Points are earned by programs, not by shortcuts


The first subtlety of the basic principle that determines which programs show up in the Start menu is something you may not have noticed when I stated it:

Each time you launch a program, it "earns a point", and the longer you don't launch a program, the more points it loses.

Notice that the rule talks about programs, not shortcuts.

The "points" for a program are tallied from all the shortcuts that exist on the All Programs section of the Start menu. Many programs install multiple shortcuts, say one to the root of the All Programs menu and another to a deep folder. It doesn't matter how many shortcuts you have; if they all point to the same program, then it is that program that earns the points when you use any of the shortcuts.

One the Start menu decides that a program has earned enough points to make it to the front page, it then has to choose which shortcut to use to represent that program. This is an easy decision if there's only one shortcut. If there are multiple shortcuts to the same program, then the most-frequently-used shortcut is selected as the one to appear on the front page of the Start menu.

If you paid really close attention, you may have noticed a subtlety to this subtlety. We'll take that up next time.

Please hold off your questions until the (two-week!) series is complete, because I suspect a later entry will answer them. (This series is an expansion upon the TechNet column on the same topic. If you've read the TechNet article, then a lot of this series will be review.)*

Footnotes

*I wrote this last time, but that didn't stop people from asking questions anyway. I don't expect it'll work today either, but who knows, maybe you'll surprise me.

Comments (63)
  1. Stu says:

    So if the most frequently used shortcut is selected, why do I sometimes see shortcuts that I have never used?

    For instance, ReadMe shortcuts often get on the front page because I use notepad fairly frequently, but I have never opened the ReadMe that gets put on the front page.

    My guess would be that it will only select shortcuts from the start menu and I usually start notepad from the quick launch.

    [You don’t need to guess. It’s right there in the article. More proof that nobody reads my article before commenting. -Raymond]

    Maybe the start menu should pick the oldest shortcut (since that is most likely to be the actual application) or shortest command line (since that is least likely to be a document opener) when none of the start menu shortcuts have been used.

  2. Bob says:

    Wouldn’t surprise me if it went for the newest shortcut, actually. I’ve found that the DosBox.conf shortcut displaces Notepad almost immediately, even if I run vanilla Notepad a dozen times and open the DosBox config but once.

    [Again, proof that nobody reads the article before commenting. No surprise; it’s right there in the text. -Raymond]
  3. Is the subtlety to the subtlety the fact that if you launch an exe directly, without using a shortcut at all, it doesn’t count?

  4. Stu says:

    So, if I understand the logic puzzle in the article (“right there in the text”), programs do not start at zero (or the lowest possible value), but if never used, their score would be a function of their age.

    Thus, gaming the system could be fairly easy: find an application that is commonly used, but not usually started from the start menu (programs that install themselves in the quick launch are a reasonable bet) and then construct a command line that causes that application to start your application. (cmd.exe and internet explorer are both vulnerable to this; internet explorer is installed in quick launch by default).

    [The “right there in the text” isn’t a logic puzzle. It’s stated directly. You wrote, “My guess would be that it will only select shortcuts from the start menu…” The article says, “The ‘points’ for a program are tallied from all the shortcuts that exist on the All Programs section of the Start menu.” No guessing needed. I’m not sure what you’re getting at in your second paragraph. There is no logic puzzle in the article, or at least I didn’t intend there to be one. -Raymond]
  5. Stu says:

    Sorry to post twice consecutively, but the implications of allowing programs to attain “negitive” (less than they started with) scores brings some interesting points.

    If I suddenly found I had a use for some program that I have not used in a long time, this would mean that it would take a lot of uses to get the application on the front page.

    E.g. If I suddenly found myself using the windows calculator a lot (maybe my real calculator broke) then, because it has been there since Windows was installed (potentially years) then it would be a while until it got to the front page.

    Thus, the system is “biased” against older programs (although there must be some sort of minimum score.

    Also, if I have not used my PC in a while (but I have been logged in; maybe I’m using my PC as a server of some sort) then just installing a new application could potentially get it on the front page.

    Likewise if I only use one or two applications, leaving the rest of the front page as a “most recently installed” list.

