Questions tagged [windows-os]

use this tag for questions related to Microsoft Operating System family.

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68 votes
11 answers
24k views

Why did Microsoft choose the word "Recycle Bin"?

If you delete something in Windows OS, it will go to Recycle bin. But if you think about it nothing recycles in it right? Say, you delete a virus infected file and again restore it from recycle bin ...
0 votes
3 answers
310 views

tab order of help button in dialogs

When I place the help button in dialogs like here: What tab order should I use? It's obvious that the content panel uses tabindex values that correspond to the reading order which is supported by the ...
5 votes
1 answer
383 views

Selecting options and variants of these

I am trying to create a selection of scales for graphs (called "Maps" in our terminology). The scales have two aspects: there is a color key (what range of colors to use), and there is a step size (...
0 votes
1 answer
191 views

Material Design Best Practice: Should a dialog "Accept" button only get enabled upon changes to a mutable inner state

As far as UX goes, particularly when working within the material design specifications for a Windows app, if an accept/cancel dialog is presented to the user that is intended to mutate some "...
53 votes
6 answers
8k views

What is the reason for moving the start button to the middle in Windows 11?

The movement of the "start button" from the corner to the middle seems to be so much hated that it was impossible for me to find any justification for it in a short search, because all the ...
1 vote
2 answers
323 views

Why do so many software authors insist on forcing their users to do pointless busywork when updating their software?

A lot of software, such as Notepad++, pgAdmin 4 and Bisq, which are all open source and free of charge, with no attempts to install malware/spying in the installer, make it needlessly annoying to ...
26 votes
5 answers
5k views

Why do scrollbars revert to original scroll distance when mouse is dragged sideways too far?

When dragging the scrollbar using the mouse, the contents of the scrollpane move up and down as the bar moves with the mouse. But if you keep the mouse button held down, and move the pointer sideways ...
6 votes
6 answers
5k views

Why is the Windows taskbar default at the bottom?

In Windows operating systems the taskbars default position is at the bottom. Why is that so? Especially it is strange to me because all windows application have their main menu bar at the top. To me ...
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

How does Windows 7 Aero taskbar determine button hover-state background colour [closed]

This has intrigued me for quite some time. Does anyone know the algorithm Windows 7 Aero uses to determine the colour to use as the mouse-tracking hover highlight on taskbar buttons for currently-...
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

Looking for independent usability study of the Microsoft Fluent UI

I have been trying to gather objective feedback/response on the design of the Fluent UI ('Ribbon') interface. Apart from one study by Forrester which was commissioned by Microsoft anyway, and various ...
3 votes
1 answer
853 views

How can the Copy and Replace message box be improved?

I have a program (running on Windows) that I am developing that has a file and folder page as part of it that is effectively copying the Windows format. I allow users to copy, cut, paste, delete and ...
3 votes
3 answers
1k views

What should the Windows "Up" or "Alternate Select" cursor be used for?

I'm working on a Xamarin effect to enable cross-platform custom cursors, and ran into a cursor I have never seen used before on Windows: In the Windows Runtime API, it's referred to as UpArrow, and ...
1 vote
2 answers
122 views

Good way to implement secret startup options in a desktop application

I write a Windows application that needs to have some "secret" functionality. For example, the application disables certain parts of the UI if the user is running in a certain environment. ...
0 votes
3 answers
207 views

Why does MS Outlook Express store vital data inside a hidden folder? [closed]

Microsoft Outlook Express stores email files in a hidden data folder buried deep in the user's home folder. It makes it nearly impossible to selectively backup your data files unless you know exactly ...
0 votes
1 answer
85 views

Placing Destructive Action next to Save option in Mac OS

Some apps (Not all) in mac OS have the menu option Save and Close presented together in the File menu. In Windows, they are (Not all apps) placed far from each other, which makes sense to prevent the ...
1 vote
0 answers
92 views

Why does Windows 10 add files to the desktop in columns, but selects files in rows?

