back to article The old New: Windows veteran explains that menu item

Microsoft veteran Raymond Chen has addressed a question that has occurred to most Windows users one time or another: why does Windows have a "New" menu? Right-clicking in an empty space on the desktop or file explorer fires up a context menu in Windows. The menu has a number of actions including a 'New' menu item (or 'New item …

  1. karlkarl Silver badge

    "Who among us can say they never created a new class or project by copying an existing one, and then deleting everything inside?"

    Typically if I notice myself doing this it probably means the project (or class) has too much boiler-plate and should be fixed.

    I recall a version of windows, when I create a new bitmap from that menu, it simply created a broken bmp that couldn't be opened in paint. I avoided it ever since. I suppose if Microsoft were pretending to be "modern" they would have more formats to select from too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or, you know, you created a blank template of the project?

      Which we literally learned in high school, from the computer class teacher, as part of a lesson on how to use basic word processing skill to save time? He even promoted code re-use.

      Feel free to check it in and out of Git if it makes you feel better though. :)

      Most frequent use I have of this feature is still "New Text Document", the swiss army knife of basic computing. New shortcut doesn't get a ton of mileage but launches a wizard that will let you find the file you want and drop the shortcut back where you wanted it. Seems like nothing until you try to watch a mac user create a shortcut to a network share that is read only to them.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Or, you know, you created a blank template of the project?

        > Seems like nothing until you try to watch a mac user create a shortcut to a network share that is read only to them

        Eh?! I haven't done that on Mac since 1992 (Mac OSs 6 & 7) but back then all you had to do was click on it, choose Make Alias, and drag it where you wanted it.

        Now, MacOSX broke aliases (copy your disk--> all the new aliases are dud)(plus variable "respecting" of aliases in various contexts).

        But what on EARTH has Apple done now to bugger something as trivial as aliasing a read-only network disk?!

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

          Re: Or, you know, you created a blank template of the project?

          Nothing - the OP was wrong.

          I dont have a RO network share to hand but it just allowed me to create an alias to my OneDrive folder which itself is some kinda pointer thing and not a real folder at all afaik.

      2. ThomH Silver badge

        Re: Or, you know, you created a blank template of the project?

        Here's what I usually see when a Mac user tries to create a shortcut to a network share:

        They drag the network share icon to where they want the shortcut, holding down the option+control buttons, and release.

        Spoiler: if they're doing something that involves connecting to a network share, in an environment that hasn't already been dummified, they probably know how to use a computer.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Do you even use Wondows?

      Many applications, when installed, add their file types to the New context popup. I have never had a file made this way fail to open, and I use this method daily.

      1. chuBb. Silver badge

        Re: Do you even use Wondows?

        Couldn't live with out it, that and ctrl+shift+n for a new folder, and right shift+right click (default shell here command)

    3. NIck Hunn

      "Who among us can say they never created a new class?"

      I suspect 99.99% of Windows users, who are not programmers. But why bother with them if you work for Microsoft?

      1. Malcolm 1

        Raymond Chen's blog is most definitely aimed at software developers - so for the intended audience his comment is entirely apt.

    4. ChrisC Silver badge

      "I recall a version of windows, when I create a new bitmap from that menu, it simply created a broken bmp that couldn't be opened in paint."

      Windows 10 doesn't even attempt to create a broken file, what you get is a zero-byte placeholder which may or may not then be correctly interpreted by whatever image-based software you attempt to open it in.

      Paint itself doesn't actually complain, and simply opens up into the same default view (albeit with the addition of the filename already setup for you) you'd get if you just opened Paint directly, though so far that's the only image-aware software I've found that can do anything other than flag the file as broken.

      Which then raises an interesting problem, because the default open action for a file with a .bmp suffix is to pass it to the Photos app, and that's one of the myriad of image-aware bits of software that can't do anything with this placeholder.

      So if the intent behind the New menu is to allow document-centric users to create new documents without needing to have an appreciation for which application is then used to edit said documents, the fact that these users would then need to know that Paint not only can be used to edit bitmaps in general, but in this case appears to be the best, if not only, option for editing this placeholder "bitmap", would seem to be a bit of a stumbling block...

    5. man_iii

      Oldie but a goodie

      I am pretty sure that this 'New' file usually is just a placeholder without the actual format binary data populating said file.

      Looks like CompSci education is further devolving into blindly cut copy paste .... without teaching much of the fundamentals. To create any binary file you should be taught to find the appropriate program that can create or generate it correctly. Not copy existing one delete everything and reuse it as your own. Watchout for digital watermarks embedded in file metadata !!!!

  2. aerogems

    Always an important consideration

    Your experiences do not represent the sum total of everyone else's. There was an article here on El Reg the other day talking about right clicking the taskbar to get the task manager being second nature. I always use the Ctrl-Shift-Esc combo, others might use Ctrl-Alt-Del and then select the task manager option. Some people like to spend hours organizing their start menu groups, I have spent hours working to retrain myself to use the search function.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Always an important consideration

      I agree. Some people have been around computers a while and are therefore application-centric; some people came to computers through strictly-GUI interfaces and are therefore document-centric. Make an OS that caters to all.

      I await the cat-calls from the "Olde Tymers" who will complain every time something is not done to their personal view :-P

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: Always an important consideration

        I am sure there will be cat calls. I've made a few myself over some of the odd UI choices MS have thrown through.

        The thing is, my personal feeling is that Windows 7 struck the right balance from a usability perspective.

        Windows 8 could have carried that on - indeed, the beta releases had a registry key that would restore the Windows 7 style start menu, but MS decided to try and force a touch-based UI onto a desktop device with a mouse and keyboard (I obviously include laptops in that). Underneath the madness, Windows 8 itself wasn't even a particularly bad OS

        Moving things for the sake of moving them - or even moving them but giving no clear guidance or explanations as to why they're being moved just tends to frustrate people.

        And remember - we here in the El Reg forums are NOT your typical user by a long stretch. I have had to deal with users who are still so computer illiterate that the slightest of changes can cause them days or weeks of pain to relearn their day to day tasks.

        The UI changes from Windows 2000 -> XP - Vista -> 7 were fairly modest. Things tended for the most part to be where people expected them in the language they knew. 8 was a travesty and 8.1 barely made it any better. 10 started to bring things back to a normal that people recognised, but again there was this disconnection with e.g. some things in control panel, some in settings and some even in both! You could resize elements of the UI (I accidentally resized part of the taskbar icons once accidentally with a touchpad and swipe gestures).

        Part of the problem seems to be that MS are trying, somewhat unsuccessfully, to make one OS for all but fucking it up.

        It shouldn't be hard, either:

        Home edition - no domain join, gamebars and other shite that have no place in an enterprise and forced updates (I know that will win me no prizes but I think enough of us have had to deal with the horrors of activation-hacked versions of XP or just never-updated versions of later versions to justify this).

