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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Microsoft forgot to replace this Home windows function for 30 years

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On a Thursday morning practically 30 years in the past at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, a software program developer checked-in some code for a dialog field he was engaged on. The field was solely alleged to be non permanent, so he didn’t fear that it was very fundamental. Besides, no person ever acquired round to altering it — and it’s nonetheless the identical to this present day in Home windows 11.

Dave Plummer, a former developer at Microsoft, recounted the fascinating story of how the Format drive dialog field was created all these years in the past in a post on X over the weekend.

“We have been porting the bajillion traces of code from the Home windows 95 person interface over to NT, and Format was simply a type of areas the place Home windows NT was completely different sufficient from Home windows 95 that we needed to provide you with some customized UI,” says Plummer. “I acquired out a bit of paper and wrote down all of the choices and decisions you possibly can make with respect to formatting a disk, like filesystem, label, cluster dimension, compression, encryption, and so forth.”

Plummer then created a fundamental UI that he added to the Home windows NT codebase as a brief resolution “till the elegant UI arrived.” That UI enchancment by no means got here, and practically 30 years later, Plummer’s non permanent resolution remains to be in use in Home windows 11 as we speak.

Should you’re questioning why the format dimension of a FAT quantity in Home windows is proscribed to simply 32GB, this might need been partly all the way down to Plummer, too. “I additionally needed to determine how a lot ‘cluster slack’ can be an excessive amount of, and that wound up constraining the format dimension of a FAT quantity to 32GB,” admits Plummer. “That restrict was additionally an arbitrary selection that morning, and one which has caught with us as a everlasting aspect impact.” FAT really helps volumes of as much as 2TB, however you’ll want to make use of a third-party instrument in Home windows to create this quantity, even when Microsoft’s OS does accurately learn these bigger FAT drives.

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Regardless of a number of overhauls to the Home windows UI, Microsoft hasn’t touched the Format dialog field since its introduction in Home windows NT all these years in the past. There’s nonetheless a good quantity of different {old} Home windows UI that you could floor within the newest variations of Home windows, however I’m guessing that this specific Format one is a straightforward case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t repair it.”

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