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Thread: Why does Windows XP's shutdown menu dim to grayscale?

  1. #1

    Default Why does Windows XP's shutdown menu dim to grayscale?

    What does it mean when Windows XP dims to grayscale when you choose to shutdown/standby/log off? Does it have any functional purpose? Are you supposed to wait till it completely grays out before choosing an option? I've never seen it affect anything.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Default

    It's a further example of a feature that is useless to the end user yet consumes disk space and (probably) processor cycles...

    Someone obviously though that this was a 'selling point'...

    Dave

  3. #3

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    I think it's meant to be a way of gently signalling to the user that they've gone from the world of normal running to a particular stage where only one thing matters (and that their next choice is pretty final), while still making it clear that all their other stuff is still there if they choose to step back out. As interface cues go, I actually think it's not a bad one. It's trying to communicate something not essential to the task (which is why there's no need to wait for it) in an unobtrusive way - not for the expert user, but to give less-familiar people a bit of context. You can have too much of a good thing, of course, but I think I prefer that kind of signalling to the starkly metaphor-less "flat" style. (I've seen those give less-techy users a lot of trouble, even nowadays when you'd think most people would have seen one before...)

    Resource usage in computing is so relative to the era. Compared to the resource constraints of DOS or early micros it seems wantonly extravagant. Compared to the resource constraints of XP-era computers I suspect it's rather light - if you can run XP, a fade to grey won't use anything you'd notice. I can't imagine it's more than a tiny bit of storage as it's pretty simple code - and it's not really competing with anything else for its (probably quite light) processor cycle requirement since it's just running while waiting for user input on a task where nobody expects anything else to be making much progress.

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