One Dev Question with Raymond Chen - Why Alt+F4 Closes a Window

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The 'One Dev Question with Raymond Chen' video series is part of the One Dev Minute channel.  In this series, longtime Microsoft developer and semi-official Windows historian Raymond Chen covers a series of questions about Microsoft Windows development, team culture, and/or history.  If you have additional questions for Raymond, please add your questions in the comments section below.  You can also find out more development details about Windows and its history on Raymond's blog.

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    The Discussion

    • User profile image
      Tony Yuen

      Why are there so many different looking context menus in Windows 10?

    • User profile image
      pjw

      That is interesting, but the thing that I'm really intrigued by is not explained.

      Meaning... this makes absolutely no sense!!!

      Why was deemed OK that nearly every other keyboard shortcut in Windows is "English-based," but it was NOT OK for Alt-F4?

      In particular, Print, Copy, Paste and Cut are likely the most used most shortcuts by FAR - yet they are all entirely based on an English language and/or QWERTY layout and are almost guaranteed to make absolutely no logical sense in any other scenario. Windows-L will *L*ock my workstation, Windows-R will access the *R*un window and Windows-D shows the *D*esktop?

      WHAT IN THE HECK MAKES ALT-F4 SO SPECIAL????

      Yours truly,

      Someone who uses keyboard shortcuts
      instead of the mouse as much as humanly
      possible, so that's probably why I care so much

    • User profile image
      Cowardly Anon Moose

      Function keys often go somewhere on laptop keyboards. Of course, laptop manufacturers are to blame for that. All 12 of my function keys have special, rarely-used, bloaty functions (like "turn off wi-fi") unless I hold down Fn or change a BIOS setting.

    • User profile image
      R S

      @pjw: In Windows 2.x and OS 1.x *all* window operations (move, size, maximize etc) were assigned an Alt+Fx combination from Alt+F4 to Alt+F10. So Alt+F4 is not just special, it's just one of all window operation shortcuts.

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