back to article Five things you need to know about Microsoft's looming Windows 10 Spring Creators Update

At some point next month, just in time for Spring, Microsoft will start to emit the Windows 10 Spring Creators Update to everyone's PC. Avid Reg readers will be aware of what's forthcoming for the Redmond operating system. If you're just tuning in, well, see the aforementioned link, and strap in for these highlights. When the …

Anonymous Coward

'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

Might it be that Microsoft Refused, because its more of this below?

Soon MS'll have enough data to sell to 'Cambridge-Analytica' firms:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

...."Microsoft’s business models require stealing and reselling personal data"...

....."When we talk about why we're upgrading the Windows 10 install base, why is that upgrade free? MS CFO asked during a meeting with Wall Street analysts. These are all new monetization opportunities once a PC is sold. Microsoft's strategy is to go low on consumer Windows licenses, hoping that that will boost device sales, which will in turn add to the pool of potential customers for 'Advertising'".....

....."CEO Nadella has referred to the customer revenue potential as 'lifetime value' in the past -- and did so again last week during the same meeting with Wall Street -- hinting at Microsoft's strategy to make more on the back end of the PC acquisition process. The more customers, the more money those customers will bring in as they view 'Ads'".....

https://www.computerworld.com/article/2917799/microsoft-windows/microsoft-fleshes-out-windows-as-a-service-revenue-strategy.html

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Anonymous Coward

....Were-listening-to-you...

The link tied to: "Microsoft reckons the operating system will take, on average, 30 minutes to install"

=

https://insider.windows.com/en-us/articles/were-listening-to-you/

=

....We're-listening-to-you...

That's the problem right there Comrade!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ....Were-listening-to-you...

to you, on you same difference, the channel's open. Why do you froth about fb debacle, W10 users?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

"Microsoft’s business models require stealing and reselling personal data"

Not correct. Microsoft do not resell personal data. They collect it, but they don't sell it.

"Microsoft's strategy is to go low on consumer Windows licenses, hoping that that will boost device sales, which will in turn add to the pool of potential customers for 'Advertising'"

Windows doesn't include adverts unless you count a static crapp or two in the start menu. The Bing website does, but visiting that is of course optional.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

"I thought Microsoft allow trusted third parties to see personal information ?. :"

Where needed to enable a third party to provide a service - such as to allow a third party to repair your Xbox - sure. They don't sell your personal info or allow it's access for unconnected purposes though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

OK, that's the only benefit you gain from giving away all your personally identifiable data? Ads that might be more relevent?

Which is more efficient, Microsoft decide which ads to target you with, or the third party decides ?

Yeh, I'll tell you what's more efficient -

They stop capturing what applications I use, what I type into the start menu, my preferences, and god knows what else, and don't present any ads - sorry, "recommendations", on the desktop operating system which I was forced to pay for using real money when buying my computer.

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Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

Windows doesn't include adverts unless you count a static crapp or two in the start menu.

I do. The presence of OneDrive in my taskbar (when I have done nothing to suggest I have that service) is an ad for OneDrive, and its presence in the navigation pane of Windows Explorer is another. The existence of the "Xbox" app on the computer is an ad for Xbox. The "Get Office" popups that begin as soon as Window 10 starts for the first time are clearly ads. The notification for a sale on OneDrive storage that appeared in Windows Explorer some months ago was a blatant ad. And, of course, the thing that got many people into this mess in the first place, GWX, was a particularly nasty piece of adware.

The entirety of Windows 8 and 10 in general used to be ads for Windows Mobile, when there was such a thing. They look very obviously like what they are, which is to say a UI element designed around mobiles. Each time a user opened the start screen or menu, he'd be getting an ad for Windows mobile-- which is presumably why Microsoft only shrunk the tiles down for 10 when everyone had been demanding their removal.

