Microsoft veteran Raymond Chen has taken us again to the period of 16-bit Home windows and the definition of a “hard error” in comparison with one thing a bit softer and simpler.
Through the period of Home windows 3.1 and its ilk, Microsoft was confronted with the problem of throwing up an error message that may be so modal that nothing else would run.
Chen highlighted an I/O error emitted when making an attempt to learn from a drive. “Home windows cannot put up a standard MessageBox as a result of that pumps messages and permits software code to run at a time when the foundations of co-operative multitasking say that software code shouldn’t be operating.”
Thus, bleating in a MessageBox was considered a “comfortable error” message.
Nevertheless, apart from mouse and keyboard enter, which got here from the person interface code, the “laborious system modal error” was a hand-cranked affair. The graphics machine interface (GDI) was requested to attract on to the body buffer “and all the dialog behaviors are handwritten,” stated Chen.
“No software code was allowed to run whereas this message was being proven to the person.”
One touch upon Chen’s publish recalled a wonderful workaround that used a bent paperclip to carry down the R key for an Abort / Retry / Cancel dialog for when an I/O error was thrown on account of a sharing violation – for instance, when someone else was accessing a file wanted for a construct.
It is a variation on the age-old trick of utilizing Blu Tack to cease a ZX81’s RAM pack inflicting a reset, however that is a distinct story.
16-bit Home windows is lengthy gone, and the time period “laborious error” was repurposed to explain important or low-level errors in later variations, based on Chen. However there was a time, a few years in the past when Home windows was a great deal much less forgiving of exterior forces than it’s right now.
And when Microsoft stated an error message was “laborious,” it actually meant it. ®