        Professional/Workstation/Enterprise (call it what you will) version - can join a domain, has none of the tat, has no telemetry, has control over deploying patches.

        Leave the really handy small applications alone like Notepad and Paint and add a decent snipping tool back in because lord knows those things are really really useful when you just need to grab something quickly, note something quickly or are generating e.g. install documents.

        MS seem to have really lost sight of the fact that whilst yes, it's expensive and time consuming to do bulk upgrades every 3, 5, 7 years or whatever a place chooses, it's just as important to have a stable system that people understand, can find things, and aren't battling a constant change and that under-pressure support staff aren't having to relearn every 12-18 months!

        Something they actually do with LTSC, but oh wait...yeah it isn't a day-to-day general purpose OS apparently.

        TL/DR - stop moving stuff for the sake of moving it and/or at least explain why it's being moved :-)

        1. 42656e4d203239
          Pint

          Re: Always an important consideration

          Point of order.....

          >>has control over deploying patches.

          W10 20H2 (at least - it may apply to earlier versions; I don't know) does have control over deploying patches - it's in Group Policy (Computer Config/Policies/admin templates/windows components/windows update...) granted that is nearly the equivalent of a locked filing cabinet in a disused toilet with a broken light bub and a sign on the door saying beware of the leopard... but it is there.

          You don't even have to have a WSUS server to control the updates (though that gives you even finer control over what you offer to clients and when, especially if you use any of the fine third party WSUS management powershell scripts to assist)

          Aside from that, an excellent post! Have a belated --->

          1. Annihilator Silver badge

            Re: Always an important consideration

            While that's true, it does rather eff up the GUI for windows update when you start tinkering in there (it just greys out all the boxes and puts in red text "some of your settings are controlled by your company's policies" - aka, "I've no idea what this state means, so I'm passing the problem to you".

            And I've had a machine that lost the ability to update at all after some modifications in that space, but given the propensity for windows update to crap out and fail for no apparent reason, that may have been a coincidence.

          2. X5-332960073452
            Unhappy

            Re: Always an important consideration

            Try running gpedit.msc on the 'home' version of Windows !!!

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Always an important consideration

          "TL/DR - stop moving stuff for the sake of moving it and/or at least explain why it's being moved"

          That should apply to every interface for every piece of software.

          Also, if possible, add a "Classic" option to get everything back to the way it was. "Classic" might trail current by about 2 versions, only adding in the stuff from the brevious Classic that has proved its worth in the interim.

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: "stop moving stuff for the sake of moving it"

            I've been in[to] computers for 43 years. I look at things differently (as I do with many other things in life) - I don't mind the changes. Why? If we never moved things, changed things, "just because", we'd all still be using the Win3.1x Program Manager paradigm.

            Because people are generally resistant to change.

            And this is supposed to be an avant-garde industry. We invent, we move...we break things. Constantly. We break things because we are human and can't do any better, we are ALL fallible. We invent, we MOVE, because it's the only way to ADVANCE. To create better. To constantly seek improvement, to constantly refine.

            Sometimes it doesn't work as intended, see: "fallible". But if we constantly give in to the naysayers, the conservatives of our nature that change without knowing that the most likely/best outcome is not "bad", we would never go *anywhere*. We'd still be riding horse and buggies because the horseless carriage was an utterly ridiculous, devil-worshiping exercise.

            We NEED to change in order to advance the human condition. To reuse a phrase I am/was proud to associate myself with the source of: "To seek out...To boldly go".

            So, as Microsoft seeks to tweak and change their interface designs, hoping to seek a future balance in the improvements, I'm not so fixated on sticking to just the here-and-now's design that I rebel. I *rebel* when something is broken, when the change stops it from working - completely. Changed in some manner? Let's see if it works, maybe and hopefully better, but damn it at least make sure it at least functions!

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: "stop moving stuff for the sake of moving it"

              we'd all still be using the Win3.1x Program Manager paradigm.

              And that would be a bad thing because.........

              1. Snake Silver badge

                Re: "And that would be a bad thing because"

                Oh, if only just to start, because the Program Manager was so good at user experience during multitasking, like letting you know status and all programs open...

                If you don't use Taskbar Thumbnail Preview on Win10's taskbar, plus icon stacking on things like open browser tabs, then it would be logical as to why you think Program Manager was any good at all. In comparison to where we are now, PM is/was junk and needed to be replaced. Which is why it was.

                1. man_iii

                  Re: "And that would be a bad thing because"

                  FIXING bugs and retaining the minimal footprint of Progman and ability to run fileman and use your own shellUI program and integrate with enterprise network login programs should have been Microshits responsibility but nooooooo. ..... Lets instead launch win95 and start breaking every 16bit program thats not from them.

            2. bombastic bob Silver badge
              Unhappy

              Re: "stop moving stuff for the sake of moving it"

              Because people are generally resistant to change.

              particularly when:

              * the change is NOT an improvement

              * the change requires a learning curve

              * the change breaks something I like

              * the change was IMPOSED and was not an option nor a new feature that I had to "buy a new one" to get because I wanted it

              You have to look at the nature of UI changes since the mid 2000's, beginning with Vista, "The Ribbon", Gnome 3, Australis, "The Chrome Look", Windows 8, Windows 10, yotta yotta.

              It's NOT for the better... [when 7 and 8 machines were next to each other on the shelves, the 7 machines sold out while the 8.x machines collected dust, all other things pretty much equal. I don't recall which 'El Reg' article pointed it out, but I definitely remember it, and it was so long ago it's become hard to find, and I looked recently even with no success...]

              And *YES*, I *DO* resist change, when it is WRONG TO CHANGE!!!

              Changes in Windows that I liked:

              * Win 3.0 3D Skeuomorphic look

              * Visual C++ vs earlier (MS C/C++ with CodeView in text mode with dual monitors)

              * Windows '95 [hybrid 32-bit and multi-thread]

              * Windows NT 4.0 [even better]

              * Win 2k and XP [which could revert to the 2k style start menu]

              after that, not so much. 7 was welcome because it was "Not Vista" but I *STILL* like 2k and XP better!!!

              Can't ANYONE JUST ADMIT that THE CHANGES AFTER 7 (and for Vista) SIMPLY *SUCKED* FOR THE CONSUMER???

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: "stop moving stuff for the sake of moving it"

                I just agreed with Bombastic Bob. What he wrote made sense to me! I'd go for a lie down to recover, but I worry that I'll wake up and amanfrommars will be starting to sound sensible to me too.

      2. Julz Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Always an important consideration

        Yep, what's wrong with a prompt and a selection of commands with meaningless three or four letter names.

        And while your at it, get off my grass...

        1. John Robson Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Always an important consideration

          Surely that should be goml?

          1. David 132 Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Always an important consideration

            I think it's /usr/bin/get --direction off --object lawn --ownership my, but I might be getting confused with Powershell...

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Always an important consideration

          What OS are you using that has meaningless command names?

