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Johann's Blog

Registry Hacks

WeĒre big fans of hacking the Windows Registry around here, and weĒve got one of the biggest collections of registry hacks youĒll find.

ItĒs important to note that you should never hack the registry if you donĒt know what youĒre doing, because your computer will light on fire and some squirrels may be injured. Also, you should create a System Restore point before doing so. Otherwise, keep reading.

Keyboard Ninja: Kill Windows with the Blue Screen of Death in 3 Keystrokes

Have you ever wanted to show off your keyboard ninja skills by taking down Windows with just a couple of keystrokes? All you have to do is add one registry key, and then you can impress your friends… or use it to convince people to switch to Linux.

This isnĒt a bug, itĒs a “feature” in Windows that is designed to let users trigger a crash dump for testing purposes. ThereĒs even a whole Microsoft KB article on the subject.

To enable this feature, open up regedit and then browse down to one of these keys, depending on your keyboard type:

USB Keyboard


PS/2 Keyboard


Now right-click on the right-hand pane and add a new DWORD key named CrashOnCtrlScroll, giving it a value of 1.

Reboot your computer, and when it starts back up you can trigger the Blue Screen of Death by using the following keyboard shortcut:

Hold down Right Ctrl and hit Scroll Lock twice

To remove this “feature” you can just delete the registry key and then restart your computer again.

Please note that following this article WILL crash your computer… really isnĒt very useful, but itĒs lots of fun =)

Stupid Geek Tricks: Enable the Secret "How-To Geek" Mode in Windows 7

We havenĒt told anybody before, but Windows has a hidden “How-To Geek Mode” that you can enable which gives you access to every Control Panel tool on a single page—and weĒve documented the secret method for you here.

Update: Do not use this on Vista. If you did, you can use Ctrl+Shift+Esc to start task manager, File \ Run and open a command prompt with cmd.exe, and then use the rmdir command to get rid of the folder.

To activate the secret How-To Geek mode, right-click on the desktop, choose New –> Folder, and then give it this name:

How-To Geek.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

Once youĒve done so, youĒll have activated the secret mode, and the icon will change…

Double-click on the icon, and now you can use the How-To Geek mode, which lists out every single Control Panel tool on a single page.

At this point you might notice why this is a stupid geek trick—itĒs much easier to use the default Control Panel than navigating through a massive list, and anybody that really calls themselves a geek will be using the Start Menu or Control Panel search box anyway.

In case you were wondering, this is the same as that silly “God Mode” trick that everybody else is writing about. For more on why itĒs pointless, see Ed BottĒs post on the subject.

Alright, So ItĒs Not Really a Secret How-To Geek Mode

Sadly, this is nothing more than a stupid geek trick using a technique that isnĒt widely known—Windows uses GUIDs (Globally Unique Identifiers) behind the scenes for every single object, component, etc. And when you create a new folder with an extension that is a GUID recognized by Windows, itĒs going to launch whatever is listed in the registry for that GUID.

You can see for yourself by heading into regedit.exe and searching for {ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} under the HKCR \ CLSID section. YouĒll see on the right-hand pane that itĒs the “All Tasks” view of the Control Panel, which you canĒt normally see from the UI.

You can use this same technique for other Windows objects by doing some digging around in the registry… for instance, if you were to search under HKCR \ CLSID for “Recycle Bin”, youĒd eventually come across the right key—the one on the left-hand side here:

So if you created a folder with the name “The Geek Knows Deleted Files.{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}”, youĒd end up with this icon, clearly from the Recycle Bin.

And itĒs even a fully functional Recycle Bin… just right-click and youĒll see the menu:

So hereĒs the quick list of the ones I felt like digging up, but IĒm sure thereĒs more things you can launch if you really felt like it.

Recycle Bin: {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}

My Computer: {20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}

Network Connections: {7007ACC7-3202-11D1-AAD2-00805FC1270E}

User Accounts: {60632754-c523-4b62-b45c-4172da012619}

Libraries: {031E4825-7B94-4dc3-B131-E946B44C8DD5}

To use any of them, simply create a new folder with the syntax AnyTextHere.{GUID}

Create Shortcuts to GUIDs

Since the GUID points to a Windows object launched by Windows Explorer, you can also create shortcuts and launch them directly from explorer.exe instead of creating the folder. For instance, if you wanted to create a shortcut to My Computer, you could paste in the following as the location for a new shortcut:

explorer ::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}

And just like that, youĒd have a shortcut to My Computer, which you can customize with a different icon, and a shortcut key if you so choose.

Yeah, itĒs a stupid geek trick, but itĒs always fun to learn new things.

Note: The Control PanelĒs All Items hack and the Libraries hack will probably only work in Windows 7. The others should work in any version of Windows.

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