The Old New Thing

How do I access a file without updating its last-access time?

The first problem with discussing file last-access time is agreeing what you mean by a file's last-access time. The file system folks have one definition of the file last-access time, namely the time the file was most recently opened and either read from or written to. This is the value retrieved by functions like Get­File­...
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During process termination, slim reader/writer locks are now also electrified

Some time ago I mentioned that during process termination, the gates are now electrified: If you attempt to enter a critical section that is owned by a thread that was terminated by an earlier phase of process termination, the entire process is forcibly terminated. Windows Vista introduced a new lightweight synchronization pseudo-object ...
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Why can't I move the Program Files directory via the unattend file?

We saw last time that the unattend file lets you change some Windows configuration settings that cannot be changed after Setup is complete. But one of the things you can't change is the location of the Program Files directory. Many people wish they could relocate their Program Files directory to another drive in order to relieve disk space ...

The unattend file lets you configure Windows while it's installing, and in some cases it's your only chance

Some Windows settings can only be established as part of the installation process. This is done with a so-called unattend file. (Remember, no matter where you put an advanced setting, somebody will tell you that you are an idiot.) In earlier versions of Windows, the unattend file took the form of an INI file, but Windows Vista hopped ...

Beyoncé, the giant metal chicken has a Facebook page

In my 2011 mid-year link clearance, I linked to the story And that's why you should learn to pick your battles. I thought that was the end of the story, but no, it's the gift that keeps on giving. Beyoncé, the giant metal chicken has a Facebook page, populated with all sorts of crazy things like pictures of Beyoncé's ...

Adjusting your commute to avoid being at work quite so much

Commenter Bernard remarked that he moved from one side of the company campus to the other, and his commute distance (and time) was cut in half. That reminds me of a short story from a now-retired colleague of mine. He bicycled to work, and over the years, the gradual expansion of the Microsoft main corporate campus resulted in nearly three ...

Do not access the disk in your IContextMenu handler, no really, don't do it

We saw some time ago that the number one cause of crashes in Explorer is malware. It so happens that the number one cause of hangs in Explorer is disk access from context menu handlers (a special case of the more general principle, you can't open the file until the user tells you to open it). That's why I was amused by Memet's claim ...
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