Raymond Chen

Raymond has been involved in the evolution of Windows for more than 30 years. In 2003, he began a Web site known as The Old New Thing which has grown in popularity far beyond his wildest imagination, a development which still gives him the heebie-jeebies. The Web site spawned a book, coincidentally also titled The Old New Thing (Addison Wesley 2007). He occasionally appears on the Windows Dev Docs Twitter account to tell stories which convey no useful information.

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Why isn't Fast User Switching enabled on domains?

Windows XP added a new feature called Fast User Switching which lets you switch between users without having to log off. But this feature is disabled if your computer is joined to a domain. Why? There were several reasons, none of them individually insurmountable, but they added up to quite a lot of work for something IT administrators weren...

What's the deal with the System Volume Information folder?

In the root of every drive is a folder called "System Volume Information". If your drive is NTFS, the permissions on the folder are set so not even administrators can get in there. What's the big secret? The folder contains information that casual interference could cause problems with proper system functioning. Here are some of the things...

Notepad's geek options require Word Wrap be disabled

If you want to use the "Go To" or "Status Bar" options, you have to turn off word warp first. (Word wrap messes with line breaks...

How can I tell if I have the 64-bit edition of Windows?

Answer: Your wallet is empty. Seriously, there is no way you bought an Itanium by mistake. They are expensive machines: The entry-level workstation available from HP (who co-developed the Itanium with Intel) goes for over $3000 and the entry-level server is over $13,000. And in addition to paying for the computer itself, you probably had to ...

Make sure the buttons match the question

When your program displays a dialog box with buttons, please make the buttons match the text. Consider this dialog, which appears after you install patches from Windows Update: (image) It asks a yes/no question, but the options are "OK" and "Cancel". Either the buttons...
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Another favorite from the Grauniad

The world: a primer Great Britain Small American dependency located approximately 5,000 miles outside Galveston, Texas...

More stories of bad hardware

My favorite bad CD-ROM drive from Windows 95 was one where the manufacturer cut a corner to save probably twenty-five cents. The specification for CD-ROM controllers indicates that each can host up to four CD-ROM drives. When you talk to the card, you specify which drive you wish to communicate with. The manufacturer of a certain brand of ...

Stay healthy: Drink Guinness

Flavenoids in Guinness combat fatty deposits in arteries. Note, however that the beer was consumed by being "fed ... via tubes directly into their stomachs." On the other hand, a friend of mine points out, "I thought a tube leading directly to the stomach was also called the esophagus. That's my ...

Preventing edit control text from being autoselected in a dialog box

By default, when the user TABs to an edit control in a dialog box, the entire contents of the edit control are autoselected. This occurs because the edit control responds with the flag in response to the message. To prevent it from happening, remove that flag. All this subclass procedure does is remove the flag from the return value of ...
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British newspapers are much more fun to read

You can always count on The Register for a snarky take on the day's technology news. Today's favorite is this "review" of the nTAG, which ends with Well, we think that any sane person would have to held at gunpoint to induce them to carry an electronic device which, besides containing personal or...