Windows 11: A Glimpse of 1994 UI Legacy

That is the same interface used for thirty years.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Over Windows' long life, many UI enhancements and modifications have been made. Because Windows contains thousands of visual components, programmers have a difficult time keeping them up to date and cohesive with the rest of the operating system.

One such user interface component that escaped notice is the disk formatting interface, which dates back to 1994 and is still there in Windows 11 today.

Dave Plummer, a former Microsoft engineer, talked about some amazing Windows history on the social networking platform X. Back in 1994, he talked about developing the dialog box that is used to format a disk nowadays. "I wrote this Format dialog back on a rainy Thursday morning at Microsoft in late 1994, I think it was," he stated.

Plummer took a seat and began to list the components that a disk format interface element would require on paper. Then, he launched into VC++2.0, which is still in use today, and presented you with a straightforward vertical stack of all the options. Plummer clarified, "It wasn't elegant, but it would do until the elegant UI arrived."

That user interface aspect never really showed up, even after more than thirty years. Rather, the original one he wrote is still in use with Windows 11 and continues to perform as well as it ever did. "That was about 30 years ago, and the dialog is still my temporary one from that Thursday morning, so be careful about checking in 'temporary' solutions," he said, elaborating on how he saw his creation remaining in Windows.

The fact that Plummer arbitrarily selected the 32GB FAT volume limit and that we're still stuck with that choice today may be equally as unexpected. He replied, "So keep in mind that there are never 'temporary' check-ins." It's not just for programmers, though: whatever you post online now may be relevant to you in thirty years. Keep that in mind when you make decisions.

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