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Stupid Geek Tricks: How to Make Mac OS X Get Weird


Here’s a really stupid geek trick for you Mac users out there: You can make OS X lose its mind when minimizing a window with some quick timing and a terminal command.

This trick was first shown to me a few days ago by our very own Mac guru writer, Alex Layne, but I just finally got around to writing it up for the rest of you. Enjoy!

Make OS X Get Weird

The trick to getting this to work is to first open up a Terminal window, and then type in killall Dock, but don’t hit enter, and make sure to use a capital letter since this command is case sensitive.

Now flip over to another window, hold down the Shift key and click the minimize button. Note that this will only work if you have the Genie effect enabled for the Dock minimizing.

You’ll need to quickly Cmd+Tab back over to the Terminal window, and then hit the enter key. This will cause the window to stop minimizing halfway through.

The really crazy thing is that you can continue to interact with the window—even browse, or do anything that you’d normally do.

Put it Back to Normal

To put the window back to normal, switch over to it, and then use the Minimize command from the menu. The window will minimize like normal, and then you can restore it again.

Naturally, the best way to use this trick is when somebody else leaves their Mac unattended—they will think their computer went insane.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/28/10

Comments (18)

  1. Makak

    And this is worth an entire article?… i guess for stupid apple users shiny and stupid things are important.

    I AM A TROLL

  2. Ali

    cant we do this in windows 7?

  3. Chris

    You’re the stupid one and stop complaining. You don’t have to read an article if you think it’s not worth it.

  4. David Levine

    That’s funny. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Alistair Cohen

    I’m just surprised to see that the dock is actually re-shaping the window, NOT taking a image of the window, and manipulating the image to suit the effect.
    To that extent, this trick is quite an interesting insight into window management on OS X for a newbie like me!

  6. October

    Reading it I’m thinking “what’s the point?” but from the pranksters perspective, that’d be hella funny, lol

  7. Cory Wilson

    Awesome trick! But rather than minimizing then switching to Terminal with Alt+Tab, you could simply hold Command+Shift and click minimize, that way Terminal remains the active window.

  8. vanessa

    this is GREAT technotard boyfriend may never touch my computer again. :P

  9. D@washgheights

    Don’t currently own a Mac, but think of this as a cool trick. After all, it’s knowledge, which is always good.

  10. dcj2

    Alistair makes an incredibly astute observation. So many people would look at this as say, “What’s the point?” While it may not be the most useful “trick” in day-to-day operations, it provides a lot of insight into what goes on behind the scenes

  11. Ko0lHaNDLuKe

    I love this trick! Many thanks! Only problem was I tried it on my Firefox which, of course, had this page running and then I couldn’t work out how to undo it without closing Firefox completely. Had to fire up Chrome to find the solution!

  12. Camilo Martin

    It indeed surprises me that you can still interact with the window.

  13. GM

    April Fools!!

  14. Matthew Guay

    Ok, Microsoft, this is one feature you need to copy in Windows 8 :P

  15. John

    Unrelated to the effect of the window, but what is that phantom tab, fourth one from the left with the ‘y’ – it’s bugging me that I don’t know.

  16. Fu

    I can does dat in Windows 7. Hell yah.

  17. Dave Thomas

    John: It’s Yammer, a kind of “private Twitter”. http://yammer.com

  18. Leonidas

    I hate mac so I will do it to my mums computer(send the link).

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