Have you ever surprised and impressed a non-geek friend when you were doing something on your computer that you thought was simple? If so, you performed a Stupid Geek Trick. These are simple, sometimes not very useful, computer tasks.
Whether you’re the geek performing the Stupid Geek Trick and you want to learn more geeky tricks, or you’re the non-geek friend wishing you could do what your geeky friend did, here is a collection of some of the best of our Stupid Geek Tricks.
Access Secret Items on the Windows 7 Send To Menu
The Send To context menu in Windows 7 can be a very handy tool. It provides quick access to files, folders, and programs. There are items available on the Send To menu that are not obvious at first. They are hidden items that can be revealed by pressing Shift as you right-click on a file.
The following article shows you how this works and how to access the Send To folder so you can add shortcuts to the menu that are available without having to press Shift as you right-click.
How to Open the Start Menu Folder in Windows 7
Do you like to keep your Start menu organized? It’s easy to do once you gain access to the Start menu folder. You can create folders and move shortcuts around to categorize the Start menu items. However, accessing the Start menu folder is not as straightforward as it was in Windows XP. The following article shows you the very easy method of accessing your personal, user-specific Start menu folder and the system-wide Start menu folder.
Search the Internet from the Start Menu in Windows 7
In Windows 7 and Vista, Microsoft decided to make the Search feature in Windows 7 more convenient by adding a Search box on the Start menu so you can quickly and easily search the files and folders on your computer. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could search the Internet from the Start menu as well? The following article shows you how to do this.
Tile or Cascade Multiple Windows in Windows 7
If you run many programs at once in Windows 7 your desktop can get cluttered with many open windows. If you want to tile or cascade only a few of the open windows, it’s a pain to minimize all the windows, re-open only the ones you want to tile or cascade, then choose Tile or Cascade from the Taskbar context menu.
In Windows XP and Vista, you could just Ctrl + Click on multiple Taskbar buttons and then select an option to tile just the selected windows. In Windows 7, this ability was removed and Aero Snap added, which allows you to drag a window to the side of the screen, and have it snap to fill half of the screen. However, what it you want to tile windows vertically or tile more than two windows? The following article describes an easier method for tiling or cascading multiple windows in Windows 7.
Easily Disable Aero Peek in Windows 7
The Aero Peek feature in Windows 7 temporarily makes open windows transparent so you can see what’s on your desktop behind the windows. If you don’t want to use this feature, it is very easy to turn it off.
The following article shows you how to disable only the setting that previews the desktop. You can also disable the taskbar thumbnail version of Aero Peek and disable or change the delay for Aero Peek.
Open a Command Prompt from the Desktop Right-Click Menu
If you use the command prompt a lot in Windows, we have a easy trick that you can do in Windows 7 and Vista to quickly open a command prompt window without having to search for it on the Start menu or navigate the Start menu to find the shortcut.
The following article shows you to open a command prompt window by right-clicking on the desktop or any folder in Windows Explorer. When the command prompt opens, you are located in the desktop folder or whatever folder you right-clicked.
Open an Explorer Window from the Current Directory in a Command Prompt Window
The previous stupid geek trick showed you how to open a command prompt window to the directory currently open in Windows Explorer. You can also go the other way.
The following article shows you various ways to open the current folder or another specified folder in Windows Explorer from the command prompt.
This trick works in Windows 7, Vista, and XP.
Navigate in the File Open/Save Dialog with the Keyboard
If you prefer using the keyboard than the mouse, you will like this stupid geek trick. You can use the keyboard to navigate the File Open or File Save dialog box.
The following article shows you how to do various tasks in the File Open and File Save dialog boxes, such as navigating up one directory, navigating by relative path, and navigating using UNC paths, among other tricks.
Undo an Accidental Move or Delete with a Keyboard Shortcut
At one point or another, you’ve probably accidentally deleted the wrong file, or duplicated files while trying to actually selecting them using the mouse. Mistakes like this can be very annoying, but there’s a very simple way to reverse them.
The following article shows you a keyboard shortcut that allows you to undo your mistake. This shortcut works in any version of Windows.
Add Apps to the Windows 7 Explorer Favorites List
If you use Windows Explorer often, it would be useful if you could start your favorite programs right from the Explorer window.
You can add folders to your Favorites listfor quick access to files you use often; however, you cannot add programs to the Favorites list. The following article shows you how you can get around this limitation and add programs to your Favorites list.
How to Switch Windows 7 to the XP-Style Alt-Tab Switcher
If you like the way you switched among programs in Windows XP, you can get back the XP-Style Alt-Tab switcher in Windows 7 that does not use thumbnails like the Windows 7 version does.
You can temporarily do this using a certain combination of keys, but it you want the feature back permanently, the following article shows you how to do this with a registry hack.
NOTE: We don’t actually recommend the XP-Style Alt-Tab switcher or say it’s better than the one in Windows 7. We’re just showing you the method as an extra option in case you prefer it.
Double-Click the Left Window Icon to Close an App in Windows
There are several ways to close an application in Windows. You can select the Close or Exit option from the File menu (if there is a menu bar available). You can click the X button in the upper, right corner of the application’s window. You can even right-click on the application’s icon on the Taskbar and select Close window.
The following article describes another option for closing an application using the icon in the upper, left corner of the application’s window.
Hide Data in a Secret Text File Compartment
There are all kinds of ways of protecting your data. One of the many ways is to hide data in a text file so it can’t be seen by anyone else unless they know what you named your secret compartment.
The following article shows you how to hide data in a text file. Note that this method of protecting your data is not the most secure, but it’s a fun trick and does not require any third-party software.
NOTE: This method of hiding data in a text file only works on a drive formatted with NTFS.
6 Ways to Open the Windows Task Manager
Sometimes a virus can disable the key combination, Ctrl + Alt + Del, for opening the Task Manager. However, there are other methods for opening the Task Manager, and the following article shows you six different ways to do this.
Some methods are more efficient than others, but if you’re fighting a virus, any of these methods are good options.
How to Modify the Icon of an .Exe File
If some of your programs have really ugly or boring icons, you can change these icons to something more pleasing, while also improving your geek skills. The following article shows you how to change the icon for an application.
NOTE: Be sure to make a backup of the application’s .exe file before modifying the icon, just in case.
Hack the Windows Experience Index
Some programs use the Windows Experience Index to enable or disable functionality. If you score is too low, some parts of programs may have limited functionality or even be completely disabled. There is a way to hack the Windows Experience Index to increase your score without buying a new PC and unlock functionality in some programs that was limited or disabled before.
Or, if you just want to be geeky, you can use this stupid geek trick to try to beat out your friends with your Windows Experience Index.
The following article shows you two ways to change the scores in your Windows Experience Index: by editing an XML file and by using a small, portable application.
Hack the Firefox Profile Data Storage
Firefox stores the history from your previous browsing sessions, including URLs, saved passwords, form data, and certain preference values in some SQLite databases in your Firefox profile folder. The following article shows you how to use an open source program, called SQLite Database Browser, to view the structure of these databases and the data in them and to manipulate the data in each of the tables. You can even backup your database tables.
Make Zip Files with the Same Name as a Selected File
When you use the Compressed Folders feature built into Windows to create zip files, the zip file has the same name as the selected file. However, this might get weird if you have selected multiple files. The following article shows you how to make it choose the right name when you right-click on the files to be compressed.
Use 7-Zip as a Blazing Fast File Browser
If you don’t like the file browsing experience in Windows Explorer, you have a free, powerful file browser available to you. We found it to be less buggy and slow than Windows Explorer and the viewing mode doesn’t revert back to a view you didn’t select. The following article shows you how to get the most out of 7-Zip as a file browser.
Randomly Rename Every File in a Directory
If you want to randomize some pictures when running them in a slideshow or in a digital picture frame, you can easily randomly rename every file in a directory using a batch script provided in the following article.
You can also use this batch script as a practical joke on someone. Please note, though, that when the script runs, it warns you that deleting the created translation file (__Translation.txt) will prevent you from being able to undo the renaming. So, before running the script, be sure to back up that file to a different directory so it doesn’t get renamed.
The batch script also has an “undo” function. See the comments in the script for instructions on how to do this.
Now, you can impress your non-geek friends with your newfound geek skills!
Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.
- Published 11/5/11