    [Okay, this is going exactly where I didn’t want it to go — the details on how points are earned and lost. I said up front that I don’t want to discuss it, so please don’t discuss it. I think I may just cancel the rest of the series. -Raymond]
  6. Jeff says:

    You said: “the “points” for a program are tallied from all the shortcuts that exist on the All Programs section of the Start menu.”

    This can’t be quite right. I have a dozen manually created shortcuts on my desktop (all for the same program, but with different command line parameters). Because this is a program I wrote and I have not run the installer for it it does not appear in the All Programs section anywhere.

    The most frequently used of these dozen shortcuts is at the top of the “frequently used” list in the start menu, below the pinned shortcuts.

    My conclusion is that points are counted for shortcuts on the desktop too, not just the ones in the All Programs section.

    [You’re right; I had forgotten about the desktop. I don’t keep many program shortcuts on my desktop so I forgot about that. -Raymond]
  7. Jared says:

    I am not a computer programmer, but I am finding this series incredibly interesting just from the viewpoint of "How we managed to get this giant OS running smoothly." I’m interested to see how right-clicking on a shortcut on the "front page" and selecting "Remove from This List" will affect the points – if it does at all.

    Keep up the good work, Raymond!

  8. David Conrad says:

    One thing that has bothered me for a while is that programs started by SlickRun never end up on there. Of course, you might reasonably ask why I would want them to, if I normally start them from SlickRun, but I am forgetful, and inconsistent. Of course, if a third-party app like SlickRun could somehow "give points" to a program, via some API, say, then that would just invite gaming the system, so I can see why it is the way it is.

    Not to be discussing the point system, but I just wanted to mention my experience. It’s odd to look at the Start Menu and think, "I’ve run Vim a hundred times, why isn’t it there? Oh, yeah. Windows-Q V Enter".

    Sincerely,

    A Bear of Very Little Brain

  9. CGomez says:

    I would rather comments are just disabled rather than cancel the rest of the series, but alas we’ve been through that, so don’t consider that an official suggestion.

    I would like to read the rest of this.

    Anyways, I have noticed some strange behavior from time to time, but I am always surprised at how accurately XP and Vista just seem to know what applications I really do use from day to day.  Sure, I pin a few things, but I suspect that’s mostly because I have just set up the OS and haven’t let it work its magic yet.

    The only really strange thing is pretty much based on the subtleties you pointed out in this article.  I have inadvertently awarded too many points to shortcuts I have recently made because… well… I am testing them out.  As time goes by the system sees how I really work and adapts.

  10. Trevel says:

    … and of course, the moment I say this one of my desktop shortcuts turns up in the start menu.

  11. El Guapo says:

    I right click and select “Remove from this List” and it’s gone. Well, next time I run the program, there it is again!

    Extremely annoying. If I select “Remove from this list”, it means I don’t want it in the list &#*@%^#!!! Remove it!

    [“Remove from this list” removes it from the list. But some future action (like running the program) may add it back to the list. I think you’re confusing “Remove from this list” with “Never show on this list”. -Raymond]
  12. Bob says:

    Raymond, here’s what the text says: “If there are multiple shortcuts to the same program, then the most-frequently-used shortcut is selected as the one to appear on the front page of the Start menu.”

    I said “newest,” not most-frequently-used, in my comment. Did I misread? If so, I apologize.

    [Right, you said, “It wouldn’t surprise me if it went for the newest shortcut.” But the article stated that it’s the most frequently used shortcut, not the newest one, so I’m not sure what you were trying to say. It’s like responding to “In a vacuum, all objects fall at the same speed” with “It wouldn’t surprise me if heavier objects fell faster.” Are you saying that the original statement is incorrect? Are you speculating what life would be like in an alternate universe? -Raymond]
  13. Damn Raymond, your replies to comments are so brilliantly ascerbic that I get half my pleasure from your brilliant articles and the other half from seeing your replies to people who:

    a. don’t read the darn article

    b. nitpick to a /ridiculous/ degree

    c. try to point score in a very geeky way (no pun intended!)

    I bow down to your thermonuclear personality!

  14. Danni says:

    Raymond,

    How does insulting your readers on every article help this making a good blog? How does treating your readers like childeren ("I’ll just cancel my series") help anyone?

    Maybe it’s time to stop blogging, who knows.

