Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Why you can still close Windows' windows with a double click on the top left corner

It's kind of funny to look at computer History as already having things that newcomers may not understand how or why they work the way they do: and a prime example is the ability to close a window by clicking on its top left corner.

In times past, people would joke around on IRC by saying that pressing ALT + F4 would give you instant "op" status, and laugh at newcomers suddendly disappear from the chat room (should you not know, this key combo closes the current program - and be aware, it sill works today.) But, you can do the same sort of trick be asking someone to perform a seemingly innocent double-click in the upper left corner of the window ... which, curiously, also has the same effect.

It is something that can intrigue many users, because there is nothing indicating a double click there would closes program / window - and, making it even more mysterious, it works whether there's a app icon in that place, or nothing at all - it will always close the window.

But it's not a bug ... it's just a matter of going back in time to find out why this happens, back to the first days of Windows.

Today we assume the close button to be on the top right of the window, but in the primordial times of Windows, the button that closed the window was in the upper left corner, which also gave access to the window control menu.

Although the control menu and button were lost along the way and windows got a dedicated close button on the right side, the same original behavior still remains, although there is no longer any visual indication that this menu is still there, nor does it indicate that a double click on that location will automatically close the window.

... Do you still remember those Windows versions that wouldn't even let you have overlapping windows, requiring you to tile them across the desktop like a jigsaw puzzle? :)

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