Was showing the column header in all Explorer views a rogue feature?

Raymond Chen

User 🙁 asks whether the Explorer feature that shows the column headers in all views was a rogue feature or a planned one.

If it was a rogue feature, it was a horribly badly hidden one.

One of the important characteristics of the rogue feature is that you not be able to tell that the feature is there unless you go looking for it. If the feature is right there on the screen as soon as you open an Explorer window, odds are that somebody is going to notice and say something about it. (For example, the designer who is responsible for Explorer is probably going to notice that every screenshot of Explorer doesn’t match the spec.)

That’s why rogue features typically take the form of a hotkey or holding a modifier key in conjunction with another operation.

Writing up this characterization of rogue features reminds me that I myself am responsible for a rogue feature of Windows 95. If you go to an MS-DOS box, select Edit, then Mark, then select a section of the window for copying, if you hold the Ctrl key while dragging the mouse, the shape of the selection changes from a box to, um, I’m not sure the shape has a name. But it includes all the text between the start point and the end point, as if the contents of the window had come from an edit control. Something like this:


Since this was a rogue feature, it was never tested, and I suspect that it didn’t work on Hebrew or Arabic systems.

I must’ve chickened out, or maybe my rogue feature was found out, because the code for streamed selections was ifdef’d out before Windows 95 shipped. So at least I can still honestly say that I never shipped a rogue feature.


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