    Danni

  15. Davy Landman says:

    Hi Raymond,

    Very interesting article series!

    Always wondered how that part worked..

    Maybe it’s an idea to link to your first post were you describe the rules for all the nitpickers? (http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2007/06/11/3215739.aspx)

    Looking forward to the rest of the series.

    Kind regards,

    Davy Landman

  16. Not cry baby Ray says:

    Please stop blogging Ray, nobody loves you.

  17. Please keep blogging Raymond. If you have to disable comments to keep your sanity, do so. But better would be to just ignore the morons and nitpickers (and I say this in full awareness that in my life I’ve been guilty of both).

    I read the full MSDN blogs feed – skim most of it but I keep it for the occasional gem from some blogger I hadn’t noticed before. I can count on the fingers of one… finger… the number of people on that feed whose posts are as consistently interesting as yours.

    For whatever that’s worth.

  18. Shana says:

    Hi Raymond,

    Please don’t cancel the rest of the series. I enjoy reading your blog, visiting almost every day.  Usually learn one or two new things a week that are either interesting and/or valuable.  I’ll keep skimming the comments and ignoring those who can’t be bothered to read the article or respond (or not respond) appropriately, assuming you continue to allow comments…

    Look forward to reading more from you.

    Shana

  19. Koro says:

    Raymond,

    I love your blog and read it everyday. I’m also very interested in this series on how the Start Menu works. Please don’t let a few nitpickers make you cancel it.

  20. Victor says:

    Raymond,

    Ignore the naysayers. If anything, I’d like to see you being more offensive to the dimwits who refuse to read a half-page article before commenting. Scare them back to the dirty basements they come from! And definitely continue this series…

  21. Mikkin says:

    Hey Danni,

    Raymond’s is a very popular blog, and a very fine one in my opinion. But I sense your question was not literally directed toward understanding what makes this such a good blog, so I will not elaborate.

    Maybe it’s time to stop reading it if it’s not your cup of tea.

  22. ring zero says:

    Raymond’s blog is informative as well as entertaining. It’s fun that he’s a cantankerous old grump. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly. On the other hand, don’t expect him to readily cop to his own mistakes (or his company’s). It’s all part of the charm. Everyone just relax and enjoy the show.

    [You’d be reluctant to post about your mistakes, too, if each time you did, you got slashdotted. -Raymond]
  23. Cooney says:

    [“Remove from this list” removes it from the list. But some future action (like running the program) may add it back to the list. I think you’re confusing “Remove from this list” with “Never show on this list”. -Raymond]

    Presumably, the intent is to keep it off the list. If you have to get legalistic in your interpretation of the UI, perhaps the UI could stand an upgrade, like a checkbox that says “and don’t come back” to make it clear that this is a temporary thing unless you make it otherwise.

    [Also known as “Let’s solve a UI problem by adding another dialog box.” Great. There’s a funny story behind “Remove from this list” which I will not tell here because I don’t want to get slashdotted. -Raymond]
  24. jon says:

    Raymond, I enjoy your blog, and I bought your book (2 copies actually), but I’m seriously considering stopping reading it because of your continually rude and aggressive attitude to your readers. This petulant "If you say the wrong thing or ask the wrong question I’m just going to stop blogging so there!" attitude you have is very childish. Maybe you should stop blogging for a while if a perfectly normal discussion amongst your readers gets you so worked up.

  25. Weiguo says:

    I’m not sure how the leap in logic is made from "I perceive Raymond as being rude to his readers" to "Raymond should stop blogging".  It’s as if you believe he has us all locked up in a box labelled "readers".

    it’s your choice to be a reader of this ‘blog.  If you really find the writing rude — and if you do, I suggest you get a job where you aren’t coddled all the time — then why choose to endure such punishment as "recreation", which is what reading a ‘blog should be?

    but I suppose it’s easier to ask someone else to solve your problems for you, which, come to think of it, is the exact opposite of what most ‘blog entries here are doing.

  26. James says:

    It may be helpful for readers to note that the annoying comments to Raymond’s blog come from people who are trying (and failing) to show off how smart they are, by nitpicking and such.

    Good examples of these are the repeated "asterisk vs. dagger" comments. Anyone who has read a book or paper with unnumbered footnotes knows the rule about asterisks and daggers, but some people felt obligated to keep bringing the rule up.

