The Old New Thing

A program for my nieces: The ABCs, part 3

One problem I discovered when my nieces ran my initial ABC program was that they had a habit of holding down a key, thereby triggering autorepeat. I had instructed them not to mash the keyboard but rather to press only one key at a time, and while they were good at adhering to the "one key at a time" rule, they also interpreted it as "type ...
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Nasty gotcha: STGM_READ | STGM_WRITE does not grant read/write access

You might think that if you want to get read/write access, you could pass STGM_READ | STGM_WRITE. You would be wrong. You have to pass STGM_READ­WRITE. The three flags STGM_READ, STGM_WRITE, and STGM_READ­WRITE are mutually exclusive. If you try to combine them, you get a weird mess. In particular, since the numerical value of ...
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If you're not using the command line interpreter, then the command line interpreter metacharacters mean nothing

A customer observed that the parameters passed to Create­Process were not being interpreted correctly. The process is created successfully, but it prints the message ERROR: The system was unable to find the specified registry key or value.. Why aren't the parameters being parsed correctly by Create­Process? They work fine if I ...
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Why is LOCALE_SDURATION so dorky-looking?

For formatting time spans, you can use the LOCALE_SDURATION format string, but the result is a dorky hh:mm:ss.ffff format. Why isn't there a LOCALE_SLONG­DURATION format that is fancier like hh hours, mm minutes, and ss.ffff seconds? You have the complexities of natural language to thank. In the general case, there is not enough ...

Microspeak: Landing, especially the heated kind

Work on Windows occurs in several different branches of the source code, and changes in one branch propagate to other branches. When talking about a feature or other task becoming visible in a branch, the preferred jargon word at Microsoft is landing. In its purest form: We expect the feature to land in the trunk early next week. The term...

Watch out for those out-of-control Canadian tour buses

I don't remember the details, but I dreamed about a bunch of things, including careening through Canada on a tour bus trying to catch a ferry while people worried about their cell phone roaming charges, an episode of Friends shot in the style of ER, and one of my friends in an orange jumpsuit sneaking around...

A program for my nieces: The ABCs, part 2, choosing a font

I added a feature to my ABC program that it turns out I never actually used: Change the font. I added this in case my nieces were somehow unhappy with the font I chose, and this was a little escape hatch to let me select a different one. The real work happens in the Choose­Font function. All I have to do is call it. I tell the ...
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If you want to track whether the current thread owns a critical section, you can use the critical section itself to protect it

You may find yourself in the situation where you want to keep track of the owner of a critical section. This is usually for debugging or diagnostic purposes. For example, a particular function may have as a prerequisite that a particular critical section is held, and you want to assert this so that you can catch the problem when running the ...
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Where is this CRC that is allegedly invalid on my hard drive?

If you're unlucky, your I/O operation will fail with ERROR_CRC, whose description is "Data error (cyclic redundancy check)." Where does NTFS keep this CRC, what is it checking, and how can you access the value to try to repair the data? Actually, NTFS does none of that stuff. The CRC error you're getting is coming from the hard drive itself. ...

Why is the syntax for touching a file from the command prompt so strange?

The magic incantation for updating the last-modified date on a file is What strange syntax! What's with the plus sign and the commas, anyway? The formal syntax is the much more straightforward This means to start with the file A, then append the files B, C, and D, treating them all as binary files. If you omit the B+C+D part, then ...

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