At last you can turn off the USB 2.0 balloon


One of the more annoying messages in Windows XP¹ is the "This USB device can perform faster" balloon that appears whenever you plug in a USB 2.0-capable device into a USB 1.0 port. When I click on that balooon, I get a message that says, "Sorry, you don't have any USB 2.0 ports. You'll have to install one to be able to take full advantage of this device."²

Yeah, that's really nice, but one of my machines is a laptop, so its USB ports can't be upgraded. And my desktop computer at the time had an older motherboard that predated USB 2.0. The really annoying part was that there was no way to turn off the balloon. "Yes, I know I inserted the device into a USB 1.0 port, but this computer doesn't have any USB 2.0 ports, so stop bugging me already."

It actually got the point that I went out and bought a USB 2.0 adapter card just to shut up the stupid balloon.³

Thank goodness that in Windows Vista, the USB folks realized how annoying it is to show a balloon that yells at you for something you can't do anything about, and they added a way to disable the pop-up.

Nitpicker's Corner

¹Although this statement takes the grammatical form of a statement of fact, it is actually a statement of opinion. Other people may legitimately disagree with this opinion. Whether the message is in fact "one of the more annoying messages in Windows XP" is irrelevant to the story; the employment of this statement of opinion is rhetorical and serves a useful storytelling purpose, namely to serve as an interesting introduction and to establish a context for elaboration. It does not establish the official position of Microsoft Corporation regarding how annoying that message is.

²That is not literally what the message says, but the underlying meaning is comparable. The message text has been paraphrased for rhetorical purposes (to create a more informal tone) and for time-saving purposes (to save me the trouble of having to re-create the message and carefully transcribe the message word-for-word).

³Again, the use of the word "stupid" here is rhetorical, indicating my level of frustration and not attempting to establish the official Microsoft position on the intelligence of the balloon or the people responsible for it.

Comments (84)
  1. Tom says:

    Thanks, Raymond.  Your footnotes made my morning coffee come out my nose.

  2. Your blog has always been worth reading for being informative and insightful. But it’s now reached the point where it’s ALSO worth reading JUST for the Nitpicker’s Corner. Fantastic work.

    "The official Microsoft position on the intelligence of the balloon" – classic.

  3. Rob Taylor says:

    You can turn off all of the balloon tips in WinXP either through Group Policy or via the XP power toy TweakUI. Although this approach turns off all of the balloon tips and not just individual messages (but then that was what I was after anyway!).

  4. Steve Hazel says:

    oh man.  you got me all worked up.  and then you mentioned vista…

    that’s so cold.

    Well, time to pop the usb stick into the sooooo lame work pc and see that RASSIN FRASSIN BRASSIN balloon again…

  5. SM says:

    I think the Official Position of Microsoft, if I remember correctly is that the most annoying balloon is the one that says, "There are unused icons on your desktop."

  6. At this rate, we’ll soon have only the nitpicks and no post! :)

  7. PinkDuck says:

    I hope someone will see sense and introduce a registry tweak in XP SP3 that will allow this evil balloon to be banished forevermore.

  8. ++ on the nitpicker’s corner. You’ll probably be able to get a book out of just those if things keep going like this.

    And I for one, would buy it.

  9. Robert says:

    On WinXP there is an option "Don’t show USB errors" for the USB host controller in the Device Manager. This prevents the balloons (and probably more useful messages as well).

  10. DriverDude says:

    Um, who would run Vista on an old machine that only has USB 1.1 ports? Virtual PC doesn’t count. :-)

    But I agree, it is very nice to have a way to disable those kinds of "helpful" messages.

  11. Leo Davidson says:

    SM, you can disable the check which triggers the "unused icons on your desktop" message so it should only be annoying once per Windows install (or per user, perhaps).

  12. David says:

    Well, it actually is a helpful message; the problem is an oversimplified implementation.  

    The message should only be displayed if the following are all true:

    1) Only if there actually are USB 2.0 ports present on the system.  

    2) Only if the USB device being plugged in would actually benefit from 2.0. It probably should be limited to USB Storage Class devices. Keyboards and mice need not apply.

