The case of the four unlabeled toggle buttons


In an Insider build of Windows 10 some time ago, there was a bug that caused four new toggle buttons to show up in the Settings app, but with no description aside from "On" and "Off".

Off

The fact that this was a known bug didn't stop people on the Windows team from wishing what the toggles really did.

  • "Make ⟨internal tool 1⟩ take less than 2 hours."
  • "⟨internal tool 2⟩ always finds a valid checkpoint."
  • "Always submit my jobs to the front of the queue."
  • "Prevent partner teams from checking in stupid bugs."

In reality, the toggle buttons weren't hooked up to anything. They were associated with a new feature that, if supported, would have provided descriptive text as well as hooking up the toggle buttons so that they, y'know, actually did something. The bug was that when the feature was not supported, they forgot to hide the inert toggle buttons.

Comments (11)
  1. Tanveer Badar says:

    And what was the feature if I may ask?

    1. Duncan says:

      You won’t get an answer to that, Tanveer – if Raymond described it, there would immediately be a couple of inveterate MS bashers out to say “look how MS fails to give us useful features” or “look at the rubbish feature MS wasted time on before canning it” – he can’t win either way, so it’ll remain a mystery!

  2. camhusmj38 says:

    What amuses me is the person in the comments that attributes all kinds of (presumably unrelated phenomena to these switches.) Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    1. cheong00 says:

      The story about magic is entertaining. :)

  3. Yukkuri says:

    Button1: Make yourself at home!
    Button2: Please! Relaxed!
    Button3: Take it easy!
    Button4: yukkurishiteittene!!!

  4. ZLB says:

    I would have labeled them Magic – More Magic….

    https://www.cs.utah.edu/~elb/folklore/magic.html

  5. Adrian says:

    Could somebody please give all the current UI designers copies of _The Design of Everyday Things_? These new sliders are basically “Norman Doors.” Their state is completely ambiguous and they require you to figure out and then memorize which positions mean on or off.

    Is that “Off” label on the right giving me the current status or telling me I need to move the dot to the right in order to turn it off? How did this possibly make it through usability testing? What was wrong with checkboxes?

    1. Jovet says:

      Yep. Good to excellent UI design that Windows has enjoyed for 30 years… out the window. Grrrrrrr.

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