How-To Geek

20 of the Best Stupid Geek Tricks to Impress Your Friends

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

01_secret_send_to_menu_itemsThe 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Secret Items on the Windows 7 Send To Menu

How to Open the Start Menu Folder in Windows 7

02_opening_start_menu_folderDo 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: How to Open the Start Menu Folder in Windows 7

Search the Internet from the Start Menu in Windows 7

03_search_the_internet_on_start_menuIn 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Search the Internet from the Start Menu in Windows 7

Tile or Cascade Multiple Windows in Windows 7

04_tiling_windowsIf 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Tile or Cascade Multiple Windows in Windows 7

Easily Disable Aero Peek in Windows 7

05_turning_off_areo_peekThe 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Disable Windows 7 Aero Peek in Two Clicks

Open a Command Prompt from the Desktop Right-Click Menu

06_open_command_window_hereIf 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Open a Command Prompt From the Desktop Right-Click Menu

Open an Explorer Window from the Current Directory in a Command Prompt Window

07_opening_explorer_windowThe 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Open an Explorer Window from the Command Prompt’s Current Directory

Navigate in the File Open/Save Dialog with the Keyboard

08_navigate_open_save_dialog_with_keyboardIf 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Navigate in the File Open/Save Dialog With the Keyboard

Undo an Accidental Move or Delete with a Keyboard Shortcut

09_accidentally_copied_filesAt 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Undo an Accidental Move or Delete With a Keyboard Shortcut

Add Apps to the Windows 7 Explorer Favorites List

10_adding_programs_to_favoritesIf 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Add Apps to the Windows 7 Explorer Favorites List

How to Switch Windows 7 to the XP-Style Alt-Tab Switcher

11_xp_style_switcherIf 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: How to Switch Windows 7 to the XP Style Alt-Tab Switcher

Double-Click the Left Window Icon to Close an App in Windows

12_closing_an_appThere 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Double-Click the Left Window Icon to Close an App in Windows

Hide Data in a Secret Text File Compartment

13_hiding_data_in_text_fileThere 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Hide Data in a Secret Text File Compartment

6 Ways to Open the Windows Task Manager

14_task_manager_shortcutSometimes 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: 6 Ways to Open Windows Task Manager

How to Modify the Icon of an .Exe File

15_icon_changed_for_exe_fileIf 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: How to Modify the Icon of an .Exe File

Hack the Windows Experience Index

16_windows_experience_indexSome 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Hacking the Windows Experience Index

17_sqlite_database_browserHack 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Hacking the Firefox Profile Data Storage

18_naming_zip_filesMake 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Make Zip files With the Same Name as a Selected File

Use 7-Zip as a Blazing Fast File Browser

19_7zip_file_managerIf 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Using 7-Zip as a Blazing Fast File Browser

Randomly Rename Every File in a Directory

20_random_namesIf 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.

Stupid Geek Tricks: Randomly Rename Every File in a Directory

Now, you can impress your non-geek friends with your newfound geek skills!

Lori Kaufman is a 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

Comments (21)

  1. David

    No. 1 Dont have windows 7?????

  2. bill pool

    Nor do I on my main computer. Still trying to fathom Vista.

  3. Noah S

    Ditch Vista, friend. As you know, it makes you want to do terrible things to puppies and small children.

  4. John

    Allow me to re-title this for you…

    ’20 Windows 7 Hacks You’ll Love’

    Lots of great ‘geek tricks’ here, none of them stupid. Nearly all of them Windows 7.

  5. Dark Reality

    With apologies to the editor, I don’t find any of these particularly impressive to non-geeks, but, being a geek myself, I guess I’m a little biased.

    Here are some quirky things I’ve done that have impressed non-geeks.

    1. Use my TV as a monitor. It’s sitting right next to my PC (rather, my PC is between my TV and monitor) and the HDMI channel enables the second monitor. Playing a PC game that is also available on Xbox 360, on the TV with a wired Xbox 360 controller, with the Xbox on (and doing nothing), then alt-tabbing out is a good mind-blower. Or just doing regular computer stuff on the TV.

    2. Portable apps. Period. That’s it. There are a bunch of things here. Like taking an XP box that lacks a DVD codec, and running VLC Portable. Or Firefox Portable on an IE-only box. Or a game that is inherently portable like Unreal Tournament or Deus Ex.