    Worse, anyone who uses daggers in place of asterisks clearly knows the rule–otherwise he would’t know to use daggers! Further, there was an obvious reason why Raymond would avoid asterisks.

    But this trivial matter took up, what, 10-15 comments over a week or two? All for some people to show off their own ignorance, over and over. (My favorite, for sheer gall and stupidity, was the commenter who showed Raymond’s blog to his English teacher as an example of formal writing.)

    This isn’t Slashdot, and I suspect the other readers dislike such comments almost as much as Raymond does. If "rude and aggressive" replies cut down on these comments then I’m in favor of them.

  27. Harry Conlon says:

    I vote for you to stop blogging rather than continue your rude and patronizing behavior. I am appalled at how you clearly feel that insulting your readers is acceptable.

    Yes, you are clever and experienced. It’s sad to see that you feel this means you should be supercilious and sneering.

    Yes, it’s your blog, and I don’t need to read – but unfortunately I fear this type of attitude is shared and maybe even encouraged throughout your company. For Microsoft’s sake, I truly hope not.

  28. BA says:

    I read Raymond’s blog every day and he has never been rude to me in a blog post. As a matter of fact, I find the Nitpicker’s Corner and Footnotes sections to be highly entertaining and witty.

    Of course, I’m not an ass who feels the need to nitpick on some esoteric detail to score a point on Microsoft, so I don’t really read those portions of his post as directed towards me.

    BTW, Raymond, I have your book saved in my Amazon shopping cart (along with about 35 others) and I’m looking forward to reading it.+(pretend it’s a dagger)

    And I’ll make a confession, FreeCell is the current reigning champ in my Start Menu.

    +Off Topic (and possibly against the TOS, but I’ll risk it): I’m going to be in Seattle in late August and I was wondering if you would sign a copy of your book if I were to bring it by some mutually agreed upon location at some mutually agreed upon time (5 minutes in the Microsoft lobby so I could shake your hand, thank you in person, get your autograph and a picture would be more than enough).

    But if the answer is "No", I’d still respect you in the morning.

  29. Jackson says:

    OMG Raymond, your reply to Bob’s comment was so brilliant. Itself is more interesting to read than the article.

  30. Austin says:

    How about instead of Raymond stop blogging, readers RTFP before they comment?  His post was less than 5 paragraphs, yet obviously that is beyond the comprehension level of some people here.  Imagine, if this was a class, and after everything Raymond says, a student asks a question about something Raymond just answered.  It’d get annoying, PDQ.  And, Raymond isn’t getting paid for all of the effort he puts in here.

    If you don’t want to bother to read his posts, why are you here?  Go back to /. or FARK where your dumbassness is the norm.

    BTW, thanks to those who ruined the Bob stories (Cooney, et al)

  31. Trevel says:

    But it would seem that *solely* desktop links aren’t considered for inclusion in the start menu — when deciding which link to use it seems to be pure start menu. I use a lot of desktop links and they haven’t shown up in the start menu (that I’m aware of, at least). And I’m okay with that, on the grounds that I start them from the desktop; they don’t need primary billing in the Start Menu because that’s not where I go to for them.

  32. Merus says:

    I love all the people that are insulted – <i>insulted</i> – that Raymond doesn’t want to have the specifics of the system discussed because of the perfectly rational and oft-validated fear that if the details get out, someone will try to game them to make their program get at the top of the Start menu.

    And someone will.

    And we all know they will.

    And if the details become clear, someone is going to have to change them, as has been implied. That someone may well be Raymond. Better to not say things than to say things that get Slashdot thrown in and everyone trying to work out how the system works so they can game it and knock the programs that people ACTUALLY care about off the Start Menu.

    And how many nerds really suffer fools gladly? If you’re a moron, surely you should know as soon as possible so you can correct that behaviour and we can get onto what’s important. If talking about a topic is nothing but trouble, surely it’s best to alert people to the fact that it’s too much trouble to write about. This isn’t Wonkette or something, it’s not an emotional bludgeon.

  33. Matt says:

    I don’t mind Raymond being rude and pig headed when he’s right but sometimes (including the first comments here) he’s patently wrong.