          Not UNIX, surely. "ls" = "list segments". "mv" = "move". "rm" = "remove". "awk" = "Aho, Weinberger, Kernighan". "bash" = "Bourne-Again Shell". "dd" = "I'm making fun of JCL".

          I mean, it's not OS/400 ("wrkgrppdm" for "Work with Groups using the Program Development Manager", duh), but they're not meaningless.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Always an important consideration

            Hey, no ripping on OS/400. You remember (or rely on sticky notes) for the 5-6 program names you actually need to use, then just mash F1, F4, and F10 as required!

      3. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

        Re: Always an important consideration

        This fifty year vet uses whichever is the quickest. One of things that drives me nuts with Apple is that there is only one or a couple of ways to "do something."

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Always an important consideration

          "This fifty year vet uses whichever is the quickest."

          Or most suitable to the way of working.

          If you have several projects on the go, each with several-to-a-lot of files involved the one you want at the moment might well be off the end of a Recent... menu (the alternative is a menu so long it takes ags to find anything). In that case a folder for each project - with sub-folders as the project grows) holding the relative documents is the way to go. For app-centric is probebly best.

          At the moment I'm busy with a sort of recreation of the old Windows Cardfile program - but for Linux, of course - which will hold text, image or tabular "cards" with a view to it holding a lot of project resources.

          1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            Re: Typo!

            > a menu so long it takes ags to find anything

            That should be:

            a menu so long it takes arghs to find anything

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Typo!

              OK >

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Always an important consideration

          My experience with Apple (at least since OSX came into being) is that there are alternative ways to do most things (just as there are with Windows). I regularly use Win10, MacOS and Linux and have to confess that I usually find the Apple options no worse, often better. For example, in the MS Office apps, the Apple versions still have the menu bar so, if the ribbon option isn't obvious, I can go straight to the menu. Not everything is perfect - but my main complaint with them all is that they regularly change things in the pretence of improvement, whereas the old way worked fine. It wouldn't be an issue if the changes were optional but they're part of upgrades that see older versions drop out of support.

          Just my 2¢ worth...

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Always an important consideration

            Perhaps that's true. Personally, when I'm called on to suffer OS X (generally because of some intractable problem on my wife's Mac, which is usually because the diagnostics and controls available to the user in the GUI are rubbish), I always use the following procedure:

            1. Open Terminal.

            2. Repeat until the problem is fixed:

            2.1. Use command-line tools.

            2.2. Mutter imprecations at Apple for every deviation from BSD userland.

            3. Close Terminal.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Always an important consideration

        My biggest gripe is changing "Add and Remove Remove Programs" to "Program and Features"

      5. ChrisC Silver badge

        Re: Always an important consideration

        Whilst it's entirely reasonable to dismiss the views of people who want things to be done their way and their way only, I suspect many of us "old timers" would be perfectly happy for new ways of doing stuff to be added to our OS of choice provided we were still given the choice of being able to continue doing things our way.

        So absolutely, respecting the differing opinions of others is important, it's just a shame this lesson has been lost on the people responsible for designing modern software in the mad rush to embrace the latest new fads in UI design.

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Always an important consideration

          Exactly. To repeat a comment I made in these parts at the time of Windows 8's introduction:

          "We wanted familiar ways to do new things. What Microsoft is forcing upon us is new ways to do the familiar things."

          Still topical, alas, and I wish it weren't.

      6. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Always an important consideration

        I await the cat-calls from the "Olde Tymers" who will complain every time something is not done to their personal view

        Well obviously my way is the best way. If it wasn't I'd do things the better way. Jeez.

        In all seriousness, while I'll certainly made the argument for certain tools being inherently better for particular use cases, in general I don't believe my preferred tools are better than the alternatives. I don't want to use any code editor other than vim, for example, but I wouldn't suggest any of my coworkers switch to it. My facility with vim is very much a historical accident.

        Platt has a good discussion of this in Why Software Sucks, which was one of the two required texts for my students when I taught web-application development. He has a chapter titled "Your user is not you" (or something like that – don't have my copy handy at the moment).

    2. cornetman Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Always an important consideration

      > I always use the Ctrl-Shift-Esc combo,

      Same with me and I remember thinking the exact same thing when I read that article.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Always an important consideration

        The thing about those 3 button short cuts, and ctrl+letter ones is that you need to learn about them, think it's worthwhile remembering them and remember to keep using them so that that you continue to remember them.

        Most ordinary users are likely not to get to the first hurdle and will not have a clue about them, even if they've even heard of them. If they get told about one of them, there's a chance they'll go on to use it if it's useful. Maybe even learn another one at a later date. Asking them to learn more than one at a time is just heading into overload for people who are concentrating on doing their actual job.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: Always an important consideration

          An important point. Although UI designers go on about discoverability, how might one ever discover a keystroke combo?

          I learned the ctrl-alt-del trick so long ago I can't remember, probably 3.0 days? I learned the taskbar trick in the last year, and I don't recall using it; but I've never heard (to remember) of ctrl-alt-esc... and I've been driving desktop computers since before DOS.

          What has irritated me most about Windows is that nothing stays the same, even in concept. Gratuitous UI changes apart - I suppose the designers have to do something, and you can always turn off the special effects when you know how - a new windows version should operate *at least* in the same way as a previous version. Add new functions, sure, but don't take them away because only one percent of the users out there actually use them. When you've got a few billion units out in the world, that's a few tens of millions of unhappy users.

          I think that a cascading start menu should always be present, because search is only useful if you know what you're looking for, rather than what sort of thing you're looking for: I might not be able to remember Eclipse's name, but I know that if I look in Menu/Programming there's a good chance that I'll find it, or another editor or IDE, without having to know a name.

          Certainly, most users don't use a fraction of the programs on their PC, and probably only need search the name of the browser... and probably have a desktop shortcut for that. But for those who use a computer for more than a browser or a typewriter, a menu is extremely helpful to find a program you might use once in a blue moon.

          That said; I'm just ranting. Since I retired, I am no longer required to use Windows in any of its incarnations, and I choose not to.

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Always an important consideration

            Keyboard shortcuts are underlined and menu accelerators are written on the menu. Except that MS have abolished both of those. :(

            Change for changes sake, without even any understanding of why things were like that in the first place. Nevermind. Perhaps the next round of changes will accidentally rediscover CUA and we'll all have discoverable UIs again.

            1. AndrueC Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Always an important consideration

              Keyboard shortcuts are underlined and menu accelerators are written on the menu. Except that MS have abolished both of those. :(

              Not quite. You can bring them back (as I have done) through the Ease of Access Keyboard settings. Toggle the 'Underline access keys when available' option.

              Also - they are all called 'accelerator keys'. It's a pet hate of mine that so many modern applications aren't using them.

              1. druck Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: Always an important consideration

                You are surprised most modern applications are not using an OS feature which has been deliberately hidden for years, so most users don't know about it?

