2010 year-end link clearance

Another round of the semi-annual link clearance.

And, as always, the obligatory plug for my column in TechNet Magazine:

  • Beware the Balloon.
  • Hiding in Plain Sight.
  • History—the Long Way Through. In their zeal to make this article meet length, the editors cut what I consider to be the most important part of the article! Here's the penultimate paragraph in its full unedited version, with the important part underlined.

    But wait, there's still more. What if you want to access the real 64-bit system directory from a 32-bit process? File system redirection will take your attempt to access the C:\Windows\System32 directory and redirect it to the C:\Windows\SysWOW64 directory. Programmatically, you can use functions with unwieldy names like Wow64­Disable­Wow64­Fs­Redirection, but those disable redirection for all operations until re-enabled, which causes trouble if you're doing anything more complicated than opening a single file, because a complex operation may result in multiple files being accessed and possibly even worker threads being created. Instead of using a gross switch like disabling file system redirection, you can use the special C:\Windows\SysNative virtual directory. When a 32-bit process tries to access the C:\Windows\SysNative directory, the operations are redirected to the real C:\Windows\System32 directory. A local solution to a local problem.

  • Leftovers from Windows 3.0.
  • The Story of Restore.
  • The Tumultuous History of 'Up One Level'. The editors messed up the diagram in this article. The "1" is supposed to be an "open folder" icon, but due to the same error that results in that mysterious J, the Wingdings glyph turned into a plain "1". Here's what the diagram was supposed to look like. (Of course, if your browser is one who believes that Wingdings doesn't have a "1" glyph, then you'll just see a "1".)

    So for those of you looking for your Up One Level button, it's right there on the Address Bar. I've drawn a box around it so it's easier to see.

    Computer OS (C:) Windows Web Wallpaper
Comments (30)
  1. John says:

    Chrome 8.0.552.224 is the only browser that displays the diagram correctly for me.  Firefox 3.6.13 shows a "1" and Internet Explorer 8.0.6001.18702 shows boxes instead of arrows.

    [My guess is that you don't have the arrow font installed. (In other words, IE is doing the best it can.) Rraymond]
  2. Chad says:

    Thank you, John. I didn't get the diagram until I opened it in Chrome.

    Raymond, this link-dump was my favorite dump of the entire year. Thank you, and Happy New Year.

  3. Ben Voigt [Visual C++ MVP] says:

    In your discussion of "Up One Level", you mentioned "[..]" as if it was a fake entry introduced by the UI.  But filesystems actually have an entry named ".." in each subdirectory, which links back to the parent directory, don't they?  At least file enumeration functions pretend so.  So since those old-style browsers displayed brackets around all directory names (note to readers: there weren't any icons in the list back then, so some method of distinguishing directories from files was really helpful).

    In which case the special part is the feature that causes "[..]" to remove the trailing element of the path, instead of appending "/..", which would have had the same result but look weird to the reader.

    Of course, the fake entries for "[-a-]" and "[-c-]" to change to a different drive really were special.

  4. Miles Archer says:

    Excellent set of links. Especially enjoyed the Pacobel Canon rant. Thanks.

  5. Jeffrey Bosboom says:

    Why do editors insist that articles posted on the Internet be of a certain length? It's not like it costs money to "print" those extra bytes.

    [They also remove the links embedded in the article. News flash: Web pages support links! -Raymond]
  6. If you liked that recipe you might also like this one: http://www.epicurious.com/…/Salted-Water-for-Boiling-105591

    The Italian Symphony doesn't seem to prosodize your final "o"… typ?

    Book in question: "From Bach to verse", Josefa Heifetz.

    [My memory is that there is an "o" at the end, even though it doesn't scan… (And the book was from the 1940's or so. It wasn't a humor book; it was contained a brief discussion of each piece. The mnemonic was just there to help you remember the piece.) -Raymond]
  7. Re: "up" button: I now have "Alt-D .. Enter" burned into my muscle memory as a single routine.

