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Gavin Greig [userpic]

If anyone tells you Microsoft aren't listening...

March 13th, 2009 (03:11 pm)
current location: DD4 9FF

… you can tell them from me that they’re talking mince.

There’s a well-hidden piece of functionality in Windows Explorer that you may not know about. It’s tucked away on the Edit menu, without a keyboard shortcut. If you never look there, you won’t have found it it – and as the menus are hidden away by default in Windows Vista until you hit the Alt key, the chances of missing it are ever-increasing. It’s the Invert Selection command.

All it does is what it says. If you are viewing a folder and have one or more files or subfolders selected, then use Invert Selection, you will wind up with all the files and subfolders selected except for the ones that you had selected originally.

It’s not the world’s most ambitious command, and there are other ways to achieve the same result manually. However, for those of us who use it frequently it was a bit of a blow to discover that in the beta of Windows 7 the Invert Selection command had disappeared!

Apparently the reason was that it doesn’t perform particularly well with virtual views, which I can believe – it might involve having to run a search or do network access, both of which could slow things down considerably; and apparently telemetry suggested that not many users in the wild were making use of Invert Selection.

However, those who were using it were pretty fond of it, and apparently Microsoft received a disproportionate amount of feedback requesting its return. They’ve just announced that in the Release Candidate of Windows 7, this feature will be back.

I’m particularly chuffed because, although I was neither the only nor even the first person to ask for it, they were nice enough to give me a name-check and quote me in the announcement (scroll down to point 6).

Comments

Posted by: It's my brain and I'll do what I like in it (pink_weasel)
Posted at: March 13th, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)

I miss the little icon that used to sit near the start button on the bottom left that would minimise all open programmes and documents and take you back to your worktop. No idea which past computer used to have that, but it was mighty useful.

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: March 13th, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
Beep the Meep

That's the "Show desktop" icon, and it still exists. I'll see if I can find out how to put it back for you.

In Windows 7, it's moved to the right hand end of the task bar, and doesn't have an icon, but it's still there as a sort of magic rectangle.

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: March 13th, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
Blockhead

Try this.

The automated method may not work on Windows Vista, but I think the "Let me fix it myself" option should work no matter which operating system you're using.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 15th, 2009 11:12 am (UTC)
Performances

Microsoft says : "In an effort to make improvements to performance" , so why don't you use CTRL+A and CTRL+Clic to make your inverted selection ? I think it's faster, don't you ?

Now Windows Seven will be a little bit lower :-/

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: March 15th, 2009 02:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Performances
Blockhead

I could (and on occasion do) do that, and if you have all your moves planned out that would work. However, if you've started selecting a bunch of disparate files to work with and then realise that what you really want to do is to (for example) move everything else, are you suggesting I should start my selection process from scratch again? Or move my files, move the others, then move mine back?

Windows Seven's overall performance won't be affected by this. The Invert Selection functionality will be a bit slower than previously under some specific circumstances that won't always apply. Seems a reasonable trade-off to me, although of course YMMV! :-)

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