            2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

              Re: Keyboard shortcuts

              > Keyboard shortcuts are underlined ... Except that MS have abolished both of those. :(

              Actually, they're still there, just invisible. So if you can remember them (or have automatic muscle memory of them :) , you can still use them.

              Eg in Excel, to do any funky Name work now requires mousing to a bizarre sub-ribbon then carrrreeeefully mousing to hit about a 2-pixel microsquare floating within another sub-box, to get to the raw tech definition screen.

              It used to be Insert --> Name --> Define.

              So just let your fingers twitch automatically: Alt I N D and bingo.

              1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

                Re: Keyboard shortcuts

                'Course, as you (and everyone)(and me) point out, it's bloody stupid not to just have the Affordance in the first place. And they already had it. Why DELETE it??

              2. Joe W Silver badge

                Re: Keyboard shortcuts

                Except that some keyboard shortcuts are defined depending on the language you use. In an international environment this can be just crazy. Some have Norwegian language settings, others English, other machines in my family other languages.

                I hate it.

                (it's mostly word, though)

                (which I don't like)

              3. DuncanLarge

                Re: Keyboard shortcuts

                > 2-pixel microsquare

                I'm stealing that one :D

                1. ChrisC Silver badge

                  Re: Keyboard shortcuts

                  Although given how difficult it can be to find the trigger points for some UI elements in Windows these days, I get the feeling MS have gone to sub-pixel addressing now - a 2 pixel target patch would be a relative behemoth in comparison.

                  Mind you, I'm wondering what sort of weird screen resolution the OP was using that can create a square out of two pixels... Last time I encountered anything like that was back in my days as an Amiga user (640x256 Hires PAL), everything I've used since then has had square(ish) pixels.

          2. Calum Morrison

            Re: Always an important consideration

            You might have discovered CTRL ALT DEL in 3.0 but it wasn't to bring up the task manager - it's been a while since I endured an MS OS that old, but didn't CTRL ALT DEL just instantly reboot in those days?

            IIRC it wasn't until NT4 that it brought up the login and task manager options; Win 9x didn't employ it for much more than restarting the whole PC too if memory serves.

            1. entfe001

              Re: Always an important consideration

              IIRC Ctrl-Alt-Del for DOS-based Windows up to ME (you know what I mean) jumped to a BSOD-like text screen where you were given two options: either press again the combo to forcefully restart the computer, or press any other key to return to the desktop... which sometimes failed to do so and completely hung the computer.

              It was on the NT line where this combo brought up the Winlogon. If logged in, you were shown a sole window where you could end your session, turn off orderedly the computer, bring up Task Manager and some other things too (I remember 6 buttons there). On earlier NT versions (not sure about W2K), you were actually required to type this combo to make the login prompt appear.

              Heck, now I'm aware I'm old...

              1. Calum Morrison

                Re: Always an important consideration

                Yeah, that sounds about right. DOS just rebooted straight away but 9x did give you a sort of option that sometimes worked. Ahh, happy days...

              2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: Always an important consideration

                you were actually required to type this combo to make the login prompt appear

                Yes, and that was a Good Thing. It's called the "Secure Attention Key (SAK) sequence", and it's a well-known security control from the days of the Rainbow Books.

                It's a countermeasure for login-prompt spoofing. You go to a shared machine and see a login prompt. How do you know if it's the actual OS prompt, or a user-written application which just presents the same UI and will harvest your credentials? The SAK solves this problem because the OS prevents interception of the SAK by unprivileged programs, and when a SAK is received, it takes control of the display and keyboard and presents the real login prompt.

                Other OSes had SAKs too, though they were often an optional feature that was enabled by an administrator. AIX had that capability, for example, implemented in one of the tty discipline drivers.

                On Windows you can still enable the SAK in Security Policy or Group Policy (I forget which – possibly both). I always do, as well as requiring the "secure desktop" for all Windows signon prompts.

                Unfortunately a great many applications these days are web-based and use the browser for authentication, and few of them properly support MFA. But we do what we can.

            2. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: Always an important consideration

              Yes, the original 3 fingered salute was to escape a locked up/looped computer.

              1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

                Re: Always an important consideration

                Yeah, it was the untrappable interrupt.

                I laughed out loud when I saw it'd been repurposed to "exit" the now-multiuser login shell (or rather, get out to its surface/envelope), at a big demo of the imminent NT that Microsoft held for us. But then twigged that actually made good sense.

                I used it for task mgr until I discovered the control shift escape shortcut. Only learned of the right-click taskbar option a coupla years ago. And only discovered the control alt escape shortcut in this forum thread :)

                1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                  Re: Always an important consideration

                  Yeah, it was the untrappable interrupt.

                  No, it wasn't. On the original IBM PC the NMI (Non-Maskable Interrupt) was used for memory parity errors. Control-Alt-Delete was implemented in the BIOS keyboard code. You can find it easily if you have the IBM PC Technical Reference.

                  That also meant that in the DOS days you could easily intercept Control-Alt-Delete by changing the interrupt vector for the keyboard. My first non-trivial assembly program for the PC was a keyboard-enhancement TSR that hooked the keyboard interrupt, did things like key remapping and macro expansion, and then jumped back into the BIOS at the correct location (depending on what it was doing). I don't think it intercepted CAD, but it could have.

            3. DuncanLarge

              Re: Always an important consideration

              > CTRL ALT DEL just instantly reboot in those days

              The three fingered salute would instantly reboot a DOS machine, or if logging into an NT machine all the way up to win 10 it was the way to access the login fields, getting past the lockscreen.

              I seem to remember that part of its function for an NT login was to have the login scree (or something behind it) restart each time a user logged in to help prevent user details being hijacked by ensuring that the correct login prompt was running and not a fake one. Not sure if thats true.

              On a Linux system the salute usually initiates a reboot (when in a console).

          3. Terry 6 Silver badge
            Flame

            Re: Always an important consideration

            That has been my regular rant about the START menu in the last years. Grouping programmes in it according to function is difficult and getting access is not obvious. Especially since it has two locations.

            But if you have some seldom used software, particularly if the publisher thinks their own name is more important than something that identifies the function, it's going to be annoying and even difficult to find it in an alphabetic list of programmes. That useful little text to voice programme "!Balabolka" or some such name for example.

            Add to the annoyance the programmes that can't be moved because they use a different system to create entries, like those inbuilt apps, or re-add themselves to the alphabetic list like Bitdefender, or even add a whole bloody folder with its own set of shortcuts inside like Dropbox. . I curse those publishers who think it's OK to include a shortcut for "<programme name> on the web"

          4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Always an important consideration

            "I think that a cascading start menu should always be present, because search is only useful if you know what you're looking for, rather than what sort of thing you're looking for"

            And that means that it should be organised on functional lines, not alphabetical.

            1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

              Re: Always an important consideration

              Well yes, that's kinda my point: my Mint menu offers at the top level Accessories, Education, Games, Graphics, Internet, Office, Other (!), Programming, Sound and Video, Administration, and Preferences.

