Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Time to Clean Vista's House

No, I don't mean it's time to fire people. I mean it's time to dust off some of the legacy baggage in Vista. Have you seen the size of the ISO lately? I mean, it's great that Beta 2 was 3.2GB and that RC1 will only be about 2.6GB (most of the debug code has been removed)... but Vista still has too much junk in the trunk. Case in point: I was spelunking through the Vista binaries with a resource viewer, and what I saw shocked me. THOUSANDS of old bitmaps and icons remain compiled into Vista dlls and executables. Some of these files refer to Windows codenames, and should have been taken out when the codename got a real name. Case in point, this little gem from a version of XP that has been assimilated by Vista. Can you guess what it is from?

I can understand keeping a few things around for compatibility, but this? Microsoft built a dependancy analyzer for XNA Build... can't they build one for Windows binaries? Yeah, I know what the response is going to be... "Some third party applications use our resources and we don't want to break them." Personally, I think breaking them is the only way you're going to find out who is using them, so that they can maybe repackage it to use their own dang resources. But that's just my uneducated opinion. What do YOU think?



  • jdunlap said:
    I agree! Microsoft needs to do major file/code cleaning. Everything from old icons, bitmaps, help files, or any resources in binaries just need to be nuked. Third party applications should not be relying on these resources anyway so compatibility shouldn't be an issue.
    August 31, 2006 2:06 PM
  • xpclient said:
    Yes, bloated binaries..taking a jump from 1-2 GB (XP) to 15 or __ GB?
    September 1, 2006 4:40 AM
  • Duncan Bayne said:
    Okay ... so if you were in Microsoft's position, which apps would you be happy to break in order to reduce legacy baggage?

    Remember, some (many? most?) Windows apps are in fact quite badly behaved. Raymond Chen has blogged many times about applications using resources embedded within Windows that they shouldn't.

    Take, for example, the file copy animation in SHELL32.DLL. AFAIK that's still knocking around in Vista - not because it's needed by the OS, but because certain badly-behaved applications assume it'll be there (

    As annoying as legacy baggage is, backwards compatibility is one of the things that has allowed Microsoft to grow first DOS, then Windows into dominant desktop OSs.
    September 5, 2006 7:05 PM