    For example:

    1) Use “Command Prompt” a lot

    2) It’s promoted to the Start Menu front page

    3) Install Visual Studio

    4) “Command Prompt” on the front page becomes, and remains “Visual Studio 2005 Command Prompt” despite that shortcut never being used

    It’s not a case of me or the first commenter not reading the article – it’s a case of Windows behaving in a way that Raymond says it shouldn’t.

    We’re opening a conversation here. Raymond could say we’ve hit an edge case or that there are subtleties to the algorithm he’s not willing or able to discuss or that he can’t explain that behaviour.

    Instead he’s attacked the commenter for not reading the article.

    [Maybe Visual Studio ran it as part of its setup when it was done – many programs do this when their setup is complete. I have no other explanation. Maybe it’s a bug. -Raymond]
  34. J says:

    "(My favorite, for sheer gall and stupidity, was the commenter who showed Raymond’s blog to his English teacher as an example of formal writing.)"

    Hah, come on, that was clearly flamebait.  "Trolling for a response" is what we call that on our side of the fence.  "Looking for a sucker" is what they’d call it on theirs.

    "The threatening to stop the series is probably useless… It most likely frustrates the readers that do care and encourages the readers that do not to pursue their unwanted actions."

    The threat to cancel a series is complete bs.  If we were in the same room as the griefers, the rest of us could use physical coercion to make them stop.  But we’re on the internet.  If one person wants to grief this blog, there’s nothing any of the rest of us can do about it.  And it’s pretty obvious that there are people griefing the blog (the asterisks and daggers discussion, for instance).

  35. ~ /. says:

    I can’t believe Raymond has to keep repeating himself. If you come to the party, show a little consideration for your host.

  36. Bob says:

    Sorry for setting you off there, Raymond. My initial post was intended to convey that I thought there were additional subtleties to the rule, based on some half-remembered personal experience. I think my fundamental source of confusion probably lay with the expiration rules. When I tried reproducing the situation on a new machine, Notepad never switched over to the other shortcut unless Notepad had fallen off the Start menu previously due to lack of use.

    Which in retrospect makes sense; why drag around use counts for something you haven’t touched in quite a while?

  37. Dean Harding says:

    Yes, it’s your blog, and I don’t need to read – but unfortunately

    I fear this type of attitude is shared and maybe even encouraged

    throughout your company.

    So, what, forcing Raymond to stop blogging would be "punishment" to stop this attitude (which you don’t even know exists) spreading inside Microsoft? Do you know how silly that sounds?

    You even say that you don’t need to read the blog… So don’t. Nobody is going to miss you — the only person here who’d be missed if they went away is Raymond.

    And maybe Norman, but that’s a whole other story :p~

  38. mike says:

    > [Also known as “Let’s solve a UI

    > problem by adding another dialog

    > box.” Great. There’s a funny story

    > behind “Remove from this list” which

    > I will not tell here because I don’t

    > want to get slashdotted. -Raymond]

    cool, thanks for antagonising us more.

    [I’ll stop if you do. (If you meet me in person, you can ask me to tell this and other “deleted” stories.) -Raymond]
  39. mike says:

    > BTW, thanks to those who ruined the

    > Bob stories (Cooney, et al)

    the only person who ‘ruined’ the bob stories was Raymond.

    i love his posts, don’t get me wrong, but pretending that someone else ‘made’ him do it is crazy. this is the internet. and this is, for now, a public forum. you can’t blame cooney for wanting to talk about it. he was just curious. should curiousness be stopped just because Raymond wants it? no.

    [The HR department said I had to delete the comments since they violated company policy (and I was responsible for them), and that convinced me not to expose myself to similar risk in the future. I dunno about you, but I don’t want to be fired for failing to delete a comment somebody posted to my blog. -Raymond]
  40. Victor says:

    You guys have the emotional maturity of fifth graders. Give Raymond a break, and go back to Slashdot where the moderation system ensures that normal people rarely have to read your drivel.

  41. Joe Ranieri says:

    Please disable comments if that’s what it takes for you to be able to blog. It’s good material and a shame people are being retarded about it.

  42. Andrew says:

    Just turn off comments? Turn them back on when you’re finished the series? (if at all).