              I can't help feeling that while a tagging search might be useful, trying to parse a search for 'that program I used once to modify some sort of electric book, I can't remember which...' is probably a waste of effort on a desktop OS.

            2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Always an important consideration

              Reasonable for some people, but I want mine alphabetical always, thanks.

              Of course, it would be even better if Windows applications didn't go to such lengths to use obscure program names, and Windows installers didn't scatter binaries about the filesystem, so I could just start stuff from the command line. The programs I use most often are on my path and I know their names, but for less-frequently-used things I still have to look through the accursed Start Menu.

              Also, Windows 10 broke the behavior of the Start Menu's search box when you have the (misnamed) "X Mouse" feature1 enabled, Ctrl-Esc followed by typing simply closes the Start Menu because as far as it's concerned it's lost the focus. Same thing for WIndows+R. You have to actually click on the start-menu icon if you want keyboard input to go to it. Some other Microsoft applications also misbehave when an implicit focus policy is enabled – Venomous Studio is particularly broken in this regard.

              1Misnamed because as any fule kno X11 doesn't enforce any focus policy. That's up to the window manager. If you run X11 without a window manager, it uses an implicit policy, but that's not how most people use X.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Always an important consideration

            Start menu search also needs to be smart enough to figure out that if I start typing "LabVie", I want the LabView executible, not the LabView License Manager, LabView help folder, or any of the other cruft Windows 10 suggests.

            (Maybe Windows is just trying to delay my suffering at having to use a "programming language" that appears to have been invented by a psychotic plumber).

      2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Always an important consideration

        When using remote control programs, I've developed the habit of right-clicking the taskbar. That way I know which computer is going to interpret the command.

    3. DuncanLarge

      Re: Always an important consideration

      I use both, ctrl-alt-del and right clicking on the task bar.

      What I no longer do is use the start menu. Bloody thing barley works these days. I mean when you install a program only for it to not appear in the start menu thus needing you to search, or even NAVIGATE to programfiles well you get used to using the search box.

      Even if that damn thing is also broken, where it will search the ****ing internet for notepad.exe because its still starting up in the background and hasnt realised that there is stuff installed locally yet.

    4. goodjudge

      Re: Always an important consideration

      "There was an article here on El Reg the other day talking about right clicking the taskbar to get the task manager being second nature. I always use the Ctrl-Shift-Esc combo, others might use Ctrl-Alt-Del and then select the task manager option."

      I missed the article and, despite X years of computer use spent learning as many shortcuts as I could, I had no idea about right-clicking the taskbar. Until now it was always C-A-D. Thanks for improving my day.

    5. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Always an important consideration

      >I have spent hours working to retrain myself to use the search function.

      and then having to search the internet etc. to find where something is, because even though you used the relevant application's name (as used in Windows once you've found the right place), Search has been unable to find said application...

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Always an important consideration

        I kind of got the impression that if you let it Windows was looking for an excuse to search on the internet - and being of a cynical nature that this was because Microsoft wants to move everyone in to a cloud model with subscription software that lives on their cloud servers.

    6. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Always an important consideration

      I have spent hours working to retrain myself to use the search function.

      search would be more useful if it DID! NOT! HIT! THE! INTERNET! first, or second even.

      (has this been fixed yet? no need to track me via a search engine, after all... I've simply been NOT using it, Cortana or otherwise, even back in 7 or XP when it was more sane and did not hit teh intarwebz)

      As for the 'new thingy' feature, I use it for directories ('Folders' for you young-uns) and (as mentioned) that all too useful "text documnt" for which I can provide a file extension [last I tried it]. Not very often, though, just sometimes when it's convenient. And I think you can do it inside of a ZIP archive.

      'new shortcut' on the desktop, also very useful.

      back in the day, one guy I knew would create nearly everything on the desktop like this, then move it where he wanted it afterwards.

  3. davidp231

    OS/2 did it the best... open up the Templates folder, copy item to location - and instant new document.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Hmm.... how is that simpler than just creating a blank document where you want it to be?

      1. davidp231

        The action of dropping a template file (e.g. a bitmap) creates an empty bitmap image you can open and edit.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Or a not empty document if you prefer

          Like forms, label templates, etc.

          I still keep a boxed copy of OS/2 in the server room to ward off evil spirits.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Because you create the image in the folder you want rather than fiddling with the Save As dialogue box when you want to save it. I still, far too frequently, find that files have been saved in the "wrong" folder.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Yes, this was the start of the whole "object oriented desktop" idea that was later also known as Taligent and Pink. One of the ideas being that content (in the form of documents) were more important than particular applications which would be relegated to providing services – you see the vestiges of this in Apple's poorly maintained services menu.

      Windows 95 copied as much of this as possible but, as a not a particularly OO system, was extremely limited in what could be offered. And, with Microsoft's revenue primarily coming from its suite of applications, had a vested interest in not letting, say OpenOffice become the default document editor… Now it's presumably going to use the approach to force feed everyone O365.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        (see my Cyberdog note, above)

        (Edit: errr, no: below)

      2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        To me as an engineer, the whole document-centric idea is unhelpful. I might have a dozen different programs on the system that can handle the same document, each in a subtly - or not so subtle - different way; different user interfaces, different abilities etc.

        Document-centric picks up the nail first, and then allows you to use only the approved hammer; application-centric picks up the hammer first and then looks for something to hit...

        But from MS's point of view, in which no-one ever uses anything other than an MS tool, D-C makes a certain kind of sense.

    3. AndrueC Silver badge

      Yes, the WPS was the best shell I've ever used as far as functionality and extensibility was concerned.

      Unfortunately until IBM relented and gave it multiple message queues it was also the worst. One locked application and you had to get someone else to Telnet in to regain control. My colleague and I had shortcuts on our desktops to help each other out(*).

      The support for REXX (and other languages) made it pretty awesome.

      Lotus implemented their OS/2 client (ccMail) entirely as extensions to WPS so the folders became just another folder on the desktop. Drag/drop to/from them from anywhere else. Pretty awesome at the time.

      (*)OS/2 was also a damn good platform on which to develop DOS and Win16 applications. No more machine crashes from errant code. If the VDM barfed you just spun up a new one.

      1. Down not across Silver badge
        Pint

        (*)OS/2 was also a damn good platform on which to develop DOS and Win16 applications. No more machine crashes from errant code. If the VDM barfed you just spun up a new one.

        Have an upvote and -->

        I had to do some some stuff in Delphi in the 90s (luckily only as a side as my main job was to run Sun and DEC systems) and got utterly disgusted at Windows crashing the whole box. Enter OS/2 Warp, after pain of getting networking up to speed (Warp Connect did not exist then yet) it was pure bliss. No more crashes (well not of the whole system anyway). Ran faster and more reliably the DEC pc (can't recall if it was 386 or 486).