    3) Only twice per USB device.  If I’ve decided to ignore the message, I don’t need to be reminded every time.

  13. The Nitpicker’s Corner might be the funniest thing I read every day now.

  14. David says:

    Here’s the link to go with Robert’s comment above:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/835967

  15. Ulric says:

    outch! "Robert" had the fix all along? :D

  16. JS says:

    You should change your blog’s name to "Nitpicker’s Corner". Just has a nice ring to it, I think.

  17. C++ Guy says:

    Now, is there a way to shut up the "There are unused icons on your desktop…" balloon.

    My blood pressure spikes everytime I see it.

  18. Cody says:

    Today’s post has defintely converted me from "I’d rather there not be a nitpicker’s corner" to "the nitpicker’s corner is so funny I can’t imagine the blog without it."

  19. Mikkin says:

    I tend to feel, as a matter of personal taste, that such rhetorical devices are indeed useful and interesting. But while I may know what I like, I do not feel qualified to judge such matters without some authoritative guidance. Can I cite this as the official position of Microsoft Corporation on literary style?

  20. C# Guy says:

    C++ Guy,

    Right-click on desktop to bring up the display menu, select "Desktop" tab, click "Customize Desktop" button, unselect "Run Desktop Cleanup every 60 Days".

  21. A_me! says:

    Turning off the ‘Unused Icons’ message is easy, under display properties, desktop tab, customize the desktop and turn off the ‘run desktop cleanup wizard every 60 days’ checkbox.

  22. Dan says:

    C++ Guy: I think it’s in the desktop properties dialog, in the subdialog where you can change the icons of the desktop system folders… there should be a checkbox to disable the cleanup wizard.

  23. Dan says:

    David: According to the linked KB article, #2 is already taken into account… so if you plug a device made for USB 1.1 in it won’t trigger the balloon (any device made for USB 2.0 though, ev en a keyboard or mouse, will.  So #2 is sorta halfway there already).

  24. Rutger says:

    Did you ever stop to think that plugging USB 2.0 in this way will definitely help sales :). they got you with their marketing message :) they sold one just so you will not see the error anymore, you should go out and buy one for the laptop as well, I assume that it has a cardbus interface, you can get a cb<->USB 2.0 connector.


    Yes please read this comment as -trying to be funny- (that’s what the smileys are for), darn this nitpicking is getting to me….

  25. dalek9 says:

    David says

    {QUOTE}

    Well, it … implementation.  

    The message should only be displayed if the following are all true:

    1) Only if there actually are USB 2.0 ports present on the system.  

    2) Only if the USB device being plugged in would actually benefit from 2.0. It probably should be limited to USB Storage Class devices. Keyboards and mice need not apply.

    3) Only twice per USB device.  If I’ve decided to ignore the message, I don’t need to be reminded every time.

    {ENDQUOTE}

    I think 2 and 3 are valid points, however most people are not even aware that ther are multiple USB versions. So the message probably is for people who plugin their new USB device advertised as being capable of "ludicrous speed"

    and then it takes 50 minutes to transfer a picture. So I think 1 should be:

    1. Only if the system is capable of being upgraded.

    PS: You CAN upgrade a laptop if it has PCMCIA slot(s)

  26. Cooney says:

    Now if there were only a way to make XP shut up about my network – when I connect via wifi, it pops up a baloon every 5 minutes to annoy me about examining the cert used by the connection.

  27. Tony says:

    Nitpicking the nitpicking footnote #2 (since nitpicking the nitpicks has apparently become the latest fashion around here):

    You can avoid requiring this footnote simply by omitting the quotation marks. Quotation marks imply that you are quoting something verbatim. If you are merely paraphrasing, then it’s gramatically correct to omit the quotation marks completely.

  28. Grammar Nazi says:

    "¹Although this statement takes the grammatical form of a statement of fact, it is actually a statement of opinion."

    Declarative statements are all grammatically the same, whether fact, opinion, or lies.