The Metro and UWP elements that infect Windows 8.x and 10 are the same. They look like they belong in a mobile OS for a reason... they're there to remind you that this is, in fact, a mobile OS, so why not make your next phone a Windows phone? Even the proliferation of the word "app" in Windows is an ad for Windows mobile. On PCs, we've long called those software thingies "programs." Remember, they're installed in \Program Files, and they're uninstalled with "Programs and Features," right? So why suddenly must Windows ask me what "app" I want to use to open a program? Apps are for phones... and people associate them with phones. It's like MS wants to remind everyone (if they missed all those other reminders I mentioned) that Windows is a mobile OS!

If you think I am nitpicking, I can assure you that I am not. Megacorporations like MS don't make changes to long-standing nomenclature haphazardly. There's a reason for everything they do.

None of this mobile emphasis on desktop PCs was ever meant to benefit PC users. It was meant to sell phones, no question about it. Why they continue to forge on with their mobile-first OS when they have apparently recognized their failure in the phone market is anyone's guess, but you can bet there's a reason. It may be a dumb reason; it WILL be a cynical reason that benefits Microsoft at the expense of its users. Whatever it is, it exists. They just won't tell us what it is.

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Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

Yep.

"Mobile first, cloud first" - so where does that leave desktops/laptops?

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FAIL

Great!

More crap to have to figure out how to disable.

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Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

Gee, and I just thought that they made Windows 8 & 10 look more like a phone because that is what the next generation of computer users are used to seeing, and that way they would have an advantage in customer acquisition because they could provide them with a more familiar interface.

Remember, amongst the things that corporate trainers have to teach new hires these days is now to place a call on telephone that has a dial tone and no "send" button.

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Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

In a word....'Tablets'.

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Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

Laptop now = Tablet + keyboard.

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Coat

@ rotokq -- Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving ...'

In a word....'Tablets'.

...containing ibuprofen....

Waddya mean, "The title is too long"? Is this a 16-bit website?

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Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

>"Mobile first, cloud first" - so where does that leave desktops/laptops?

Remember we are talking about the MS universe here, so you will be running O365 (and MS are really keen that everyone including enterprises on O365 because it is so wonderful...) then these will already have Internet access. Marketing and tech evangelists will totally overlook the problems (especially of mobile data). So expect desktops and laptops to increasingly become expensive dumb terminals dependent on an at least half-decent network connection. No Internet then expect the system to become either totally unresponsive as they wait for an Internet connection or only able to run Solitaire - one of the few applications that don't need an Internet connection - but then given this is MS and the W10 version of Solitaire et al. I expect even these will hang as they wait for an Internet connection for the adverts...

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Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

I asked our local friendly Microsoft rep about this statement, apparently 'Mobile First' refers to mobile computing, rather than phones, so currently we are talking the surface range, Surface Pro, Laptop, Book etc.

None of the big players in the IT hardware market see a big future for desktops they expect them to be relegated to niche users and enterprises/business usage.

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Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

We've (several of us) said that here in El Reg too.

Most people have no use for a proper computer of any sort. Unless they are doing office work, in which case a decent keyboard, HDD and screen are important, they just need a tablet or phone. Which is fine for sending emails, posting cat videos, revealing their secrets on Facepalm and storing their family photos. And probably safer in terms of not losing the contacts and photos when the device dies or gets pinched. Being in the cloud this is perfect for photos that will never be backed up.

But that does not mean that people's proper PCs and software can be treated like tablets with "apps".

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Big Data Suckers

All of Corporate America and Government sell, share, trade, market your data. We are just data, numbers, percentages and dollars to them, no such thing as customers anymore. They tell us they value our trust and privacy, but every data breach shows that they don't take the effort to patch, secure, monitor or even encrypt the data.

"When are the American people going to realize the Government (or Corporate America) doesn't give a f*** about them?" -George Carlin

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Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

I asked our local friendly Microsoft rep about this statement, apparently 'Mobile First' refers to mobile computing, rather than phones

I don't think so. Laptops are functionally like desktops, from an OS perspective, and that's where Microsoft has always been (on desktops and laptops). There would be no need for a "mobile first, cloud first" slogan if they were talking about what they had always been doing. Clearly, Nadella intended for that phrase to indicate the new direction of Microsoft, not the old one.