        It was so much better than Windows for actually getting stuff done.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Happy

          You were doing well until you reminded me about network configuration in OS/2 :D

          Thankfully my memories are now pretty fuzzy but some part of my ageing brain had a panic attack when I thought about it.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          I remember Delphi 1 not working correctly on OS/2 Warp 3. Don't know if it was fixed later, but I switched back to Windows to make it working - then 32 bit versions arrived and OS/2 didn't support them.

        3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          If the VDM barfed you just spun up a new one.

          True with Warp. In OS/2 2, there was just a single "DOS box", and if that hung, it hung. You'd need to reboot to get it back. But the rest of the OS kept running, at least.

          On those occasions where we'd hang the 'box, we'd typically keep working until we wanted to test a potential fix, then reboot (or try it on a different machine). Not ideal but certainly much more comfortable than working under DOS.

      2. captain veg

        IBM relented

        Actually IBM wanted multiple message queues from the outset. They did already know a thing or two about timesharing systems. Microsoft insisted on having just the one.

        -A.

    4. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Or Cyberdog on old Mac OS. Create a blank document, and drag in whatever functionality you wanted in it.

      Now THAT'S a document-centric architecture!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a simple preference. Do you prefer to create your file and name it or do you prefer to create you file before naming it? Neither really matters in the grand scheme of things,

    Edit: You know thinking about this, this is really what sets users and programmers apart. It's the difference between I know what I'm going to do as apposed to what I think I'm going to try and do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      While I agree,

      I also will add that if you create the file first, then open it to edit, the autosave is more likely to work, and your users are more likely to be able to find the document.

      (Note: I advocate fixing bad autosave implementations, but since that is often out of our control, it is still worth noting as an alternative. One of the Microsoft apps deleted it's own autosave files before writing the updated version to disk, so if the second write failed, your work was toast. I still have a nervous tic where my left hand twitches in the shape of ctl-s every 90 seconds or so...)

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: While I agree,

        Ctrl-s

        I invigilate exams in my retirement. Getting the kids using PCs to save regularly is a major goal. Getting that to the use ctrl+s level is a definite win. It shouldn't be, because it shouldn't have to be, but there you go.

      2. DuncanLarge

        Re: While I agree,

        ctrl-s is practically an unconscious thing for me:

        type type type

        ctrl s

        type type

        ctrl s

        type type correct type correct type correct again and swear

        ctrl s

        And if I'm in emacs the same instinct automatically switches to

        c-x c-s

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: While I agree,

        Explicit saving is a User Interaction Model Smell.

        It made sense in the days when people were saving to floppies. These days it's a failure of imagination.

        I used to use Quicken. Quicken saves after every user action that changes the data. Add an entry? Save. Download records from your bank? Save. Happens automatically and invisibly.

        That sort of mechanism, plus versioning, non-fragile formats, automatic recovery, human readability, and where appropriate a stage/commit/rollback workflow, should be expected of most user-facing applications. Particularly of SaaS ones, where users are vulnerable to not only local failures but network and server ones as well. I am so tired of losing data, even a few lines of text, because the browser crashes or I miss and click the wrong button (because of course most web-app developers can't be bothered with proper keyboard navigation) or I lose network connectivity or what have you.

    2. Julz Silver badge

      > name.txt

  5. Felix Oxley

    IT Manager here. I use the New menu frequently. Especially to create a text file in a directory or having navigated to a synced sharepoint site to create a new .doc or .xls.

    1. FatGerman

      This comment merely supports the theory that the only people who know how to find stuff in Sharepoint are the IT dept.

      It is a very useful place to hide documents you need to write but don't want anybody to ever be able to read, though. "Oh yeah, I did document that process, it's in Sharepoint" is sometimes the only work you actually need to do.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Sharepoint: The Slough of Despond as a Service.

        Another good use of Sharepoint: "Oh, I'm pretty sure that document is on Sharepoint. I'll just find it and get back to you." [Leave for the remainder of the day, as this is functionally equivalent to searching for something on Sharepoint.]

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Same here. Use new text file almost every day when creating simple scripts or test files.

      1. Calum Morrison

        And only rename it to .bat once it's been written to ensure it opens in edit mode... And yes, for that matter, I also have to change the Explorer view to "show extensions for known file types", either on every fresh PC I use or in GP. Why the hell MS changed that back in 7(?) I don't know.

        1. DuncanLarge

          > I also have to change the Explorer view to "show extensions for known file types"

          Yes I hate how over the phone I'm trying to have someone rename a file to .bat but they of course have extensions hidden so its renamed as "filename.bat.txt"

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          That and,

          Full path in bar.

          Don't Hide files. (yes I know it's dangerous but I've been using a pc since dos/386 so I know which ones not to touch, I just like to have visibility of any suspicious files though that's changed over the years due to protected operating system files)

          List view applied to all folders.,.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            "This chainsaw is dangerous, so we made it invisible."

    3. sebacoustic

      Developer here. Yes I also use the "new" menu, for new .txt files and folders, and even the odd (spit) spreadsheet (spit).

      Sucks that it is so slow though, seems like it will leasurely peruse the registry for any programs that offer "new..." every time the submenu is popped. I find that annoying, it's the lazy "oh computers are so fast these days no need to think about performance..." attitude.

  6. Martin-R

    I find myself using right click, new more and more as Word etc make it more and more clicks to do ‘save as’ to a folder… Why Alt-F-A can’t just open a proper file dialog is beyond me :-(

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      FAIL

      > more and more clicks to do ‘save as’ to a folder

      This, more than anything, is what annoys me most about current Windows. It insists on putting OneDrive as the first choice save location - utterly oblivious to the fact that my employer has gone 'all in' with OneDrive so the Desktop and My Documents are already in OneDrive. Left hand meet right hand. :-(

      1. Cuddles Silver badge

        We've also gone all in with OneDrive. My favourite part is how all MS programs will immediately warn you about the dangers of opening files from the internet if you have the temerity to try to open the file you just created using the same program. It's not just the left hand not talking to the right, neither hand is capable of talking to itself.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Conversely, I refuse to use OneDrivel, so having that in the Save dialog is just a fucking waste of time.

        There was a period when I hated Microsoft somewhat less, thanks to the security improvements in Windows and the surprisingly not-entirely-terrible nature of the .NET Framework. They've done a fine job of bringing me to my senses since then.

    2. DuncanLarge

      Oh the days when you could do file->print

      Now its File->wait for the entire screen to redraw, then watch the look of the users face as they see big buttons for updates etc->move left->print

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The save option in office really really annoys me these days. Every single time I use it when making a copy of a file or creating two similar files in the same folder (think letters). It's word. It's literally designed to write letters which I will be keeping in the same place for reference. Which mammoth clown at Microsoft thought I would be putting them randomly all over my computer? To be fair they did create clippy and bob so I guess it's understandable.

