Holy cow, I wrote a book!
Chris asked for
some stories about what Explorer was like in the early days.
Well, one thing is that the original name of Explorer was Cabinet,
continuing the folder/document metaphor by taking all your folders
and documents and putting them inside a virtual filing cabinet.
(Cabinet was viewed as an update to the Windows 3.1
File Manager program, whose icon as we all know was a filing cabinet.)
Some remnants of this old name can be found in places like
the CABINETSTATE structure.
(Note that this old sense of Cabinet is unrelated to the CAB file format,
which is also called Cabinet.)
In the early versions of Cabinet, shortcuts were indicated not
by a little arrow overlay but by appending >> to the end of
For example, you might see an icon on the desktop called
The first icon in each folder was a special icon that consisted
of an upward-pointing arrow with the name Up One Folder.
This was really just a leaky abstraction,
exposing the .. directory entry as if it were a real
We saw what the original Start menu and taskbar looked like
some time ago,
back before it was a taskbar,
and also saw
the precursor to the Start menu.