Sim closes with ALT+F4 without a warning

Excellent, so even windows itself has no problem to raise a prompt to ask the user if they actually want to close.

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In theory it could be, but think about it, its really the application which has the knowledge about what to do if it receives the WM_CLOSE. Different applications have different use cases, fox example in games with auto save, it may just be sufficient to ask if the really want to close the app. But in for example a word processor, it’s appropriate to ask the user of they want to save the active documents before closing. Usually the options in these cases are Save, Do not save and Cancel. If user clicks on cancel, it neither saves the document not does it close the application.

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If hat would be the case then it is a bug in the application. When pressing ALT + F4 the operating system (well… Windows, I don‘t know of any other OS that is using this shortcut) is nicely asking the process to shutdown. Including any necessary „cleanup tasks“ such as flushing a file to storage… or syncing cloud data.

So it is not a forced shutdown of the process (the application).


ALT + F4 was written on a sign held up by members of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) - at a speech given by Bill Gates given at the time (but my memory is weak and I didn‘t find any links on the web just yet: the web also seems to forget quickly ;))

In fact, ALT + F4 is so (in-)famous that it made it into pop culture, pranks („Press ALT + F4 now to see a unicorn dance“) and countless memes.

E.g. there is a song called ALT + F4:

(and it references the sign that I mentioned). So depending on your music taste you might want to immediately close that YouTube video (hint: press ALT + F4!).

And if that doesn‘t help to learn there are apparently even tutorials out there showing you exactly how to press ALT + F4.

And lastly… why not buy some merch? :wink:

So here you go… now you know when (not) to press ALT + F4

Happy flying!

Update: maybe this helps to create a mental model - specifically designed towards flight simulator enthusiasts - of what ALT + F4 does:


I am pretty sure that most would agree that it would be a silly thing for the autopilot to ask: „You haven‘t completed your logbook entries just yet. Are you sure that you want to eject? [Yes, do not eject] [No] [Abort] [Cancel]“



I’m having “press any key to continue” flashbacks with this thread

Be nice to let the devs get on with fixing the important stuff

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That would be a good idea if the eject options was on the same keyboard with all the other input keys for handling the aircraft. There is a reason it is not. Else u would have a lot of crashed airplanes and pilots in a parachutes due finger pressed a few mm off the intended button…

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And if the eject button was just like any other button, say landing light switch, not something guarded and clearly marked. Gee that would be fun to hit in a turbulence.
And even Microsoft’s own apps does prompt before closing after pressing alt f4.

Most glaring example: press alt f4 on the windows desktop, it won’t shutdown right then, it will ask you what kind of restart do you want, and even there is a cancel option.

An argument can be made for both side.

it really isn’t.

ALT-F4 used to be a common way to ‘cheat’ on ironman challenges in many games, forcing the game to close, and on reloading open a previous auto-save.

It never did anything ‘nicely’, it just shuts down the task.

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Mulligans in Tiger Woods 2007 comes to mind …

… apparently

It really is. Run your Windows application in a debugger, put a breakpoint in the WM_CLOSE message handler code and observe that the same code gets hit if you click the ‘X’ at the top of the window or if you press Alt-F4. If some application screwed up how it handles it’s shutdown sequence, then that’s on the developers of that application, not the OS.

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Where’s the ‘any’ key?

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It really is. Believe me. I am a software engineer. I know wayyyy more aggressive means to „kill a process“.

In fact, read up on „WM_CLOSE“ events if you do not believe me. That is a nice way for the OS to ask „the app to please close all your windows anytime soon, when it is convenient“.

Or it‘s like your mum asking „party‘s over, folks! Time to send your friends home.“

No. „It“ (= the OS) does not shut down the task: it asks the process to „please, with sugar on top, shut down“.

And that‘s the whole point really. Again, the OS has other means to end your party with your friends :wink:

But yes, the default behaviour of processes - if not explicitly programmed - is to simply comply with the WM_CLOSE event and close all windows.

That‘s like you and your friends leaving the house without drinking all the beer first (but your mom actually gave you the chance to do so - and in my book that‘s nice ;)).


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