  7. LenG

    Old old timer here

    I don't think I was aware of the context menu as such - the only time I rightt-click on the desktop is when I want to open the display settings/personalise items. I was genuinely unaware of the "New" option. I am marginally impressed that it offers me OpenDocument instead of MSOffice formats, though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Old old timer here

      "I am marginally impressed that it offers me OpenDocument instead of MSOffice formats, though."

      Your Open/Libre Office installation has registered the Opendocument into the New menu; Micros~1 Office installation registeres several of its document types in the same menu.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: Old old timer here

        You went Anonymous to post such an anodynely neutral internal tech note?

        ...

        !

        YOU ARE RAYMOND CHEN AND I CLAIM MY £10 !!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Old old timer here

          I did it just to annoy the good people here.

          :-)

  8. LDS Silver badge

    It would be more useful if it allowed specifc templates

    For example, in Word instead of opening a default blank document it would be more useful if user could customize it to create a new file from a specific template - i.e. New -> Standard contract.

    I guess it was designed when object-oriented "desktops" were fashionable (as well as file-specific contextual menus) - but properly using that required a deeper knowledge of Windows and Explorer - how to register properly all the required data into the registry, and often some COM implementation to make them work when not standard actions supplied by the system. Not what the average "enterprise" developer with the head still stuck in Windows 3.x and using development tools which didn't made easy to access those features was capable of.

    Anyway I use it to create new folders, and sometimes for plain text files in a folder I'm already in, then I can then rename with a different extesion (i.e. .py) and then open it with their editors, so I do not have to re-navigate to that folder.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: It would be more useful if it allowed specifc templates

      It does allow specific templates.

      https://windowsforum.com/threads/add-file-templates-to-the-new-menu-in-the-context-menu.241901/

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: It would be more useful if it allowed specifc templates

        Of course - everything there is dynamically registered and read from the Registry. But it does require to know how it works and make the proper entries, and a plain user should not mess with those entries too much. May not even have permissions to do so.

        Also, if you edit them manually, uninstallers won't probably clean them.

        There should have been a way to select them from an OS utility, or from applications, or something alike - and keep track of them to be uninstalled properly.

      2. Lil Endian
        Pint

        Re: It would be more useful if it allowed specifc templates

        Nice one Def, I was just about to ask if Doze menus were customisable - and there you have it.

        That said, the method linked to is not for the faint hearted. Especially considering the perils Registry editing. (I'm thinking of the comments made in the sub-thread from an article yesterday The fucking registry. Again.

        Am I correct in assuming there are third party utilities for customising menus?

        I'd be fekkin amazed if you told me there was a utility provided on a base Doze install. (Why would an OS need that when it can stuff Teams in there instead?!)

        Cheers!

        Edit: I can see my Q is answered below - didn't read thru. Thanks all ;)

        1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: It would be more useful if it allowed specifc templates

          "Am I correct in assuming there are third party utilities for customising menus?"

          You are correct.

          "Ultimate Windows Tweaker" does exactly that (and more), is portable ie doesn't need to be 'installed' and seems quite harmless.

          I've used it and it can do quite a bit, if you want it to.

          Not affiliated just used it a few times.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: It would be more useful if it allowed specifc templates

            Yep, me too.

  9. bigtimehustler

    I have to say I have never questioned why it is there. Its pretty obvious it's useful for creating files in a folder you already have open, especially if it's a system directory deep down a folder hierarchy.

  10. Piro

    Garbage

    I need those items in my right click menu. There's a reason I installed bits of software that add items there.

  11. Lucy in the Sky (with Diamonds)

    Very handy tool

    I use it all them time for work, it verifies whether the user I am working on has write access to a folder. So I click on new 'whatever' document, then delete it. Much safer then trying to delete an existing item, that might be important to some, and a lot less clicking then examining effective rights.

    Don't actually use it to create files, but I have found a superior alternate use for it, like I am convinced that drinks coasters in bars are provided, so one can stuff them under legs of a rickety table.

    1. DuncanLarge

      Re: Very handy tool

      I use it in exactly the same way, plus for making New Folders

  12. entfe001
    Paris Hilton

    Wait a minute...

    Wasn't this context file creation thingy already available on Windows 98? I haven't been a Windows user for ages and I do remember this feature...

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Wait a minute...

      It was there in Windows 95....

  13. Moldskred

    I can understand the reasoning wen it comes to Word documents or Power Point presentations, but how many people with a document-centric view know or care what a "bitmap image" is, and how often do people create new Access databases as a spur-of-the-moment thing?

    1. DuncanLarge

      > but how many people with a document-centric view know or care what a "bitmap image" is,

      Ask someone who used paint

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      The people with a document-centric view know and care about the sorts of documents they work on. It's not necessarily the same sort of document for everyone.

  14. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

    Yeah

    As we Perl fanbois like to say, TMTOWTDI. Don't say that in front of a Pythonista though, their motto is more "Highlander."

    1. Vic Not 20

      Re: Yeah

      Your Highlander reference made me laugh, but it's not really based on truth. The Zen of Python in fact says: "There should be one -- and preferably only one -- **obvious** way to do it." The key word being obvious. Although it has its merits, perl is really the antithesis of readable and obvious, and I think developers have voted with their feet on which approach they prefer!

      1. FatGerman

        Re: Yeah

        I'm not sure; I think developers have demonstrated they prefer the new and shiny. Plus Python is taught in colleges, where Perl isn't.

        Perl is still the right tool for the jobs it was designed to do. The bad rep is created by people using it to do things it shouldn't be used for.

        "This spade's useless, I tried to tighten this screw with it and it just doesn't work".

        1. DuncanLarge

          Re: Yeah

          > Perl is still the right tool for the jobs it was designed to do. The bad rep is created by people using it to do things it shouldn't be used for.

          Like Python

          Everyone should be using Lisp

  15. Auntie Dickspray
    FAIL

    Because of Les, She's No Longer on "The Talk"

    When Julie Chenbot claims that "programs aren't really things that you think about. What you really work on are documents," I cringe at her robotic spin.

    I always think about the program that is about to mangle my document. Open a heavily formatted Word document in LibreOffice's Writer? Are you out of your open-sourced mind? No knocks to Writer, but it is what it is, and it ain't a Word equivalent.

    Will this craplet sacrifice the color depth, resolution, etc., of my image file? You get the idea.

    Tell Julie to drop an image into a self-addressed Microsoft Outlook message, click Send, and then view what she receives: An image horribly degraded -- automatically, with no opt-out -- by Outlook.

    Then, maybe, she will understand that she should have thought about the program.

    Coincidentally, it is, of course, crapware that her own company spawned.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Because of Les, She's No Longer on "The Talk"

      WHo embeds an image in an email FFS?

      Attachments the only way to stop email clients messing with your images.

  16. WolfBones

    An idea

    Computer Science teacher here. One of the big problems students have (OK, one of many problems they have), is handling files. They open an app; start working; call it anything (because they can’t be bothered to think up or type a suitable name); save it somewhere random; then, next lesson, complain their work has “vanished”. If they’re lucky, it’ll be in the app’s recent documents list.

