Stupid Computer Tricks

Some people like to know how to overclock an Athlon. Some people like to know how to write good, concise C++ code. Some people like to know how to create/break various forms of encryption.

Not I; I prefer Stupid Computer Tricks (and semi-colons; but let’s not get into that).

You know, like changing the “Start” button in Windows to your name. Or changing the picture Windows displays when it boots up. Or changing the color of the scrollbar in your browser with a CSS.

In other words, the useless, inane, and utterly fascinating little things one can do with equal parts computer and spare time.

Does anyone know any neat-o Stupid Computer Tricks?

I offer this one to get things started:

Changing The Start Button Text

  1. Make a copy of EXPLORER.EXE and save it somewhere safe. This is just a precaution.

  2. Change the file attributes of EXPLORER.EXE so that it is no longer read only.

  3. Open EXPLORER.EXE in a text editor (a PURE text editor; one that doesn’t add its own formatting). I strongly recommend DOS’s EDIT.COM for this. I used the command “edit /70 explorer.exe”. This opens the file and displays it with 70 columns, making it easier to find what we’re looking for.

  4. Scroll waaaay down to near the end of the file. Eventually you’ll see words, instead of the code gibberish. Keep scrolling until you see what appear to be words whose letters are seperated by spaces. Ex: U n a b l e t o r u n t h i s c o m m a n d

  5. Look for the word “Start” spaced out this way. There should be a clover symbol to the left of it.

  6. Change the text to whatever you want. Keep in mind that the “spaces” between the letters must remain there, and that they are NOT spaces! They are ASCII value 0, which can be typed by holding down ALT while pressing 0, then releasing ALT. Also note that the clover symbol is ASCII 5 (move the cursor to that symbol; look in the lower right corner of EDIT’s screen and it will say “Value:5”). If you change the “S t a r t” to something with more (or less) than 5 letters, you must also change the clover symbol to the character that is represented by the ASCII value of the number of letters. For example, if you changed it to “R i c h a r d” you need to change the clover into ASCII 8. You can do this by holding down ALT while pressing 8, then releasing ALT.

  7. Save the file after you’ve made your change.

You will need to restart Windows (or at least explorer) for the change to take affect, IIRC. Also, although I haven’t tested this myself, I believe there is a 255 letter maximum for length.

I got into the registry and changed the title bar of IE to read “Microsoft Internet Explorer provided by the Microsoft Monopoly”. Unfortunately, I don’t remember how I did it.

I want a patch that changes the message on startup. “This computer was not shut down properly bah bah bah run scandisk.” The message sould read “This peice of crap operating system locked up again. Please wait 5 minutes while scan disk tries to run and fix all the errors we caused on your hard drive.”

Things to try:
Replace the start up graphic with one thats been fliped in a graphics program and saved upside down.

Change the short cut icons and names to other programs that are on the desk top. Clicking Excel opens Word, and Word opens Excel.

Here’s one to try out. Those blinking leds on boxes, to get your attention, fit right into the case holder for the power led in the computer case.

Take a screenshot of the desktop, and save it as a jpg or something. Take (as in cut and paste) all the icons off of the desktop, stick 'em in a new folder, and stick this folder in some directory on the hard drive. Set the screenshot of the desktop to be the wallpaper, then pull the taskbar down so it doesn’t show.

The result: A desktop that looks normal, but that doesn’t do a damn thing. Like I said, a dumb trick, but fun.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, for this trick to work right, you have to fiddle with some of the desktop settings. Something like the “view as web page” option(s) or soemthing of the sort.

I have a program from the internet that, takes a snap shot of the desktop when executed. You put it in Windows start up folder and it runs at start up. It then shows the desktop image upside down over the whole desktop. Simply envoke the task manger, and end task. Most people I work with don’t even know what the task manager is.

How do you do this!?

There are several webpages for doing stuff like this in Win95, but does anyone know of any for Win98?

Here’s a simple one page hoe to link.

Here’s a link with fancy programs to do even more.