When I save files to the Desktop, it automatically stacks them in columns. Meaning, each added file is placed underneath the previous until it reaches the bottom. Then it wraps, and starts stacking ...
28 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why is low contrast between active and inactive window title bars considered a good thing?

It seems like recently, there is a movement toward applications forcing a color scheme on the user as well as using custom-drawn windowing elements, particularly title bars, with very low contrast ...
9 votes
4 answers
615 views

Why did older Windows installs delay before automatic restart?

Every time I need to install an older copy of Windows (today it's Server 2003 Enterprise), I run into the screen where the initial install phase completes and my machine needs to reboot. The ...
1 vote
2 answers
334 views

Studies on the impact of switching operating systems in corporate organizations

Browsing through a previous question on the usability between Windows and Mac OS, I thought an interesting question would be to see if there were any studies done on the impact of changing operation ...
0 votes
1 answer
45 views

How to best display Shortcut Keys on Windows app?

I'm building an app which offers a standard workflow: the user selects or enters the name of a Source file, then a Destination file, then sets or generates a password, and hits the Go button to ...
1 vote
1 answer
203 views

Why do software developers frequently put the burden onto the user to install software dependencies?

I can't tell you how many times I've downloaded some software, expected to install it in seconds and be using it immediately, only to be harassed during the installation process to install all kinds ...
7 votes
4 answers
7k views

What's the point of closing windows by double-clicking their top-left?

In Windows, you can double-click the top-left of a window to close it. But why? It's not intuitive. At all. What sort of advantage is there by using this kind of behaviour for closing windows? I ...
19 votes
6 answers
3k views

Should yes/no dialogs also have a cancel?

I remember once reading an article that said whenever you present a messagebox with a Yes/No choice, you should always also provide a Cancel button, even if it does the same as No. The rationale was ...
-1 votes
2 answers
271 views

Why is recycle bin called "bin"? [closed]

I understand why the word "recycle" is used. I want to know why it is called a "bin". Does "bin" mean "Binary" ? or does it mean Trash ???
2 votes
1 answer
268 views

Custom scrollbars in websites - do they make any sense?

Are custom scrollbars still needed today? The only reason they were needed so far is because they are fugly on Windows. They are always visible and don't autohide and they just look bad. But I've see ...
-1 votes
1 answer
80 views

Good read (blogs, books, articles) regards enterprise desktop application Design? [closed]

We are moving from web application to Window based Desktop application, for enterprise use. ANy recommendation for reads around enterprise application design (Not web)? Thanks, Iris--
2 votes
1 answer
591 views

What's the purpose of this flashlight-like effect in windows callendar?

Is there any specific reason for windows callendar to have this flashlight-like hover effect? If anything it seems to me to be distracting by spreading the area of your current mouse position. Is it ...
2 votes
2 answers
971 views

What is the best way to show a submenu in a tile menu design like Windows?

Recently, I designed a tiles menu and it is responsive, which means it will support desktop, tablet/iPad, and mobile devices. But I notice it is very hard to have a submenu in it. Can anyone please ...
0 votes
2 answers
473 views

Is it good practice to remember a user's selection of an option as a new default?

I absence of data to decide a good default, would it be good practice to remember the users last choice in a dialog box and use that as default the next time the dialog box is opened? Context I have ...
8 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why doesn't Windows tell me which program / process is using that specific file I want to delete [closed]

Most of you should already at some point experienced this when using the Windows operating system: You want to delete a folder, Windows will gladly delete every file except that one file which is used ...
19 votes
4 answers
8k views

Inactive State of buttons, to hide or not to hide...that is the question

On a windows based LOB application for data capturing. Is it better to hide a button completely when it is inactive, or simply show a disabled state for the button.
1 vote
2 answers
839 views

Windows: is there a common hot key to favorite an item?

As per title: I have a list with "favorite" markers for its items, I want to add a keyboard shortcut to toggle the favorite status of an item. is there any typical keyboard assignment in commonly ...
2 votes
3 answers
728 views

Conformity vs. complexity (gamepad/controller layout)

I'm porting a VR app to non-VR. In VR you can move your head to look around, which you can't in a Windows app of course. This means that I also have to change the controller layout. Users might use ...
4 votes
4 answers
1k views

Is it better to disable a button and show hovering message, or show a popup message when click on it?