  29. MH says:

    Why can’t they fix this on Windows XP with a patch? It would be great to have this "enhancement".

  30. mccoyn says:

    This is fun.  I already have to disable network update baloons that popup every time the WiFi goes in and out.  Change the display settings so that desktop cleanup doesn’t happen every now and then, and now the USB thing.  It sure would be nice if these things were all gathered into one place where I could check off the ones I don’t want to see anymore.

    I wish the on topic posts outnumbered the nitpick posts.

  31. Charles Lewinton says:

    I am sorry but I have to disagree with many people commenting here, I am sick of the Nitpicker’s Corner. I read this blog because it gives a fascinating incite into Microsoft and has some excellent details on parts of Microsoft products that would otherwise not be publicly know. I am sick of the Nitpicker’s Corner as I find it overly sarcastic, repetitive and pointless.

  32. Dan Thomas says:

    Add me to the list of people who can’t wait to see the next Nitpicker’s Corner!

    Since everyone here is being so helpful, how do you turn off the balloon that tells you something’s been sent to a network printer? I got rid of it on my old machine, but I got a new one, and of course I didn’t keep the instructions. I promise to keep them this time…

  33. Dan Thomas says:

    "I am sick of the Nitpicker’s Corner as I find it overly sarcastic, repetitive and pointless."

    Um, then, don’t read it. It’s labeled pretty clearly, and should be easy to avoid.

  34. poochner says:

    Charles, you already have wetware for deleting the Nitpickers’ Corner from your visual field.  It’s accessed in the same fashion as the web ad suppressor in the visual cortex. Simply target the area from the final bolded section head to the end of the first box.  It’s that easy.

  35. Gwyn says:

    <i>SM

    I think the Official Position of Microsoft, if I remember correctly is that the most annoying balloon is the one that says, "There are unused icons on your desktop."</i>

    I think I’m alone here in saying I actually like that one and use it to clean unused icons from my desktop all the time.

  36. Me says:

    Nitpicker’s corner is NOT funny.  How much deader can the horse get?

  37. mccoyn says:

    The real annoying thing about the nitpickers corner is the ammount of off-topic comments it generates.  To the point where the topic becomes the nitpickers corner.

  38. J says:

    “Um, then, don’t read it. It’s labeled pretty clearly, and should be easy to avoid.”

    Except then you go into the comments and see 500 posts about Nitpicker’s Corner and 10 posts related to the topic.  I thought Raymond was trying to reduce the noise here, but he’s just made it worse.

    [It’s not about reducing the noise any more. It’s about reducing the frequency with which my statements are misinterpreted, since people seem to do that a lot around here. -Raymond]
  39. Tomer Chachamu says:

    S

    Agree with http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2007/08/21/4486198.aspx#4498871 I’m afraid.

    Maybe people can agree to start their comments with a paragraph saying S, N or O. (Story, Nitpicking and Off-topic). Then a greasemonkey script or a proxy can cut out the irrelevant comments.

    I can dream… (of Raymond having the time, ability and inclination to fix blogs.msdn.com)

  40. Cooney says:

    [ It’s about reducing the frequency with which my statements are misinterpreted, since people seem to do that a lot around here. -Raymond]

    Welcome to the world.

  41. Simon Howard says:

    They added "a way to disable it"?  Why not just remove it altogether?

  42. w2k says:

    If you want to get rid of winxp, install w2k instead of vista, it’s faster, at least on a usb 1.1-computers.

  43. Peter says:

    @poochner: "It’s accessed in the same fashion as the web ad suppressor in the visual cortex."

    I outsourced my web ad suppressor to Firefox some time ago. Seems to be a lot more effective ;-)

    @Charles Lewinton: "I read this blog because it gives a fascinating incite into Microsoft"

    Sorry to nitpick your anti-nitpick rant, but I don’t think Raymond’s trying to incite anything at Microsoft. You probably meant "insight", unless Raymond’s been particularly controversial recently ;-)

  44. Anony Moose says:

    The "nitpicker’s corner" is a fraction over 50% of the entire post. So why shouldn’t at least half the comments be discussion of the important legal disclaimer that God himself (apparantly) commanded Raymond to place here?