    And just ignore/delete the idiots. A smarter commenter will likely come along and explain things, if you let them. I’d avoid the embedded replies, too.

    The constant fighting with nitpickers really brings down the quality of your work (which is otherwise quite awesome).

  43. Andrew says:

    Another alternative:

    Just delete any comments you don’t like and replace them with (nice red text): "comment deleted: please hold your questions until the end".

    That’d probably work well for articles where you explicitly say "don’t ask about Bob" or "a later entry will answer them".

    That might give the comment-clowns a hint ;)

  44. Norman Diamond says:

    > The “points” for a program are tallied from

    > all the shortcuts that exist on the All

    > Programs section of the Start menu.

    I read that.

    > You don’t need to guess. It’s right there in

    > the article. More proof that nobody reads my

    > article before commenting.

    I think you didn’t read Stu’s question:

    >> My guess would be that it will only select

    >> shortcuts from the start menu and I usually

    >> start notepad from the quick launch.

    You did read a later question though, thank you.

    > You’re right; I had forgotten about the

    > desktop.

    Same for the Quick Launch shortcuts then, right?  By the way, on computers that I use frequently, the Quick Launch bar contains shortcuts that I want it to contain.  (So does my desktop but the shortcuts there aren’t usually visible.)

    [As far as I’m aware, the Quick Launch shortcuts are not candidates for the Start menu. -Raymond]
  45. Merus says:

    "(If you meet me in person, you can ask me to tell this and other "deleted" stories.)"

    Maybe you could put them in the next book?

  46. Miral says:

    "

    It’s not a case of me or the first commenter not reading the article – it’s a case of Windows behaving in a way that Raymond says it shouldn’t.

    […]

    [Maybe Visual Studio ran it as part of its setup when it was done – many programs do this when their setup is complete. I have no other explanation. Maybe it’s a bug. -Raymond]

    "

    The same is true of the DosBox config file thing that was mentioned in #2.  I’ve had that one happen to me as well, and I’m absolutely certain that I never ran it, nor did any setup programs — since it loads the config file in Notepad and that would have been blindingly obvious had it ever run.  Yet repeated use of Notepad causes the DosBox config shortcut to be promoted to the start menu panel.

  47. mike says:

    not to state the obvious but I’m sure Raymond is well aware of alternate ways to solve the commenting ‘problem’.

    i think turning off comments is not great because there is a lot of value in the following discussion of these articles.

    [I’ll stop if you do. (If you meet me in

    person, you can ask me to tell this and other

    "deleted" stories.) -Raymond]

    well okay, but i’ll never meet you in person unless you happen to come to melbourne. but i’m not antagonising you. i’m just happily reading the articles.

  48. Drak says:

    [As far as I’m aware, the Quick Launch shortcuts are not candidates for the Start menu. -Raymond]

    This would be considered normal by me, if you can open the start menu, you can (probably) also click on your quicklaunch icons, so they would not need to be in the start menu. Good design, I’d say.

  49. alex.r. says:

    The threatening to stop the series is probably useless… It most likely frustrates the readers that do care and encourages the readers that do not to pursue their unwanted actions.

    And Stu’s reply was not ‘more proof that nobody reads your article’. It was more proof that some people do not read your posts carefully… which is expected, given the fact that your readership is rather large and composed of *human* readers.

    Either way, it is an interesting series and I do hope it continues. It never occurred to me the number of heuristics that are involved in something that seems to behave so naturally.

  50. Chris Oldwood says:

    The biggest thing I’ve got from this blog (apart for lots of useful knowledge about Windows) is the realisation that I need to read documentation far more carefully.

    I find Raymond’s stubbornness to not repeat himself quite enlightening. I have been guilty so many times of glossing over API/standards documentation and making poor assumptions instead of carefully reading it and more importantly actually bothering to think about it first…

    Long may this blog continue.

  51. Xavi says:

    [Again, proof that nobody reads the article before commenting. No surprise; it’s right there in the text. -Raymond]

    Nobody? What makes you think so? Some do.

    Your blog is realy good and I regularly take a look at it, as many others do.

    I wonder how long it takes until you accept the fact that some commenters to not share the same level of accuracy and diligence as you do.