That is, of course, unless you believe that the phone UI grafted onto Windows in its last two versions means something other than what we all interpreted "mobile first" to mean. When Windows on the PC looks like a mobile phone OS and the CEO is telling us they're mobile first now, I don't think "he must be talking about laptops, like the ones I have been using since the Win2k era."

I like laptops. I have a couple of them. I'm using one now to write this. They're not my only tools, though; I have desktops too, and they each have their role within my electronic hierarchy. This laptop I'm on now is only a few months old, but I have its OS (Linux Mint) set up exactly as I do on my main desktop. Why would I need anything with the OS or the UI to be different? I'm still the same individual with the same usage patterns, preferences, and workflow.

Certainly, the laptop has has more power saving features than my desktops, but it runs the same programs as my desktop. The laptop's user input devices consist of a hardware keyboard and non-touchscreen pointing device, like on my desktop. The display is smaller on my laptop, of course, but it's still larger than an iPad, and way larger than a phone, and it doesn't need the oversize controls that work best with big fleshy fingers on a touchscreen.

In other words, I still have no need or desire for the inane phone UI even though it is a laptop. It's not a touchscreen, which was intentional on my part when I selected the unit. I don't need or want a touchscreen on a laptop! A touchscreen is necessary for handheld devices where a mouse or keyboard is impractical, but it's redundant on a laptop that already has a real keyboard and a touchpad. Most of the people I've communicated with who use convertible 2 in 1 units say they seldom or never use the touchscreen when the display is snapped to the base, and I wouldn't either. It's just too tiring to be holding my arm out to touch the laptop screen! I can use a touchpad for hours (I find the older ones with the dedicated buttons to be better, but I am adapting to the annoyances of the clickpad on my cheap new laptop), and a real mouse is even better.

Ergonomically, a touchscreen is just too hard on the old arm muscles to use for more than a short while when the screen is in a fixed upright position (as it is in a laptop or desktop). The mouse or touchpad allows you to easily hit targets of only a few pixels, enabling better user interfaces that don't have to have kludges like disappearing UI elements or hamburger menus. The separate point and click actions on a mouse or a touchpad also allow hover effects that simplify and accelerate a lot of things people tend to take for granted. They're not new or trendy, but mice and touchpads are just better for nearly everything for which people use laptops.

With that in mind, it makes little sense to throw away the UI advantages of an interface designed around the mouse and to saddle it with the same old compromises as are necessary on touchscreen devices. If laptops are what Microsoft meant by "mobile first," the UI of Windows 10 is still just as ill-suited to that use as it is on desktops.

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6th

Re: Great!

Guys! I figured out how to disable it altogether!

Linux.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

I would have thought enterprise/business where Microsoft's largest customers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

"The presence of OneDrive in my taskbar (when I have done nothing to suggest I have that service) is an ad for OneDrive, and its presence in the navigation pane of Windows Explorer is another. "

No, they are preinstalled applications, not adverts. That you don't want them doesn't make them adverts.

" The notification for a sale on OneDrive storage that appeared in Windows Explorer some months ago was a blatant ad. "

Windows Explorer doesn't have any capability to display such offers. That was likely from the One Drive app. That's the first example of an actual advert you have mentioned - and even that's likely not personally targeted unless you signed into OneDrive

"Even the proliferation of the word "app" in Windows is an ad for Windows mobile."

No, no it isn't. You seem to have paranoid delusions. On Mac-OSX for instance it's also the App Store.

"The Metro and UWP elements that infect Windows 8.x and 10 are the same. They look like they belong in a mobile OS for a reason... "

No, they were designed as a touch screen OS. Not just for mobile. I find the touchscreen swipe and zoom controls on my Windows 10 laptop very handy.

