The Old New Thing

What was the nature of the feedback that resulted in the change to the highlighting model for Explorer navigation pane?

Gabe wanted to know the nature of the feedback that resulted in the change to Explorer navigation pane. Historically, Explorer had a navigation pane that contained a folder tree, and the navigation pane could be toggled on and off. From observations and usability studies, we observed that users in general found this toggling burdensome. ...

Why was HDS_FILTERBAR added to the common controls if nobody uses it?

Mike Dunn was curious about the intended purpose of HDS_FILTERBAR. The HDS_FILTERBAR style adds a row below the header control consisting of an edit control and a funnel icon. The funnel icon presumably represents a coffee filter, because after all, everybody in the world drinks coffee as much as people in Seattle. (Developers think they're...

Why does Windows keep showing the old indirect strings even after I update the binary?

If your application uses indirect localized string resources, and you update the application, you may find that Windows keeps using the old string from the previous version of the application. For example, suppose that you set the localized name for a shortcut to @C:\Program Files\Contoso\Contoso.exe,-1, and in version 1 of your ...

What does the minus sign in indirect localized string resources mean?

The syntax for indirect localized string resources is @filename,-stringId, optionally followed by a semicolon and a comment. A customer wanted to know what the minus signs stands for. The minus sign doesn't "stand for" anything. It's just part of the syntax. It's like asking what the semicolon at the end of a C statement stands for. It doesn...

Instead of creating something and then trying to hide it, simply don't create it in the first place

A customer had a question, which was sort of I bet somebody got a really nice bonus for that feature in reverse. A customer is asking if there is a way to programmatically control the icons in the notification area. Specifically, they want the setting for their notification icon to be "Only show notifications" rather than "Show icon and ...
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Why don't music files show up in my Recent Items list?

If you double-click a music file, it doesn't show up in your Recent Items list. What's so special about music files? The technical reason is that the file types are registered with the FTA_No­Recent­Docs flag, which means that they don't show up in the Recent Items list (formerly known as Recent Documents), and they don't show up in ...

What's the difference between Text Document, Text Document – MS-DOS Format, and Unicode Text Document?

Alasdair King asks why Wordpad has three formats, Text Document, Text Document - MS-DOS Format, and Unicode Text Document. "Isn't at least one redundant?" Recall that in Windows, three code pages have special status. Three text file formats. Three encodings. Hm... I wonder... As you might have guessed by now, the three text file ...
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How do I find out which process has a file open?

Classically, there was no way to find out which process has a file open. A file object has a reference count, and when the reference count drops to zero, the file is closed. But there's nobody keeping track of which processes own how many references. (And that's ignoring the case that the reference is not coming from a process in the first ...
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Why does the DrawIcon function draw at the default icon size?

Miral wondered why the Draw­Icon function draws at the default icon size instead of respecting the actual icon size. After all, if you loaded a nonstandard-sized icon via Load­Image, then presumably you want to use that nonstandard size. The question is one of those types of questions that fails to understand history, like asking why...

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