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Microsoft Is Dropping "My" Prefix From Longhorn

Nathan Weinberg
Expert Author
Published: 2005-05-31

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Todd Bishop reports in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that Microsoft is dropping the "My" prefix from user folders in Windows, starting with Longhorn.

This means no more "My Computer", "My Documents", "My Pictures", "My Chicken", or "My Severe Arthritic Thrombosis". Microsoft started the whole "My" trend with Windows 95, and has decided, ten years later, that "My" is sooo played, with widespread use in websites such as My Yahoo, My eBay, MySwitzerland, and My Invasive and Embarrassing Surgery.

In fact, the very pervasiveness of the prefix is one reason the company is moving away from it, said Jim Allchin, who oversees Windows and related areas as Microsoft's group vice president of platforms.

The company introduced the "my" prefix in part to give users obvious places for storing their own files, Allchin said. (Although users can rename the standard folders, and create their own, many tend to stick with the default Windows naming structure.) He acknowledged that the company also was aiming to make the experience more personal.

But now, the "my" prefix has become so ubiquitous in the technology industry that it's no longer the distinguishing characteristic the company hoped it would be. In part, Allchin attributed the situation to the tendency of software developers to adopt the common Windows terminology when making programs that run on the Microsoft operating system.

"People got carried away," Allchin said in a recent interview. "Anytime Microsoft does something, everybody wants to do it. … It became a worthless descriptor."

Another change in the upcoming Windows version, code-named Longhorn, could render even the newly named default folders moot for some users. A new Windows search feature will let people create custom "virtual folders" that continuously gather files and organize them automatically based on keyword, file type and other characteristics.


(via Brian Chin > Findory)

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About the Author:
Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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