Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Windows' Hidden Stacks

A new utility designed to replicate the MacOS's new Stacks feature got to thinking about the way I use my desktop. It suddenly occurred to me that Windows has had a similar feature to stacks for years. Since at least Windows 98, or possibly as early as a desktop update which was bundled with an early version of Internet Explorer (it depends on how you look at it), it has been possible to create toolbars like the Quicklaunch toolbar in the Windows taskbar. When these toolbars are compressed to their smallest possible size, they turn into menus. For over a decade, the first thing I do with a new Windows computer is to use this feature of Windows in order to create a "Desktop" menu which allows me to literally access every file on my computer.

Of course the Mac OS's stacks look cooler and are usually faster than the extra menus which Windows allows you to create. But the point is that both features work in much the same way and Windows had it first. With all the bashing you hear about Microsoft and its business practices on the 'net, we sometimes forget that they have gotten a lot of things right over the years and this is one reason why Windows is so popular.

No comments: