A bit of Windows UI from 1994 still lives in Windows 11

A Windows 11 laptop, demonstrating how to run Android apps on Windows 11
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Windows has seen ample user interface changes and improvements over its extensive lifespan. Thousands of visual elements are tucked within Windows, making it an arduous task for programmers to keep them updated and looking like the rest of the operating system. 

One such UI element slipped through the cracks: the disk formatting interface from 1994 is still hanging around in Windows 11 all these years later.

Former Microsoft programmer Dave Plummer took to social media platform X to discuss some fascinating Windows history. He talked about writing the dialog box currently used to format a disk all the way back in 1994. "I wrote this Format dialog back on a rainy Thursday morning at Microsoft in late 1994, I think it was," he said.

Plummer sat down and planned out what would need to be on a disk format interface element on a piece of paper. He then jumped into VC++2.0 and a simple vertical stack of all the choices you had to make, which we still use today. "It wasn't elegant, but it would do until the elegant UI arrived," explained Plummer. 

Just over three decades later, that UI element never actually arrived. Instead, the basic one he created is still kicking around in Windows 11, doing the job as well as it ever has. He expounded on seeing his creation still in Windows: "That was some 30 years ago, and the dialog is still my temporary one from that Thursday morning, so be careful about checking in 'temporary' solutions!"

Perhaps just as surprising is that Plummer randomly chose the 32GB limit for FAT volumes, and we’re still living with that decision today. “So remember... there are no ‘temporary’ check-ins,” he said. That advice doesn’t just apply to programmers, as anything you create now could come back to you in 30 years, so keep that in mind as you put things out there on the Internet.

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Dave LeClair is the Senior News Editor for Tom's Guide, keeping his finger on the pulse of all things technology. He loves taking the complicated happenings in the tech world and explaining why they matter. Whether Apple is announcing the next big thing in the mobile space or a small startup advancing generative AI, Dave will apply his experience to help you figure out what's happening and why it's relevant to your life.