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We're all familiar with the little hourglass mouse on our pcs, but what does it mean when:

  • There's an hourglass next to the pointer
  • the pointer disappears and there's just an hourglass, locking out all clicks

Obviously it shows that you computer's busy, but it doesn't seem to be directly correlated with cpu usage or ram. Does it have to do with the current application? How does windows judge that its busy enough to halt all clicks by the user?

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I think the hourglass whitout pointer says that you have to wait, the hourglass with pointer are background actions where you can resume working.

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of course. But how does the computer actually determine which to display and why? – Gordon Gustafson Nov 7 '10 at 2:38
I think it's determined by the system. Don't know how familiar you're to programming with threads, but there are blocked calls which have to wait that another thread is freeing the queried resource. And there are unblocked calls which don't have to wait for another thread to finish. I think it has something to do with that. – schöppi Nov 7 '10 at 12:20

It depends on the application, although windows may display a busy cursor for background tasks that it is running. When I write a program there are certain actions, such as when I open a new window that I include a specific instruction to display the busy cursor. Windows then displays the hourglass over my application window until I send another instruction to display the default cursor. The clicks do register, but because the application is busy in code it may not catch them, or it may catch them after running whatever code it was running, and then unpredictable things happen.

the pseudo code would be something like:

cursor = curors.wait;
... do something
cursor = cursors.default;
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