"If you think I am nitpicking, I can assure you that I am not. "

No, I think you are delusional. Preinstalled applications are not adverts. A touchscreen OS in not an advert.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

"So expect desktops and laptops to increasingly become expensive dumb terminals dependent on an at least half-decent network connection."

O365 still uses a full local version of Office so is not dependent on the internet. It's just a rental model for the licensing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

Preinstalled applications are not adverts.

You're a mug if you think that.

Why do you think companies paying manufacturers and Microsoft to have their "apps" pre-installed?

Windows 10 is full of adverts, from the moment you first install it.

Does Candy Crush really need an animated tile on the start menu??

Why are there tiles for Office, when it's not even installed??

Why is the onedrive client installed, nagging me to sign up??

And most importantly, why isn't there a way to remove a group of tiles in one go??

And don't get me started on the telemetry.

It's not there for anyone's benefit apart from Microsoft, and you damn well know it.

If they wanted to bundle something useful, for the benefit of their users, then they'd at least have a link to Firefox or Chrome, because that's usually the first thing people install! Oh wait, they did -- but soon got rid of it when they weren't forced.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

>They don't sell your personal info or allow it's access for unconnected purposes though.

According to their PS (you need to click Learn More at various points) they share with third parties for a huge range of things - it's a long document split into many pieces...plenty of stuff such as:

"We also share data directly with service providers, such as Oath, AppNexus or Facebook, to permit them to provide services on our behalf or to partner with us in selecting and serving ads for our advertising partners."

"We share some de-identified search query data, including voice queries, with selected third parties for research and development purposes....we require these third parties to keep the data secure and to not use the data for other purposes."

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Re: 'A Microsoft spokesperson refused to tell us what was actually arriving in the Spring release'

"pseudonymized" (their word) :

Sounds painful.

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Anonymous Coward

Long File Paths ?!

For TWO DECADES, File Explorer has been unable to handle Long File Paths. Even paths it itself creates !

And no, that flag they added last year (!) is NOT USED by their own File Explorer !

Has MS fixed it now, or are they continuing to advertise their incompetence ?

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Silver badge

Re: Long File Paths ?!

Obviously been marked as WNF (Will not Fix) in the MS bug reporting system (if they have one that is...) :)

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Re: Long File Paths ?!

Windows isn't the only file system that couldn't handle long file names, both Linux and macOS have limits - although longer than Windows. That's why you have to chose to turn the feature on, as you might start saving files that other people can't open on other platforms (including Windows 7).

If you really want to take advantage of it, just set it via GP.

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Re: Long File Paths ?!

The file name length is limited by the filesystem. The file path length is limited by Microsoft's stupidity.

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Re: Long File Paths ?!

OK, long file paths has caused us problems at work, BUT the problem is really caused by users writing a frikking essay when they name files and folders, and having umpteen levels of folders to boot. We have departments that try to make databases in files sructure, effectively, when we have tools like Sharepoint available.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Long File Paths ?!

"For TWO DECADES, File Explorer has been unable to handle Long File Paths. Even paths it itself creates !"

As you were told last time you posted this rant, that's by design for backwards compatibility for Explorer. If the many applications that use Explorer were suddenly passed longer than 260 character paths it would cause buffer overflows galore.

If you want your application to use long paths then it needs to have this entry in the manifest:

<longPathAware>true</longPathAware>

As well as the relevant registry key to enable the long path feature.

This Explorer type application is long path aware: http://onecommander.com/download.html

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Long File Paths ?!

If you want to really screw up a windows filesystem, there's a trick we used to do about 20 years ago which may still work.

Write a batch file with a loop that creates a deep nest of sub directories with single character names

mkdir A

chdir A

and run it until it reaches the maximum depth and breaks.

Put some important files in the deeper directories.

