Technologies

Stack Exchange users told how mouse twitching actually accelerated work in Windows 95

It turns out it really worked.

Windows 95 Desktop Github Screenshot

July 1, one of the users of the site of questions and answers Stack Exchange recalledthe strange behavior of Windows 95 when installing applications. According to him, the process could be accelerated by moving the mouse cursor around the screen, but he did not find explanations on the Internet.

I played Hypnospace Outlaw – a game about the operating system in retro style. This OS behaves in a peculiar way when loading sites: mouse twitching allows you to load the page faster.

It reminded me of something. When I was young, I remember that Windows 95 (if not 98) behaved strangely during the installation of programs: moving the mouse cursor accelerated progress. What caused this? I tried to find the answer, but did not find anything about it.

user user2652379 on stack exchange

Users of Stack Exchange confirmed the truth of the memories of user2652379. They explained that the reason for the behavior of the system lay in its architecture.

In Windows 95, priority multitasking was used: the system itself made decisions on switching between tasks. At the same time, the OS processed events in cycles: data input-output tasks were executed immediately, and the same amount of time was allocated for background tasks – 15.6 milliseconds.

If the program needed, for example, to copy files, the system placed the request in a queue, waited for the buffer to be filled with background tasks, and only after that processed the entire packet. In this case, while the task was in standby mode – the application did not actually work.

By moving the mouse cursor, users filled the buffer with incoming events, causing the system to restart the cycle. This created the effect that the program runs faster.

By moving the cursor, you bypass the system to raise your processing request first.

As an example, users cited the installation of large programs, which could be reduced from an hour to 15 minutes by moving the mouse. Also one of the most famous examples was the disk defragmentation utility, which could also be accelerated by moving the cursor.

As the commentators suggested, this behavior of the system was due to compatibility with low-performance equipment. According to one version, the system was designed with an eye on maximum responsiveness, so user actions raise the program in priority.

The user under the pseudonym Cody Gray explained that the strange behavior of Windows 95 could be associated not with the system itself, but with the incorrect use of its features by the developers. He referred to an article by Microsoft developer Raymond Chen, who described a common error in calling the MsgWaitForMultipleObjects function.

The submission says that the function cannot be called if there are already tasks in the queue waiting to be processed. Otherwise, it will return the result not immediately, but with delays.

As explained on the Stack Exchange, this feature was found only on Windows 95. In later versions of the system, the multitasking architecture was changed.

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