I'm talking about Desktop applications, Windows applications. In my application, user needs to perform a certain steps, before a button can be clicked. The issue now is that for that button, what is ...
0 votes
1 answer
144 views

Is UI simplification in Microsoft's products for the past ten years motivated by user experience? [duplicate]

Working mostly with Linux, I rediscover from time to time Windows and Microsoft's applications such as Internet Explorer/Edge. I also notice that the trend is not limited to Microsoft, although I don'...
0 votes
1 answer
78 views

Is it acceptable to change the context of the application by switching ribbon tabs?

Our application has several "disciplines" for which there are various commands grouped as tabs in a ribbon. Is it acceptable to automatically change the context of the main window, i.e, what is being ...
14 votes
5 answers
3k views

Why is it an industry-standard to have a window automatically grab focus and how do we change it? (in Windows at least)

Why is it an industry-standard to have a windows automatically grab focus? From a usability point of view, why is it considered "good practice" for a desktop application to grab (more like hijack) ...
0 votes
1 answer
103 views

Redesign the Titlebar [closed]

I was wondering, is it a good idea to redesign the Titlebar of desktop applications? What I mean with that is to get rid of the standard Titlebar of boring Windows and redesign the Titlebar ...
1 vote
1 answer
87 views

Ask metadata for each file added to a folder (possibly many files added at the same time)

I have a file sync Windows desktop application that looks very much like Dropbox: Tray icon is the only GUI. Users mostly uses the Windows file explorer, but also programs such as MS Word that open ...
0 votes
2 answers
1k views

What's the appropriate windows equivalent for command-enter?

I use command-enter key sequences in applications like slack and gmail often and find them very helpful. I'd like a user to be able to submit a form in a web application I'm building with command-...
5 votes
1 answer
6k views

How do I indicate that fields are mandatory in Windows Desktop UI?

I need a method of indicating that certain fields are required within my forms on a Windows Desktop UI. I have read and searched the Windows Design Guidelines, but can not find a standard that ...
16 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why is the close button in the title bar red in Windows 7?

Perhaps to prevent users from closing the window or application inadvertently? But is it also a distraction because the color of red stands out? Any insights?
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Which button should get the focus at delete dialogs?

I thought that most destructive actions should be avoided from default actions. But when a delete dialog comes, I see that most Windows applications (even the OS), by default, set the focus at "...
4 votes
1 answer
4k views

Windows desktop icon guidelines

Are there any modern guidelines for how icons should look in desktop Windows? I'm particularly interested in toolbar icons right now, but I'm hoping for some general icon guidance. The Windows ...
32 votes
6 answers
15k views

Delay on keystroke when search as you type

I'm deploying an instant search on my Windows app. At the first implementation, when the user types a key, the search engine makes a query and returns the results. I thought that that wasn't too ...
2 votes
3 answers
1k views

Close and minimize button behavior for my desktop application

I am developing a desktop application that will run on user's PC in background(system tray). User won't have to start the app as it starts with the system. Basically this app listens to a port and ...
1 vote
1 answer
531 views

Expectations for checkboxes in (multi-select) list views

I'm currently rewriting some parts of a Windows application and we have a list view (report style) where a user can use checkboxes to select/deselect items. The issue I'm having is when a user ...
1 vote
1 answer
110 views

Should RightToLeft be applied just to text or to image as well?

I have developed a control in which an image and text is displayed. In left-to-right mode, the text is located on the left and the image on right side of control: I have provided support for ...
0 votes
1 answer
118 views

Smoothly transitioning from mouse drag to text entry

I have an application I'm working on where a portion of the interface is very mouse-centric. You drag the mouse to create/manipulate regions, then assign properties to those regions. Below is an ...
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is the indeterminate checkbox state a Microsoft UI pattern only?

A quick look through online search results show that the indeterminate checkbox state does not seem to be a very common UI interaction, yet Microsoft has persistently stuck with it and are probably ...