  8. Guest says:

    For a comment of the 'Leftovers of Windows 3.0' article: Its very nice to have a 'Show Desktop Icons' option in the context menu of desktop on Windows 7, now I have a really clean and clear desktop view, combined with the Wallpaper Sildershow, and a small registry hack to add a 'Empty Recycle Bin' item in the desktop context menu, I got a lovely desktop :-)

  9. Yuhong Bao says:

    From the HTML:  <font FACE="Wingdings">1</font>

    See this for more info:


  10. Tergiver says:

    I have the same question as Jeffrey Bosboom. Is there a print version of Technet?

  11. Peter says:


    Raymond already noted the issue; also, you probably want to link to the Wingdings page ( http://www.alanwood.net/…/wingdings.html ) rather than the Symbol page.

    I would imagine the most correct (that is, compatible) solution would be to include a little folder icon as an image, rather than messing around with Wingdings or hoping that Firefox or Opera users have fonts that include a glyph for U+1F4C2 OPEN FILE FOLDER (which is very unlikely, because that symbol was added in Unicode 6 which only came out in October).

    @Jeffrey Bosboom, Tergiver:

    There used to be a print version of Technet Magazine, but not anymore: technet.microsoft.com/…/cc296584.aspx

  12. benjamin says:

    Did they (some nebulous 'they' being some subset of the Windows team, I guess) ever discover what ultimately *was* the cause of getting thrown back to the desktop?

    ["Once they identified the offending component, the source of the problem was tracked down and easily fixed." -Raymond]
  13. Shell fanboy says:

    Please Raymond, would you mind cleanly separating technology & Microsoft-related links from other stuff when doing these link clearances?

    Why did Windows 98 not launch task manager any more after double clicking in an empty area? Any way to make it do so like Windows 95?

    Why is SysNative not available on XP x64? How to bypass file system redirection without doing it programmatically on XP x64?

    While I personally like the decision to make Explorer window size a global setting, removing features is plain evil without going a checkbox option. Please stop removing features from Explorer. Windows 7 SP1 again changes the behavior of "Restore previous folder windows…", doesn't it?

    Will the Access-based Enumeration UI work on XP Professional x64 edition?

    [It's a link clearance, not a research library. Windows 95 didn't launch Task Manager when you double-clicked a blank space either. There is no file system redirection on native x64 so the question "How do I bypass file system direction" is meaningless. Can the people who complain any time a feature is removed get in a room who say Windows is bloated with too many features? Then we can just see which group is left standing at the end of the day. Access Based Enumeration is a server feature. -Raymond]
  14. Anonymous says:

    You seem to be getting more links to clear each semi-annual period.

  15. dalek says:

    […. Can the people who complain any time a feature is removed get in a room who say Windows is bloated with too many features? Then we can just see which group is left standing at the end of the day…]

    It might make a nice television show. Viewers can send text messages to vote etc.

  16. Random832 says:

    yuhong2, except that unlike symbol, unicode doesn't have equivalents for half the stuff in wingdings.

  17. Gabe says:

    It seems that Backspace was changed to "Back" in the main Explorer listview pane, but is still "Up" in the tree view and common dialogs. I can understand why the tree view has the "Up" behavior, but why the inconsistency with the listview? Since a common file dialog looks mostly like an Explorer window, I would expect them to act the same.

  18. L says:

    "Backspace": More than one time I was fooled by this when I typed Backspace to delete a character in a text field in a web page, but didn't notice that this text field has not the focus for some reason.

    For me, the Backspace key is bound to "text editing", not to navigation.

    Btw, is it possible to customize the key bindings of IE, Explorer and the common dialogs somewhere?

  19. L says:

    The Story of Restore:

    This is a confusing read. I don't get it why someone at Microsoft thinks so complicated about such an easy thing like saving size and position of open windows on program exit. For the purpose of restoring the open windows and their size and position at the next login, it is sufficient to store the number of open windows, and then for each window (not folder!) the path, the size and the position.