  45. MadQ says:

    @Cooney:

    In order to make XP shut up about the certificate: If you deem the certificate valid, and you trust the source, then add it to the Trusted Publishers folder in your personal certificate store.

    You can use the Certificates MMC snap-in to do this. Since you’re reading Raymond’s blog, I’ll assume that’s all the explanation you need. [Ooh, what a raymondish thing to say! Sorry, Raymond, but your name has now turned into an adjective.]

  46. Eric TF Bat says:

    Although Nitpicker’s Corner is getting all the love (and hate) this time, I think the real miracle of this post is being ignored: Raymond has come up with a way in which Vista is an improvement over XP!  That’s got to be a first.

    Incidentally, the USB2 warning doesn’t pop up at all in Ubuntu Linux.  I’m just sayin’, that’s all…

  47. So, maybe a post series about "the nitpicker’s corner" are in order? We could get to comment on them at the same time of being on-topic! ;)

    anyways a cool blog both now and also a few years back when it started. seems like the win32 api (and it’s corresponding users in the form of "well-intentioned" applications) has soooo many things to talk about that you’ll never have time to finish it! :)

  48. Matthew says:

    Everybody Loves Raymond!

    I am loving the new Nitpickers Corner. Raymond brings comedy to new heights!

  49. KTamas says:

    I’m starting to feel that Raymond actually enjoys Nitpickers Corner.

    No biggie, me too.

  50. Cooney says:

    > You can use the Certificates MMC snap-in to do this. Since you’re reading Raymond’s blog, I’ll assume that’s all the explanation you need

    Yeah, pretty much. I’m just irritated that XP nags me constantly about the stupid cert. If I tell it to shut up, it had better do so.

    [You forget that it doesn’t know that you told it to shut up. -Raymond]
  51. Scott says:

    I’m just counting down the days until Raymond gives up this blog in a huff.  He’s clearly going further and further in the frustration direction, which never ends well.

    I’m surprised though, because I thought the blog entries were pre-written months ahead of time, but the nitpicker’s corner seems to be a reaction to very recent comments or something.

  52. JamesNT says:

    Scott,

    I agree.  It is just a matter of time before Raymond gives up his blog and just shuts it down.  And I don’t blame him.

    It’s sad that so many people with such raging hatred of Microsoft will take the words of a guy who is just trying to make it in this world and help us all become better developers and turn them into the official sanctioned gospel of a multi-billion dollar/multi-national corporation just so they can make some noise.

    But that’s ok.  Microsoft may have lost many battles, but it has won the war.  In fact, the war is long over.

    After 10 years of hearing that linux will destroy Windows, Windows still has over 90% desktop market share.

    Windows Server is taking over the server room.

    SQL Server is now a very serious and very cost effective alternative to Oracle and DB2.

    Sharepoint is the collaboration tool of choice.

    Small Business Server is the best selling MS product ever.

    And Office 2007 sold like hot-cakes despite all the pundits swearing up and down that Office 2000 is "good enough".

    Long Live the Empire.

    JamesNT

  53. Pax says:

    Why don’t we change the page format to a multi-column one so that all comments with the word "Nitpicker" in them are on the right hand side and all other articles are on the left (but still only one comment per ‘line’ to keep the sequence correct)?

    Raymond already separates the actual article (meat on top, nitpickers corner below), then all the "I hate nitpickers" crowd could just scan the left hand side, the rest could alternate between the two sides.

    Those sickos that only want to read the nitpickers corner comments could just read the right-hand side.

    That would solve a lot of problems, no? :-).

    Note: this comment, although it contains the word ‘nitpicker’ should not necessarily be construed as commenting on nitpickers corner.

    Caveat: views expressed in this comment are mine and do not represent the views of my employer.  To be honest, they wouldn’t associate with my views with a ten-foot bargepole.

