Switch between registry hives in Windows 10

When working on a product like Windows, it’s hard please everybody – a feature that will be well received by a certain consumer segment might be completely lost on or ignored by enterprises, etc. and the reality is that Microsoft despite being the software behemoth that it is, we end up having to make choices…


Windows 10 and File Explorer

It’s been a while since I posted anything so I figured I’d give you all, my good-looking audience, an update. My team and I have been pretty busy with File Explorer in Windows 10, and we are very excited about where we are headed and I personally am thrilled with the fact that we get…


Your app will crash if you try to invoke the setdesktopwallpaper verb

I was building a little app that would take a jpeg file and set it as the user’s wallpaper. I could use the SystemParametersInfo API but I wanted something a bit more flexible (e.g. SPI only supports BMP images). So I set out to do what most people have already tried (and failed) and attempted…


Adventures in reinterpret_cast

It’s like dialing the wrong number and then going on as if you’re talking to the person you intended to anyway Today I was helping one of my teammates debug an issue he had been looking at for a while. The symptom was a crash here: HRESULT CGadget::GetPropertyValue(PROPERTYID propertyId, VARIANT *pRetVal) {      switch (propertyId)…


Hilarious network configuration

I call this DNS art 🙂 Try running this from a cmd prompt: tracert -h 99 You’ll get something like this: <initial routing…> 13 * * * Request timed out. 14 150 ms 153 ms 144 ms Episode.IV [] 15 152 ms 147 ms 143 ms A.NEW.HOPE [] 16 146 ms 148 ms 147…


Why does explorer tell me the file was opened by the wrong program?

(or why Windows Audio is holding an Event Log file open) Today’s blog post will be about the “File in use” dialog. You may have encountered this dialog when trying to delete a file that you happened to have already open. In Windows Vista, all you got was “this file is open in another program”….


Why do .zip files from Mac OS show up as green/encrypted?

It’s kind of funny really. The ZIP specification mandates that a program/OS creating a zip archive include a tag informing about itself to the program trying to decompress the archive. This information is called “version made by”, and looks like this: 0 – MS-DOS and OS/2 (FAT / VFAT / FAT32 file systems) 1 -…


Remote Assistance and UAC prompts

Recently, I received some e-mail sent to one of our internal DLs describing an issue a customer is facing when using Remote Assistance: My customers engineer requests to connect to a user’s machine via remote assistance. The user accepts and the engineer requests to take control. The user ticks the box to allow the engineer…


Daylight savings time change for Chile

My team is responsible for issuing updates whenever a country decides to change their daylight savings start/end dates, or even time zone. Most recently, we’ve released an update for Chile. More information: http://blogs.technet.com/b/dst2007/archive/2012/03/07/hotfix-available-for-chile-dst-change.aspx  http://blogs.technet.com/b/latam/archive/2012/02/27/chile-dst-2012-fallback.aspx http://www.microsoft.com/chile/cambiodehora/   Also, my team is hiring! Senior Development Engineer


System Tray Notification area icons

If you’re a developer writing for Windows 7, you’ll probably have noticed that icons in the System Tray aren’t shown by default. Raymond Chen blogged about this recently, here and here. Notification icons are identified by a GUID, a Globally Unique IDentifier, which is just a big number. The idea is that each application that…