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Windows 10's “Sets” tabbed windows will never see the light of day

Enlarge / Microsoft's inspiration, obviously.During two periods last year, those using the preview of Windows 10 could access a feature called Sets: a tab interface that would eventually allow tabs to be placed in the title bar of almost all windows. These tabs would allow both multiple copies of the same program to be combined &#821 1; a tabbed Explorer or Command Prompt, say, and several different windows to group – combine, say, a browser window containing research with the Word window. However, the feature was only enabled for a few weeks, so Microsoft was able to collect data before it was disabled. Settings are not in the update of Windows May 10, 2019. The estimated tab experience is no longer, but adding tabs is high on our list. – Rich Turner (@richturn_ms) April 20, 2019 It now seems that Sets will probably never materialize. Rich Turner, which monitors Microsoft's rebuilding of the Windows command-line infrastructure and the Windows subsystem for Linux tweeted that the interface is "no more". Having everything tabbed everywhere will not happen. However, adding tabs specifically for command line windows is "high on [Microsoft’s] to list." Originally, there was some confusion that the tweet may have meant that any other system-wide attitude to tabs would be used. But Turner today clarified that command-line tabs will be for command-line windows, not a general feature of the entire operating system. Set was an extremely complicated function. Originally, Microsoft planned to use it only with new programs written using…

 Microsoft's inspiration, obviously.

Enlarge / Microsoft’s inspiration, obviously.

During two periods last year, those using the preview of Windows 10 could access a feature called Sets: a tab interface that would eventually allow tabs to be placed in the title bar of almost all windows. These tabs would allow both multiple copies of the same program to be combined &#821

1; a tabbed Explorer or Command Prompt, say, and several different windows to group – combine, say, a browser window containing research with the Word window. However, the feature was only enabled for a few weeks, so Microsoft was able to collect data before it was disabled. Settings are not in the update of Windows May 10, 2019.

It now seems that Sets will probably never materialize. Rich Turner, which monitors Microsoft’s rebuilding of the Windows command-line infrastructure and the Windows subsystem for Linux tweeted that the interface is “no more”. Having everything tabbed everywhere will not happen. However, adding tabs specifically for command line windows is “high on [Microsoft’s] to list.”

Originally, there was some confusion that the tweet may have meant that any other system-wide attitude to tabs would be used. But Turner today clarified that command-line tabs will be for command-line windows, not a general feature of the entire operating system.

Set was an extremely complicated function. Originally, Microsoft planned to use it only with new programs written using the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). This is because UWP programs are generally behavioral. Programs built with the old Win32 API program can do all sorts of strange things, such as drawing menus in their title fields (like Visual Studio do), with tape controls merged in the title lists (like Office does) or even inserting tabs in their title fields (as Chrome does). UWP applications, on the other hand, have some control over their title fields, but it is much more controlled and consistent.

Because most Windows programs use Win32, a UWP-only feature would not be useful. In addition, it would exclude Explorer and the command line windows, probably the two areas where tabs are most in demand. So Microsoft extended the range of Sets so it can be used with Win32 applications. This created a hugely complicated interoperability issue that Microsoft never completely cracked.

To compile it, Sets uses the tabs intended for the Edge browser. With the new Chromium-based Edge, Microsoft now uses Chromium’s tab implementation. This loses Edge’s nice features like floating design and tab memory images. It also means that the company has much less interest in retaining the source code.

Together, the result? No more sets.

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Faela