Sunday, June 17, 2007

The graveyard of minimized windows ...

When you use VR goggles with 30 foot wide virtual displays, you'll see where minimized Windows go ...
The Land of Wind, Ghosts and Minimised Windows

... So what modern Windows versions actually do when you minimise a window is move the window.

WinNT and its descendants - possibly even Vista, though I'm not sure - move minimised windows to the undisplayable location -32000, -32000. Way up there, eight to ten metres above and to the left of your monitor(s), all of your 'minimised' windows are hanging in the air.

Windows 95 and its descendants, though, couldn't go that far. They should have been able to, but too many programs - serious expensive commercial programs from companies that should have known better - went crazy when presented with large and/or negative window locations. Windows 95 had to work with as much existing software as possible, so (read all about it on Raymond's blog here) it ended up moving 'minimised' windows to only 3000, 3000.

The 3000, 3000 position stayed the same for the rest of the 95-derived Windows variants - Windows 95, 98, 98SE and ME. And it gives rise to an amusing artefact.

If you install one of those versions of Windows on a computer with two really humungous monitors (or three normal screens), and then tell Windows that the screens are positioned diagonally with the primary at the top left, you can see the Land of the Minimised Windows...
BTW, this is one of the things Apple's developers messed up when they semi-ported Safari to Windows.

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