What's up with Office 2013's context menu and tooltip shadows?

Update (2015-04-22): Somewhat surprisingly, a recent Office 2013 patch appears to have fixed this issue. Update (2015-03-04): Office 2016 fixes this. Update (2014-10-03): Office 2013 running on the Windows 10 Technical Preview (build 9841) exhibits the same issue 🙁 At some point in the not-too-distant past, Office 2013 started rendering strange shadow artefacts in the […]

Enabling the compatibility property sheet for (almost) all programs in Windows 8/8.1

Windows 8 and 8.1 hide the compatibility property sheet for certain programs (namely programs included with Windows, like Notepad, and those on a whitelist of programs known to run correctly on Windows 8/8.1 – defined in %WinDir%apppatchpcamain.sdb). In some cases, one can still run the ‘troubleshoot compatibility’ wizard by right-clicking on the file, which just […]

Windows 8.1 Impressions

Windows 8.1 is done, though Microsoft is apparently worried enough about driver and application support that not even loyal MSDN and TechNet subscribers will get it until October 17 this year. To no-one’s surprise, the RTM ISOs were promptly leaked, which leaves us in the odd situation where the only way to test your programs […]

Warning: Simple Storage Spaces in Windows 8 can’t be dismantled

A new feature in Windows 8 is ‘storage spaces’, a kind of software RAID, similar to the drive extender functionality found in the defunct Windows Home Server. Unlike Windows Home Server, however, Windows 8 provides no means of removing hard drives from simple (no resiliency) storage spaces, even when there’s adequate free space. Deleting the […]

Theme Colours in Windows ‘Blue’

As I noted in my earlier post, the method for selecting theme (‘accent’) colours in Windows ‘Blue’ build 9364 has changed from Windows 8 RTM. I’m not going to bother looking too closely at the updates to the functions in UxTheme.dll this early in the development process, but I did notice two new registry values […]

Windows ‘Blue’ Build 9364 Observations

Update (2013-04-21): the thin borders are all gone in build 9374. It looks like Microsoft isn’t changing tack with the next release of Windows – the recently leaked build 9364 of Windows ‘Blue’ contains a bunch of worthwhile changes to the Modern/Metro/Immersive environment, but the desktop seems to be basically untouched from Windows 8. If […]

Windows Update Notification Tool for Windows 8

I was apparently part of the 5.82% of Windows 7 users who preferred to be notified about updates rather than have them installed automatically. Annoyingly, Windows 8 no longer displays the familiar balloon tip and notify icon when new updates are available, instead placing a notice on the lock screen (which I almost never have […]

Retrieving Windows 8 Theme Colours

See also: Windows 8 Theme Colours Reference. Windows 8 doesn’t offer developers access to system theme colours, unlike its cousin, Windows Phone. Even for a version 1 product, this seems like a strange omission. Then again, we still don’t have a working public API for retrieving the Aero glass colour (or whatever we call it […]

FastPictureViewer Codec Pack, Windows 8 and WPF don’t play nicely together

Update (2012-09-06): After some trial and error, it seems the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) component is causing the issue. If you’re experiencing the same problem, try removing this component. Update (2012-09-05): The FastPictureViewer support team was unable to reproduce the issue, but suggested it might have something to do with the JPEG Auto-Rotate feature. […]

Office 2013: Further Evidence of the Demise of ClearType?

Poking around the Office 2013 Customer Preview, one thing that caught my eye immediately was the lack of ClearType font smoothing. Nearly all user interface elements use ‘greyscale’ font smoothing (as opposed to ClearType’s sub-pixel smoothing). I’ve highlighted the parts of Word 2013 that still use ClearType: The text in cells in Excel 2013 still […]