  54. Cheong says:

    Tomer: Agreed. It’d be nice if the Blog team will add feature allow commenter to select a number of blog-owner defined tags to the comments. It’s useful for not only separate nitpicks and real comments here, also when the blog-owner want to host some kind of survey/vote here.

  55. Triangle says:

    Isn’t giving the user unasked for advice/denying the users request one of the cardinal sins of programming for a consumer operating system?

    Whoever is responsible charge of that balloon should be re-educated it seems ..

  56. Lio says:

    Indeed, the text has 1124 bytes, but the nitpicker’s corner has 1159 bytes. Your disclaimer is now longer than your article! What is this world coming to!

  57. mikey says:

    i’m scared of pointing this out but the article Raymond links to about the balloons is one that i would actually considered generally ‘authoritive’ on the reason that Microsoft implemented a certain behaviour.

    granted it was posted around 4 years ago. life was simpler back then, i guess.

  58. Ilfak Guilfanov says:

    Your nitpicker’s corner will outgrow any useful info if you continue in the current direction…

    What about one simple link to the nitpicker’s page? Let that page grow ;)

  59. BJ says:

    Raymond, you made me spill my wine.  It nearly ruined by (USB 2.0) keyboard.  Please ensure that any disclaimers do not attempt to introduce humour – all it does is cause coffee and wine spillage, and complaints about word counts.

  60. SvenGroot says:

    Raymond, you do realize that all these footnotes are just encouraging the nitpickers, don’t you? ;)

  61. Al says:

    Is there a way to turn off Nitpickers’ Corner?

    But seriously, nitpickers’ corner is actually quite funny sometimes. It is very much a shame you actually have to have it, but at least you try to do something fun with it. It’s also a shame about the stupid footnote people. I quite liked the random characters.

    And yeah, shouldn’t it be nitpickers’ corner, being as its the corner for all the nitpickers, not just one nitpicker (and my guess is that there are indeed multiple nitpickers)? Maybe someone’s mentioned this already…

  62. Anonymous Coward says:

    Machines old enough to have only USB 1.1 can run Vista?  ;)  (nitpick: Yes, I know, there are machines that, but this question was posed in such a way for rhetorical effect…)

  63. Name required says:

    I actually like that one and use it to clean unused icons from my desktop all the time

    Unfortunately it seems to be semi brain dead. We have a computer at home with multiple users on it. Som apps put shortcuts on the desktop in some way which shares them between all the users. You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you…

  64. mccoyn says:

    You don’t need to poll the drive.  When the user first attempts to access a drive display a dialog box stating the problem with a progress bar.  The dialog box then can handle notifying the user when the drive is ready and will only bother the user in response to a user action.

    [Who displays this dialog box? What window do you use for the parent? Do you kick the user out of their fullscreen game to display it? What if the program that accesses the not-yet-ready drive is a service? -Raymond]
  65. DriverDude says:

    What we need here is a comment moderation system, whereby nitpickers can be rated OffTopic, amusing posts are Funny, and Raymond is Informative.

    You know, like /. ….

    <grins> <ducks> <runs away quickly>

    Back to topic: didn’t somebody say once ballons were designed to be less intrusive than a message-box? I guess we’re learning that "less intrusive" is sometimes still too much.

  66. Ben says:

    Nitpickers corner is begining to get out of hand man.

  67. Legolas says:

    About balloons being less intrusive than messageboxes(1), they would be IF:

    • they disappeared after a while
    • they did not force the task bar to stay ‘up’ (for those people that have set it to auto-hide)

    Nitpickers Corner(2) :

    (1) I’m not saying that this is/was the intention behind ballons, I don’t know.

    (2) sorry for hijacking Raymonds idea. I didn’t see a registered trademark behind that phrase yet, perhaps he should ;-)

  68. Aaargh! says:

    “When the user first attempts to access a drive display a dialog box stating the problem with a progress bar.”

    Just don’t show the drive until it’s ready. No need for a progress bar or an alert or whatever. That’s even worse. If there is an icon for a drive the user should be able to access it.

    Sometimes I accidentally click on the ‘A’ drive in the save or open dialog, then I’ll have to wait until windows found out there isn’t actually a disk in there. Why show the icon at all if there is no disk in the drive ? Same goes for the CD drive.