Windows 98 2nd edition still is modifiable.

I have a cute li’l program called, “T-Clock” that makes it easy to change your Start button… Right now, mine is adorned with a candy cane and reads, “Ho ho ho!” Oh, and the program allows one to customize one’s clock too, of course.

Thanks to all who have responded!

Gunslinger, I too have done that before. IIRC, here’s how you do it:

  2. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main
  3. Create a new string value named “Window Title” (w/o the quotes).
  4. Reboot is necessary for it to take effect.

Here’s another one I remember. It doesn’t work in Win98, and I’m not sure if it works with all versions of Win95.

Shutting Down the Start Button

  1. Click on the Start button (or press the windows key) and then press ESC. or Click once on an icon on the desktop, then press tab. The point here is to have the Start button selected, but not have the menu open. If this is done correctly, and if you look closely, you can see the little dotted box around the word “Start” (or whatever, if you’ve changed it).
  2. Hold down ALT, and press the minus (-) key. A menu should pop up. Select “Close” from the menu.

This is a very fun prank to pull on someone. You have to restart Explorer (at least; not entirely sure) to get it back.

Very usefull in places that haven’t upgraded to Win98 yet. (coughhighschoolcomputerlabcough) :wink:

Phobia, thanks for providing the links!

Here’s the other one I mentioned in the OP:

Neat-o Scrollbar Trick With Style Sheet

  1. In an HTML document, add the following style definition:
    Body { scrollbar-face-color:#000000; scrollbar-arrow-color:#000000; scrollbar-highlight-color:#000000; }
  2. If you know HTML, you probably know what to put in for the #000000’s. If not, here’s the quick & dirty explanation. The # is just there ‘cause it’s gotta be there. Don’t question it. The first two numbers are the amount of RED, the second two are GREEN, and the third pair are BLUE. These values range from 00 to FF in hexadecimal. If you don’t know hexadecimal, either learn it, or use decimal values 0 to 255, and then convert them to hexidecimal with Windows’ calculator.

Example template with scrollbar black, scrollbar arrow white, and some pastel-greenish highlight:
*<html><head><title>TEST PAGE</title></head>
Body { scrollbar-face-color:#000000; scrollbar-arrow-color:#FFFFFF; scrollbar-highlight-color:#B0FFB0; }
<body bgcolor="#ffffff" text="#000000" id=all>

Does anyone know how this program works to change the pic? I would love to know how to do that manually (or write my own prog, whatever).


Well, that’s a start. What you really want to do is take that screenshot (from Windows) and set it as the background picture on a MacOS computer, then take a screen shot of the Mac’s Desktop and set THAT as the PC’s wallpaper. Then switch the monitors so that the PC is showing a normal PC desktop except that what you are really looking at is hooked to the Mac sitting next to it.

Then you switch the mice and keyboards.

Heh heh heh…

Be sure to turn the jpgs upside down when you set them on the desktops.

Er, make that before you set them on the desktops.

ROFL! That’s frickin’ AWESOME! Too bad the only Macs I have access to are iMacs - kinda hard to disguise those… :slight_smile:

One thing pranksters at work would do is set your mouse to left-handed operation and see how long it took you to figure out what the problem was. Average is around 10 seconds, I have seen people call helpdesk over it before, though.

AHunter3, that’s absolutely, positively, completely EVIL!

I love it!

I’m printing this off and changing the start buttons on all the computers at work. If I’m stealthy enough, they won’t even know it’s me. And I’d be willing to wager that it takes them months and months to even realise it was changed.

Heh. Keep 'em coming.

Put your mouse on the taskbar & drag it to the top of the screen. Presto, instant Mac computer!

You can do most of that stuff listed above with programs instead of messing with things you don’t know much about with programs from:

WinMac is a freeware which gives a functional Macintosh ® toolbar for Windows 95. This Finder menu bar can be shown in both
System 7.5 style and Mac OS 8 (formerly known as Copland) style. It also gives you an option to change your desktop icons to
both styles.