    There is no need to mangle this save+restore functionality with other scenarios. When a new Explorer window is opened by the user "out of the blue", Explorer can use complete different information to position the new window. There is really no connection to the saving and restoration of the Explorer state at logout and login.

    [In other words, you're saying that it's perfectly natural for Explorer to have two persistence models, one used for auto-restored windows and one for everything else. Some would argue that this is perfectly artificial. -Raymond]
  20. Shell fanboy says:

    Looks like there is a hotfix to add SysNative alias on XP x64.

    "Can the people who complain any time a feature is removed get in a room who say Windows is bloated with too many features? Then we can just see which group is left standing at the end of the day"

    That seems like a flawed approach to me. MS should be skilled enough to balance adding features yet make the OS run on current gen hardware (hint: Windows 7 is a step in the right direction but Vista wasn't). Then again neither of the two is because of dumbed down choices and loss of functionality.

    [Your balance (adding features vs existing hardware) is unrelated to the one at issue (keeping old features vs moving forward). -Raymond]
  21. L says:

    "In other words, you're saying that it's perfectly natural for Explorer to have two persistence models, one used for auto-restored windows and one for everything else. Some would argue that this is perfectly artificial. -Raymond

    The reasoning described in the article did not lead to a good solution, and your response also don't solve the problem.

    In the first place, I as a user of the program Explorer want that the functionality under discussion really works. I (as a user) don't really care how many persistence models it needs to make it work as it should.

  22. L says:


    Also, a persistence model "per folder" as discussed in the article cannot support what is needed to restore the state of all the open windows on re-logon. If I have two Explorer windows open, both showing the same folder, not only with different size and position, but also maybe with different columns, sort order, detail view level etc, then both windows should be restored in this exact size, position and with all the other settings.

    I don't see how this can be supported by a "per folder" persistence model.

  23. Gechurch says:


    The issue is only an "easy" one to you because you have only one point of view to worry about; yours. Microsoft have to think about a lot of people's perspective and find a mix that works well for most, and upsets other people as little as possible.

    I'm in the "perfectly artificial" camp with your proposed solution – "Why does Windows remember all my folder settings on restart, but not if I close a folder then re-open it?". For users to feel comfortable they have to have a consistent experience. I would find it frustrating and arbitary if Windows chose to remember folder locations in one circumstance and not another.

    Remember also that development and testing time is finite, and every feature starts out at -100 points. Even if your solution of remembering all folder settings was superior it isn't neccesssarily worth coding. This setting has been off by default for a long time. I would expect the number of people that turn this feature on to be less than 1%. It's hard to justify a lot of coding and testing on a feature that is hardly used.

  24. kinokijuf says:

    WHat if someone creates a <b>real</b> sysnative directory and a 32-bit program tries to access it?

  25. Medinoc says:

    Removing the default option from the shutdown flyout menu bugs me. There is one know way to show the user what the default option is: Putting the text in bold…

  26. Dean Harding says:

    I liked the Poul-Henning Kamp "You're doing it wrong" article, but his "I'm smarter than Knuth and certainly smarter than you'll ever hope to be" attitude is kind of grating.

  27. Medinoc says:

    Also, whoever *unconditionally* removed the "up one level" button forgot that there is one thing that the button has that the breadcrumbs bar can't reproduce: muscle memory.

    As in, a *consistent* place to click go up one level.

  28. Evan says:

    It's been a while since this was posted, but: As a (former) cellist, I wholeheartedly sympathize with the Pachelbel Rant.

  29. Joe says:

    The up button doesn't appear for me when I view a folder on the desktop. Or, in other words, listen to your users instead of being so snarky.

  30. ender says:

    So for those of you looking for your Up One Level button, it's right there on the Address Bar. I've drawn a box around it so it's easier to see.

    Can you make it so that the "new" Up One Level button:

    • always stays in the same place relative to the address bar

    • goes up 2 levels when you double-click it (side button on my mouse sends a double-click, and years of using dialogs with the Up button trained me to side-click it when I need to go 2 levels up)

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