Beware Windows 98's file deletion bug

Windows 98 is selling like crazy, and as more Windows 95 users take the upgrade plunge, the list of known incompatibilities, glitches, and minor bugs grows. Published reports place the release of the first Service Pack as far out as September, but Microsoft may have to fix one serious bug right away. If you're fast at navigating Explorer's File Manager interface using the keyboard, you could end up unintentionally deleting files.

Windows 98 is selling like crazy, and as more Windows 95 users take the upgrade plunge, the list of known incompatibilities, glitches, and minor bugs grows. Published reports place the release of the first Service Pack as far out as September, but Microsoft may have to fix one serious bug right away.

If you're fast at navigating Explorer's File Manager interface using the keyboard, you could end up unintentionally deleting files.

To see the bug, try the following steps. Warning: Do not try this on folders that contain valuable data, or at the very least, make sure that Windows 98's Recycle Bin is configured to save a copy of deleted files.

First, open Explorer and select a folder in the left pane. Next, using the cursor keys, navigate to another folder in the pane, then press Delete. Select No in the resulting confirmation dialog box to cancel the folder deletion, then quickly repeat the navigation, deletion, and cancellation steps. If you repeat the steps quickly enough, Explorer will fail to notice that you've navigated to a new folder, and instead ask you to confirm deletion of the last folder selected. Choosing Yes in the deletion confirmation dialog box in fact deletes the previously selected folder.

Microsoft still has no comment on the bug. However, we were able to replicate the problem on three machines, and we also found mention of it in Microsoft's own newsgroup (microsoft.public.win98.pre-release).

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