After a quarter of a century, Windows got rid of the habit of looking for drivers where they cannot be

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Microsoft has changed the behavior of Windows’ built-in Task Manager so that by default it looks for alternative device drivers not on floppy drives that are not available in modern computers, but “at the place of registration” of the operating system. The new “dispatcher” logic that appeared in Windows 95 and has hardly changed much over the past 27 years is implemented in the latest version of Windows 11.

Device Manager update

Microsoft has taken another step towards updating the Windows operating system management console snap-ins. The changes presented in the next stable build of Windows 11, in particular, adjust the logic of the “Device Manager” (Device Manager).

Now, when installing a device driver manually through Device Manager using the Have Disk option, Windows will by default look for the corresponding files in the root directory of the system drive (usually “C: ”). Previously, Windows favored the “A: ” file system path.

Drives with the letters “A” and “B” in Microsoft operating systems are traditionally associated with floppy disk drives (FDDs). Despite the fact that the technology is outdated for a long time, and even the most conservative users, including Japanese officials, refuse it, the Windows developers have not paid attention to this nuance until now.

“Classic” dialog for finding a driver on a user disk in Windows 10

As Windows Latest writes, in Windows 11 (build 22000) this seemingly minor misunderstanding was eliminated. The operating system now takes into account the absence of a floppy disk drive and prompts the user to start searching for a driver on the disk on which it itself is installed.

It should be noted that, according to Softpedia, Windows 11 still supports floppy drives, including the older 5.25-inch drives. Therefore, if necessary, it is still possible to read the data recorded on the “three-inch” and “five-inch” systems in the latest version of Microsoft OS – if you have the appropriate equipment.

Logical, but out of time

The change in the logic of the “Device Manager” seems to be quite reasonable, albeit significantly belated. Situations in which the user needs to manually install alternative drivers offered by Windows may still arise.

Device Manager is a control console snap-in that first appeared in Windows 95, which was released in 1995, that is, more than 25 years ago. It allows the system administrator to manage drivers, enable or disable devices, and also receive some additional technical information that helps to identify the device, understand what system resources it uses and, for example, establish the cause of the conflict between it and its “neighbor”.

New dialog option in Windows 11

Externally, as well as functional, “Device Manager” in the course of the evolution of Windows has undergone minimal changes. Microsoft began to pay a little more attention to this component of the system in the process of finalizing Windows 10.

For example, in August 2020, CNews wrote that the developers disabled in it a convenient search for drivers for hardware via the Internet. As a result, users were forced to search for them manually through a browser or use the new Settings application, which Microsoft is promoting as a replacement not only for Device Manager, but for the entire classic Control Panel.

Windows has bigger problems

However, even without making cosmetic changes to the administrator tools rarely used by ordinary users, Windows developers have had quite a few problems lately, the solution of which really required promptness.

Recall that Microsoft began distributing its newest OS on October 5, 2021. At the same time, PCs with a pre-installed system and boxed versions of Windows 11 appeared on sale. Thus, it became necessary for developers to support the work of two branches of Windows, none of which is distinguished by outstanding “bug-free “.

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IT in the public sector

After upgrading to the “eleventh”, users faced a number of problems and peculiarities of the operating system. For example, some users complained about the inoperability of the new “Start” button and the “old” taskbar, which seemed to have migrated to Windows 11 “from the dozen”, as well as a memory leak due to “Explorer” and a drop in Internet access speed when using the Killer and Smartbyte applications from Intel and Dell, respectively.

In addition, CNews separately reported Windows 11 performance issues on computers with processors AMD Ryzen. The hardest hit have been gamers who prefer to play on PCs over consoles. In video games, the performance of AMD chips after switching to Windows 11 could sag by 10-15% of the nominal values. In conventional programs, this figure was 3-5%. Trying to fix the situation only made it worse, although Microsoft ultimately managed to overcome the performance degradation on Ryzen-based machines.

Finally, Windows 11 refused to work with printers and MFPs from the popular Brother brand.

The end of the floppy era

Floppy drives have been in widespread use since the 1970s. XX century. Production of one of the most popular representatives of the technology of recording on a magnetic disk at its decline – the 3.5-inch floppy disk – started in 1981. For more than 20 years, the “three-inch” was the main external medium that allowed information to be transferred from one computer to another. For example, in 2002, Sony sold 47 million 3.5-inch floppy disks.

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The 3.5-inch floppy disk is a thin, flexible plastic disk with a ferromagnetic coating that is housed in a sturdy plastic case. The read and write heads of the drive interact with the drive through a special “window” in the case. Depending on the type of floppy disk, it may be covered with a protective shutter.

It was the image of a 3.5-inch floppy disk that formed the basis of the icons for the save information to disk button in a number of programs with a graphical user interface. For example, it is still used in the word processor Microsoft Word.

In 2021, not a single modern personal computer is equipped with a floppy drive due to the extremely low popularity of floppy disks against the background of their small capacity – up to 2.88 MB.

Apple and Dell were among the first companies to ditch 3.5-inch media. Apple first eliminated the drive from its products in 1998 with the introduction of a new model of the Macintosh desktop. Dell followed suit in 2003.

Seven years later, in April 2010, Sony, one of the largest manufacturers of floppy disks in this format, announced the end of production of 3.5-inch floppy disks in March 2011.

Dmitry Stepanov

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