    By using File Explorer’s New… menu, I can get them to create a file in the right place and with a suitable name before they do anything else. This sounds like a great idea. Now I just need to teach them the difference between left and right :/

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: An idea

      I've been caught like that (many times, sigh) - saving something in a hurry and forgetting to change to the right folder!

      The solution is to start a new document, type a couple of characters and then save - the location it defaults to is likely where the previous one I'm actually after is. :-)

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: An idea

        And again with the exam invigilation. getting the kids to save their document at the start, as soon as they have set up the header (name, exam number etc) in the documents folder is paramount. After that regular saves will be in the right place ( and ctrl-s is ok).

      2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: An idea

        My workflow:

        1. Alt F N

        2. Alt F A

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An idea

      Sounds like a lack of teaching or learning the basics.

      i.e.

      'this is your personal network drive (5 1/2 " floppy disk in my day)

      Create folders like this.

      Give useful name to files, maybe with the date as part of the file name if you have many files for the same project. Or what ever the modern thinking is on this.

      And this is how you back up your data. '

      1. Chris J

        Re: An idea

        Ah.. putting dates in the filenames... what can go wrong...

        C:\Users\CJ\Documents\Project X\Report\2021\July\Project X Report July 2021 v12.1 FINAL3 22072021 COMPARE CJ comments.docx

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: An idea

          That's overkill. Your poor folder listings must be the stuff of nightmares. /snark.

          Also, come on, year month day so its sorted correctly in the file listing.

          1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: An idea

            That's not overkill, it's what really happens when you get a team of 3 or more people reviewing the same documents over and over and over and not everyone uses the "latest" copy so you end up with unmerged comments and all persons are unclear about who is actually in charge to decide which changes stay and which do not.

            ...and like the sentence above, the file names become rambles of multiple iterators.

            I wouldn't mind if, for Office documents (Word in particular), everyone just used "track changes", but we often have to keep the original, then at some point accept/baseline a portion of the changes thus creating a versioning point, iterating until the final, clean copy. We still end up with anywhere from 3 to 10+ versions, and you can choose an iterator (letter/number) or date to tell them apart. It's gonna' be a mess either way.

            And no, CMS like Windchill or Sharepoint never helps, because instead of doing proper check-out/check-in, most folks will download, edit, rename, then upload as a separate document. You can train them but it won't actually make them do it right.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: An idea

              I refer you back to the subject of this thread.

              Students don't know how to organise their files.

              Not huge organisations with many people collaborating on shared documents.

        2. Morrie Wyatt
          Facepalm

          Re: An idea

          And not to forget the user that puts the date and time into a filename as something like

          **My Important Document 19/10/2021-7:49:32**

          And then wonders why the OS does a dummy spit.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "maybe that's what you do, but that's not what everybody does."

    this has the same waffle of bullshit as the online banking con, when banks

    1) closed down branches to save cost = keep the money

    2) 'our research shows most people prefer to bank online' to save running cost = keep the money

    3) close even more branches, as as above

    4) WE THINK OF [how to fuck] OUR CUSTOMERS ALL THE TIME!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I regularly use touch on Linux to create placeholder files. Is that the same thing?

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
      Trollface

      "W...What are you doing, step-folder?"

    2. Admiral Grace Hopper

      "Where did he touch you? Show me on the doll".

  19. AndrueC Silver badge
    Happy

    I use it a lot. Creating folders, creating new text documents. Creating any random file (creating as text document then change extension).

    I'm somewhat surprised that Mr Chen even has to explain it.

  20. MJI Silver badge

    When creating a new directory

    I copy the nearest path in file manager

    In CMD typpe MD<space> paste into the CMD, edit the string to change the director name press Enter

    Quickest way I find to create directories.

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: When creating a new directory

      Quicker:

      Type MD then just drag in the folder.*

      Or a file from the folder and hit control-backspace to trim off the filename.

      .

      * If you've already got the folder open in File Explorer, ready to copy the path, then the little icon immediately to the left of the text path, is draggable. (A very old nicked-from-MacOS trick.)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This the one Windows feature that I most wish was in mac os....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > This the one Windows feature that I most wish was in mac os....

      The one I most miss is creating a new text document in the current folder. So I created the following AppleScript, saved it as an app, and then added it to the Finder toolbar (right-click + customise toolbar).

      tell application "Finder"

      make new file at (get insertion location) with properties {name:"new text document.txt"}

      select result

      end tell

  22. bpfh
    WTF?

    Euh?

    Windows has allowed this since ...... well forever in 32 bits, certainly since XP. Why is this news or have I missed something?

  23. DuncanLarge

    > why does Windows have a "New" menu?

    Really?

    This needs answering? I think the question is why wouldn't it have that there? Its a standard part of HCI these days because its been there so long. Erm I mean if a novice wants to create a new file, this is one way a total nob can do it.

  24. Admiral Grace Hopper

    It works

    I'm no fan of WIndows, but when I do use it this is one feature that is clearly useful and well-thought out.

  25. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    Raymond + this forum thread...

    ...remind me of the old observation:

    Nearly all users only use 5% of your functionality.

    Trouble is, each one uses a different 5%.

  26. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "For people with a document-centric view of the world, programs aren't really things that you think about. What you really work on are documents."

    Not really. The default action on my desktop when opening a JPEG, or PNG is to open it in Gwenview which has limited editing options (flips, crop and change resolution) but on the right click menu there are a whole selection of others including Gimp and Pinta, neither or which are what you'd choose just to open a file for a quick look. The document and the means by which you view and edit it are both considerations. The document-centric view is that one takes primacy over the other in the user interface.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Absolutely. Irfanview by default, for me. Paint.net maybe for a bit of tinkering beyond Irfanview, possibly. And if I want to do something creative/sneaky it's Photoshop Elements. Because I want to use the software that gets my result as quickly and simply as possible.(And never have I felt the need to get full-fat Photoshop or The Gimp - but some people may need those- sometimes- and that would join the hierarchy, I'd assume).

      Also... Not every programme provides every function as well as each other. If I just want to crop an image or remove a bit of red-eye then Irfanview is the one I find does that job best. If I'm carefully removing a person from one photo and placing it into another so that it looks realistic then it's Photoshop Elements.

  27. saxicola

    I've been able to this for ten years at least with Linux KDE. What's all the fuss about?

    Obviously I keep ALL my documents on the desktop too so I know exactly where they are. I just keep adding more monitors when I run out of space.

  28. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Chen mused: "Who among us can say they never created a new class or project by copying an existing one, and then deleting everything inside?"

    If I had a pound for every time I have had to fix copypasta code filled with misleading comments that come from the original bit of code it was copied from...

    It's right up there next to code that has been commented out by surrounding it with the equivalent of "if (false)", or left in "for reference" after replacement code has returned from that method. The cruft that shows up in code searches when you are looking to find where a class or method is used, and wastes your time, and is unreachable, and thus untestable.

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