    What exactly does windows show when you click on “my computer” ?

    It’s not the physical drives, because if a disk has 2 partitions both show up as separate drive letters. It also isn’t filesystems, because it shows the A drive and CD drives even though they don’t always represent an actual filesystem, e.g. when there is no disk in the drive. So what exactly is it supposed to be showing me ?

    [Showing no UI at all I can accept. It’s the “Show UI in the context of some other application which did not expect UI” that I was objecting to. -Raymond]
  69. Aaargh! says:

    The most annoying messages are about stuff that works. e.g. when you pop in a USB drive it notifies you that an USB drive was plugged in is now available.

    This also includes *all* “new hardware detected” messages. I *know* I got a new hard drive, I just spent half an hour digging out my computer, finding a free spot for the drive, being annoyed by cables that are too short, etc. Windows really doesn’t need to tell me that. But alas, that only happens once in a while.

    Basically: all messages that tell me something that I don’t need to respond too should go.

    It’s little things like this that make windows so annoying to use. MS shouldn’t be looking for stuff to add to windows, but for stuff to remove.

    [I guess you prefer to poll for the drive to be ready? -Raymond]
  70. me says:

    Windows cannot hide the ‘A’ drive if it is empty. The operating system cannot see if it is. Similarly, there is no reliable way to know if there is a cd in a cdrom drive. The system gets notifications when you open and close the tray (and that doesn’t even work with all drives,) but it cannot know for sure if there’s a cd in it, because there is no stated time for the drive to become ‘ready’. You don’t want to be left with no way to access the disc, just because it was a bit slow to spin up.

    And in response to ‘Who displays this dialog box? What window do you use for the parent? Do you kick the user out of their fullscreen game to display it? What if the program that accesses the not-yet-ready drive is a service? -Raymond’, the system already pops up a dialog for some cds and USB devices, doesn’t it?

    [And I claim that those low-level dialogs are also broken for the same reason. That’s why the first thing everybody does in their program is disable them! -Raymond]
  71. Marc K says:

    "When I insert a USB mouse, I don’t need a "new hardware detected" display. I just want my mouse to start working."

    It only does that the first time you insert the mouse (and maybe if you use a different USB port on a subsequent insertion.)  The rest of the time, it just plays a sound to indicate an old device has been reconnected.

  72. Cooney says:

    [You forget that it doesn’t know that you told it to shut up. -Raymond]

    No, I remember that just fine. I’m just unhappy at whoever wrote the wifi that constantly bothers me. If I don’t want to talk to you the first 5 times, what makes you think you should continue?

  73. Aaargh! says:

    "Windows cannot hide the ‘A’ drive if it is empty. The operating system cannot see if it is. Similarly, there is no reliable way to know if there is a cd in a cdrom drive."

    My Mac doesn’t seem to have a problem doing it. And windows knows perfectly fine if there is a CD in the drive (autorun??)

  74. Peter Dimov says:

    [It’s about reducing the frequency with which my statements are misinterpreted, since people seem to do that a lot around here. -Raymond]

    Hah. You were annoyed by a small but visible minority of your readers, so you annoy back the majority. It doesn’t even work, people apparently refuse to be annoyed and claim that they find it funny.

  75. Aaargh! says:

    "I guess you prefer to poll for the drive to be ready? -Raymond"

    No, I’d prefer it to work just like my Mac. When I insert a drive an icon is added to the desktop and to the finder representing the drive. that’s it.

    The computer should not alert me at all, it should just make the extra drive available in the explorer, so if you happen to have the "my computer" view open, an icon for the drive should just appear.

    When I insert a USB mouse, I don’t need a "new hardware detected" display. I just want my mouse to start working.

    It almost looks like Windows is proud something finally worked. "Look at me!, I detected a mouse!. … and now, it’s actually working!"

    If I plug something in to the computer it’s *supposed* to work, it’s not some huge accomplishment that needs to be reported to the user. Only show me a message if something goes wrong, otherwise just make the new device available for use.