Then make another loop that lengthens each sub-directory name. 8 characters for example, but the longer the better. Then run that until it breaks. I can't remember whether you

chdir ..

rename A AAAAAAAA

;-)

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Boffin

Re: Long File Paths ?!

The long path limitation is to protect older applications (and poorly written modern ones) where the developer might still be assuming that paths cannot exceed 260 characters. Such applications might not work properly or experience dangerous buffer overflows. I would imagine Explorer limits itself in order to discourage users from making directory paths that are too long for legacy applications.

Any application that is being properly written can either use the registry setting mentioned earlier or prefix all paths with the string "\\?\" when calling API methods. NTFS supports paths of more than 32,000 characters.

So it's a protection for the vast number of legacy applications and programmers that occupy the Windows ecosystem but easily worked around for those who know what they are doing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Long File Paths ?!

A legacy OS for legacy software.

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Silver badge

Re: Long File Paths ?!

If you want your application to use long paths then it needs to have this entry in the manifest:

Or, like, you know, use the Windows file APIs correctly, in the manner described in the MSDN documentation(1). Then you can go up to more than 32000 characters in a full path.

(1) It's annoying rather than hard.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: easily worked around for those who know what they are doing.

I know what I'm doing, I'm drinking the linux kool-aid and spouting my mouth off about an OS I neither use nor understand!

Stupid Windows!!!!

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MJI
Silver badge

Re: Long File Paths ?!

I still now use 8.3 for file names exclusively

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Anonymous Coward

Re: easily worked around for those who know what they are doing.

I'd say the majority of Linux users understand Windows more than most. They reached its limitations and moved away.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Long File Paths ?!

"long file paths has caused us problems at work, BUT the problem is really caused by users writing a frikking essay when they name files and folders, and having umpteen levels of folders .... when we have tools like Sharepoint available."

Simply saving a webpage as a PDF or mht or MAAF can create a very long filename. The problems normally hit when backing up or archiving when additonal folder layers or longer folder names take some total character lengths over the limit....but that's when the fun starts, trying to get back to source and change / shorten filenames etc.

As far as Sharepoint is concerned, last time I used it a few years ago, it was even worse, there were whole project sub-sub-folders that refused to save to it. We stopped using it as a result.

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Facepalm

Re: Long File Paths ?!

As far as Sharepoint is concerned, last time I used it a few years ago, it was even worse, there were whole project sub-sub-folders that refused to save to it. We stopped using it as a result.

Oh gawd, yes. I first encountered it when writing a data recovery tool for it in the early 00s. Its menu structure was a bit convoluted (menus to the left, menus to the right, menus along the top and context menus in the corner). But the most recent incarnation is worse. Why is 'Check Out' on the 'More' menu of the context menu? And checking in involves dragging the replacement document onto the browser then choosing Yes to replace it then you have to find the check-in menu item.

Sharepoint is very configurable so it's probably just that we're using the default template but it ain't pleasant. Oh and of course it's following the modern 'fat fingered tablet user' design methodology so that all I can see on my 1900 x 1020 monitor is the main menu and two documents.

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At GruntyMcPugh...

I can give an example of the stupidity of directory tree nesting to the point of absurdity.

I was using Wget to grab a copy of the English language plain text files from Project Gutenberg & it took nearly three continuous days to download ~11GiB as ~75K files across... and I'm not making this up... over Fifty Thousand subdirectories.

For example, the file 12345.txt would be saved as ..\1\2\3\4\5\12345\12345.txt. For all of nearly Seventy-Five Thousand files.

After the download was done & I could start to uncluster that particular fuck, I reorganized it down to those same ~75K files but had reduced it down to *Nine* subdirectories.

What had been ~11GiB of data as individually compressed single text files, uncompressed & then recompressed as the entire Wget scrape into a single Zip file, came to a mere 4.8GiB. As in the size of a single DVD ISO.

