What were some of the abandoned features of Explorer back in its prototype days?

Raymond Chen

Chris asked for some stories about what Explorer was like in the early days. Well, one thing is that the original name of Explorer was Cabinet, continuing the folder/document metaphor by taking all your folders and documents and putting them inside a virtual filing cabinet. (Cabinet was viewed as an update to the Windows 3.1 File Manager program, whose icon as we all know was a filing cabinet.) Some remnants of this old name can be found in places like the CABINETSTATE structure. (Note that this old sense of Cabinet is unrelated to the CAB file format, which is also called Cabinet.) In the early versions of Cabinet, shortcuts were indicated not by a little arrow overlay but by appending >> to the end of the name. For example, you might see an icon on the desktop called My Computer>>. The first icon in each folder was a special icon that consisted of an upward-pointing arrow with the name Up One Folder. This was really just a leaky abstraction, exposing the .. directory entry as if it were a real directory.

We saw what the original Start menu and taskbar looked like some time ago, back before it was a taskbar, and also saw the precursor to the Start menu.


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