  76. me says:

    >About balloons being less intrusive than messageboxes(1), they would be IF:

    >

    >- they disappeared after a while

    They actually do disappear after 30 seconds, but you must be using your system (moving the mouse, typing). There’s a post about this somewhere in the archives. It’s just that some people, like me and apparently you, cannot imagine ignoring them for 30 seconds.

    In my opinion the main problem with the balloons is that they are not that intrusive, which appears to be seen as an excuse for showing far too much of them. They are most annoying when you use images to install machines:

    Take the tour of Windows XP – Take the tour of Windows XP (it tends to reappear when you close it quickly) – Click on the start button! – Your virusscanner is out of date! – Wireless networks detected! – Windows updates available!

    All accompanied with the cheerfully annoying *pop* sound. Perhaps the balloons should stack, like msn messenger does with its notifications, so you could close them all at once. Or have a ‘Disable the really stupid balloons, not the slightly useful ones’ policy setting. The way it is now, it’s just like clippy, the annoying talking paperclip. At least you can safely remove that one…

  77. Dean: On a standard floppy drive, the change line (present on all floppys since the PC/AT) can be used as an indicator that media is inserted.  It’s not 100% accurate – the media might be inserted but the drive door might be open, but it’s a reasonable approximation.

    AFAIK, every version of DOS and Windows has read the change line indicator since MS-DOS 3.0.

  78. Dean Harding says:

    >My Mac doesn’t seem to have a problem doing it.

    The Mac must have something custom in their hardware because on a standard floppy drive, there is no way to know a disk has been inserted without simply trying to read it (and if there’s no disk, that’s when you get all that grinding as it tries to read a non-existant disk). Personally, I used to just always disable my disk drive, because I never used it. In fact, I don’t think any of my current computers even *have* a disk drive!

    CD drives are different — the operating system gets notifications when the tray is opened and closed, so it could simply scan the drive every time the tray is closed to detect whether to display the icon or not. However, my guess as to why they don’t that is because you might be running a wizard or something and it asks you to "insert disc 2 now" but if you eject disc 1 the drive letter is going to disappear.

    I guess you could make it so that the drive letter is still valid, but *Explorer* just hides the icon while there’s no disc in there…

  79. Simon Cooke says:

    What annoys me about that balloon is when it pops up when I actually have the device plugged into a USB 2.0 port.

    I blame my motherboard’s chipset manufacturer’s drivers. Grr.

  80. Threetwosevensixseven says:

    In a similar vein, my BlueSoleil bluetooth driver really gets to me. Every time I login I get asked to insert a bluetooth device².

    If I want to use a bluetooth device I’ll insert it, at which point I expect the drivers to recognise it and do their job. Unless I do, I don’t expect to be harangued about my failure to insert devices.

    Since I boot or login at work on average four times a day, and use a bluetooth device maybe twice a year, the haranging is repeated and particularly unnecessary.

    It seems obvious the software designers haven’t even considered this.

  81. mccoyn says:

    [Showing no UI at all I can accept. It’s the “Show UI in the context of some other application which did not expect UI” that I was objecting to. -Raymond]

    Good point.  How about if the balloon is shown only when a program attempts to access the drive before it is ready.  The balloon would contain status information about the drive initialization.

    I admit this doesn’t help for services, but shouldn’t services be able to work without the user having to get notifications and pass them to the service anyways?

    [The drive letter doesn’t exist until the device is ready, so “access the drive before it’s ready” is impossible anyway. -Raymond]
  82. Dean Harding says:

    Larry: I may be wrong in my recollection, but I seem to recall that most floppy drives had to have the motor on to set the DSKCHG bit, which means you’d still have to do a read in order to detect a floppy has been inserted.

    Wasn’t the DSKCHG bit just used so that the OS would know when to flush it’s read-cache of the disk data? That is, it wasn’t actually used to detect when a disk was *physically inserted* just that the disk has changed since the last read…

    It’s been a while since I ever did anything that low-level with floppy drives, though ;)

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