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Windows Explorer: Why the Refresh?

📅 2010-Jan-27 ⬩ ✍️ Ashwin Nanjappa ⬩ 📚 Archive

 

Bharat was wondering why Windows Explorer needed a Refresh option. Certainly, a modern file viewer is aware of the changes to the files it is displaying without requiring a manual poke?! After all, Apple is so confident of the auto-refresh of Finder on OS X that it does not have the Refresh option! 😊

Not being able to figure out the reason, I asked Raymond Chen. Raymond, with his fantastic The Old New Thing blog has become the wise man on top of the Windows history mountain. Raymond replied pretty quickly:

Probably for similar reasons to the ones that cause people to write OSX extensions, eg. http://lifehacker.com/252956/download-of-the-day-refresh-finder-mac.

Not all network drives broadcast updates -- I imagine that would be a performance nightmare in some cases -- so you sometimes might need to refresh manually.

Windows (at least since Vista -- it's been too long since I used XP to remember) does do auto-refresh, which works most of the time and about as well as the one introduced in (IIRC) OSX 10.4 in my experience.