of disk space. Why is the second file copy failing? The hint is the file extension: *.iso, which suggests that this is a CD or DVD image, and DVD images have the feature that they tend to be really big. Like more than 4GB big. USB thumb ...

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