So ~11GiB & 75K files over 50K subdirectories, reduced to 4.8GiB & 1 file. I think the folks at PG deserve kudo's for the project itself, but whomever is in charge of their storeage design needs a serious smack upside the head. =-\

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At the AC, re: fucking with Windows...

Another amusing trick was to write a batch file that saved Alt+256 as "A.txt" then did the following loop: type a.txt>b.txt, type b.txt>a.txt, until it crashed the system due to a full hard drive. Rename the last full A or B file as "File_Id.diz", Zip compress it as small as possible, delete the A & B text files, & run the batch file again.

After about 5 or 6 loops you would wind up with a Zip file of a size that wouldn't raise suspicion, to which you could add any other Exe file to make it look legit. Once you uploaded it to a BBS & the automated system would try extracting the File_Id.diz file to use as the official description of the file & it's contents, that file would erupt into a multi gigabyte file in an age when hard drives were measured in mere megabytes.

Cue one crashed system that was essentially rendered unable to do anything until the owner deleted that File_Id.diz file to clear the space (if not the Zip file as well), & then reboot to reclaim the free space.

This trick brought to you by someone whom was challenged to "find a way to crash my (BBS) without triggering my A/V subsystem!"

It did exactly that & did it in spades, for it used his own computer doing exactly what he told it to do, to unpack a normally ~5Kb text file into the ~1GiB "empty" (Alt+256 is the ASCII code for Space) file that ate all the free space on his drive. No more BBS until he deletes the file, recovers the space, & then buys me pizza for beating his challenge.

He ended up writing a script that checked the unpacked size of every file & disallowed it if it exceeded more than a megabyte or two. Darn, foiled again! =-D

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Long File Paths ?!

"As you were told last time you posted this rant"

And as YOU were told when you wrote this nonsense reply, Microsoft added a flag for this, so if you don't want your badly-written apps to crash THEN DON'T SET THE FLAG.

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Re: easily worked around for those who know what they are doing.

I know what I'm doing, I'm drinking the linux kool-aid and spouting my mouth off about an OS I neither use nor understand!

Linux users understand Windows alright.

It's one of the reasons we choose not to use it.

Linux users also often have to use Windows as well.

It's the main reason we chose to use Linux when we have the choice.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Long File Paths ?!

"A legacy OS for legacy software."

Windows 10 supports those too - Ubuntu is in the Windows App Store.

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Re: At the AC, re: fucking with Windows...

"

(Alt+256 is the ASCII code for Space)

"

Umm - Alt+256 would be 0x100 which is a 9 bit value. ASCII space is 0x20 (Alt+032)

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Re: Long File Paths ?!

I regularly get bitten by this one. The other times are attempts to install Oracle or Adobe software from a hard drive for one damned reason or another.

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Unhappy

Re: Long File Paths ?!

"If you want your application to use long paths then it needs to have this entry in the manifest"

Yeah, that's *ANOTHER* irritation that Micro-$HAFT has done to change Win32 applications: they added the FORNICATING MANIFEST which you *HAVE* to use for certain things to avoid *NIGHTMARE* scenarios for 'your application', such as being confused for an installer if the name resembles something that *might* be a setup utility [whether it is or not], since Vista.

But I suspect they want to go "UWP-only" at some point, so Win32 may become a thing of the Windows 7 past...

And Micro-$HAFT could have SIMPLY added another API function (20 years ago) to fix their shell, one that respects "longer than 260 character" paths.

related, the article linked to a site that showed the appearance of the latest "new, shiny" and it had a link to a $5 "light media player" - yes you have to BUY it from "the Store". That's a floated 'trial balloon' from Micro-$haft. And the appearance of VLC in the panel above (apparently a UWP version - *shudder*) was an abomination that I pray to the gods of programming *NEVER* *APPEARS* *ON* *ANY* *OTHER* *PLATFORM* {especially Linux or BSD}.

And of course the 2D FLATSO looks JUST as ugly, perhaps even uglier than before.

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