    Be as precise and specific as you can, for some reasons, some don’t value it (lazines, lack of IQ,…)

    No matter whether its your nicely implemented API, your Blog, or Poker rules.

    Man… get a thicker skin and help this folks to understand your message. Your pointy asnwers ruin this blog.

  52. Jonty says:

    I’m with Markus. Assuming that’s not going to happen, can we move on to the next step in the certain knowledge that some people will nitpick based on nothing but the voices in their head while most (including me) will value an engaging and really quite rare insight into how Windows is the way it is?

  53. David Walker says:

    "[Okay, this is going exactly where I didn’t want it to go — the details on how points are earned and lost. I said up front that I don’t want to discuss it, so please don’t discuss it. I think I may just cancel the rest of the series. -Raymond]"

    You could post the whole two-week series at once!

    David

  54. Raymond,

    I don’t usually comment on this blog since many of the topics are outside of my area of expertise.  But since the comments on this post have degenerated into "stop blogging"/"keep blogging" I thought I’d chime in to say please keep blogging.  Your blog is informative and entertaining.  Remember when reading the comments that customers (in your case, the readers) are much more likely to complain than to praise.  Keep up the good work.

  55. Bob says:

    Matt, Miral: Thanks for corroborating. I may be an idiot at times, but at least I’m not crazy!

  56. Medinoc says:

    Hello,

    As far as I can see, there are two main questions here in the comments:

    A) How do programs learn points ?

    -> We don’t want to know, because people would cheat about it.

    B) When a program is added to the start menu, which shortcut is chosen ?

    -> This one seems to be quite an issue.

    Since Raymond does not wish to answer question A, for perfectly legit reasons (for me at least), if enforcing this restriction requires either stopping the series or disabling comments, I’d choose disabling comments. This blog is awesome.

  57. Markus says:

    Hello Raymond,

    I hardly ever comment (maybe a couple times in several years now), but I really enjoy your stories, and sometimes some of the comments as well. While there are some smart people in the comments that understand common courtesy and how stuff works, there are also other types…

    If the choice is between canceling a series, or temporarily deactivating the comments for the run of a series, personally I’d much prefer it, to deactivate the comments for the run of the series. (Yes, I’d miss the smarter commenters, but it’s still a positive trade-off).

    Thanks for all your blogging. Don’t get yurself pulled down by the apparent stupidity or "misunderstandings" *winkwink* by certain people. Keep up the good work.

  58. Mr. Potter says:

    "Please keep blogging Raymond. If you have to disable comments to keep your sanity, do so."

    That would be like blogging in a vacuum (where it wouldn’t surprise me if heavier posts fell faster.)

  59. Rick C says:

    Harry Conlon, I vote that you and other smarmy, insulting, nitpicking readers quit reading Raymond’s blog so the rest of us who actually want to hear what he has to say don’t get cut off.

  60. Weiguo says:

    Xavi — as I alluded to earlier, spoonfeeding the readers is the exact opposite of "understanding [Raymond]’s message".  If you read even a few of his (technical) posts, you’ll notice that they all share one theme — one should use all the tools at their disposal (MSDN, psychic debugging, existing knowledge, their own brain) to solve their problems, instead of just asking others as their first attempt.

  61. Mike K says:

    What about programs that you can set to take command line parameters?  For instance, on my desktop, I have two shortcuts to the Remote Desktop Client (mstsc.exe), one with the /console switch, one without.  To me, they’re different programs (that is, they do different things), but they often replace each other on my Start Menus front page.

    [Points are earned by programs, not by shortcuts.

    The “points” for a program are tallied from all the shortcuts that exist on the All Programs section of the Start menu (and the desktop). Many programs install multiple shortcuts, say one to the root of the All Programs menu and another to a deep folder. It doesn’t matter how many shortcuts you have; if they all point to the same program, then it is that program that earns the points when you use any of the shortcuts.

    One the Start menu decides that a program has earned enough points to make it to the front page, it then has to choose which shortcut to use to represent that program. This is an easy decision if there’s only one shortcut. If there are multiple shortcuts to the same program, then the most-frequently-used shortcut is selected as the one to appear on the front page of the Start menu. -Raymond]

  62. Using attributes of the shortcut itself to influence its suitability.

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