    3. Virtual computing. Like VMWare. Some non-geek comes over, and I’ve got my XP VM open. And I’m on Firefox, in my profile, and it’s like, oh, you have Windows XP. I woulda thought a guy like you would be using 7. Oh, CTRL+ALT, ESC, hey, here’s Windows 7. If I really wanted to be a wise guy, I might try to run Linux in VMWare in a virtual XP, which is running in 7. Box within a box within a box. Never tried it, though, it wouldn’t be practical except for showing off.

    4. Android on PC. With the Asus EEE build (I think!) of Android-x86, I can get Android running in a VM. Or I can just go to Amazon, look up Android apps, and use their cloud-based Android emulator. Yes, actually using Google’s SDK ranks third.

    5. Lastly, having built a computer. A non-geek sees an Antec 902? Generally, bricks get shat.

    Bonus: Emulators. There’s nothing like busting some old-school Mario, Zelda, or Metroid on the PC.

  6. Donaldjj

    These are some nice tricks BUT why not show how to dop them in Vista or XP. Not having a woindows t machine (though I do have windows 8) these geek articles are of very limited value to me.

  7. Morely Dotes

    Windows XP is now more than 10 years old. Vista is the biggest debacle to ever come out of Microsoft (with the possible exception of DOS 5.0). IT’s long past time to move on. If you XP machine can’t run Windows 7, donate it to Goodwill or install Ubuntu Linux instead, and get a new PC. If you have Vista on your PC, spring for Windows 7 ($90 retail for Win 7 Home Premium, and often less money if you can get a student discount or buy hardware at the same time). The performance improvement alone is worth the money.

    I am the last guy who’d be called a Microsoft fan by the people who know me (for years I ran a server farm in my home on Linux, and used Linux on the desktop on several PCs), but Windows 7 is the closest MS has ever come to “getting it right.”

  8. Rick S

    My friends wouldn’t have a clue to what I was trying to show them anyway.
    Most of them don’t even update their anti virus when their 30 day free trial runs out. lol.
    Then I impress them by removing all the nasties and installing anti virus.
    Their computers run like new and all of a sudden they think I’m an expert.
    Heck, It wasn’t that long ago that I found out that you didn’t start a computer with a pull cord.

  9. Marek

    Morely Dotes said:
    Vista is the biggest debacle to ever come out of Microsoft (with the possible exception of DOS 5.0).

    Don’t think so. DOS 5 was pretty damn good. Now if you meant DOS 4, I’d be in full agreement.

  10. javila

    I’ve run Windows Vista since 06-2009.. Never had a prob. What are the top 10 probs you geeks have run into in Vista? I am not a super-geek, but do “fix” my friend’s pc’s somewhat like Rick S. said on previous post. I also have a pc with XP that is 10 yrs old and it is upgraded with Ram and a 160gb hard drive… runs better than new and as long as I keep the Avast or Avg up to date, and connected through a good router (great firewall), I haven’t had the need to switch to Win 7…. I do work on them (fix), but am not a user of Win7… Looking forward to the top 10 no-no’s of Vista.

  11. James

    Not expecting a answer to this, but what happen to the abilly to print these out fine tricks?.

  12. tony

    “!f you XP machine can’t run Windows 7, donate it to Goodwill or install Ubuntu Linux instead, and get a new PC” ….. not everyone can just give a PC away and buy a new one. Some of us have to stick to what we have for financial reasons !!!!

  13. Wayne

    What if you don’t have any friends? *sniff*

  14. NumberSix6

    @Rick S… 100% agree. With just installing chrome and the speed dial extension a lot of people are impress around me (They think i’m a geek!), they dont even know Chrome is available!!!, you just need to know a few and keep informed about new things to impress the rest 80% of people around the world that don’t have a clue and only uses they computers for facebook, messenger or porn.

  15. ohdee

    I’m using Vista too – wanted to upgrade to Win 7 but my neighborhood geek said Win 8 would be coming out soon so why bother.

    (Wayne, you’re funny!)

  16. Max

    Almost any article on a website where I have to click through AGAIN to see the information I don’t bother with. Thanks anyway.

  17. knightspawn5

    I been running Vista Ultimate for 4 years and havent had a single problem. Dont know why others are having such a problem with it…The geek tricks are nice, but not very useful to me at this point to show my friends.

  18. Ross

    you guys are hilarious!

  19. Dave C.

    **** QUESTION ****

    When I added items to the “Send To” menu – specifically folders – the problem I have is that I want “Move To”, and “Send To” is more of a “Copy To” (which I guess I makes sense).

    I’ve seen how to add a “Move To” right click item, but then I have to bang around & select a folder from a tree. I’d like to be able to add a few folders to the “Send To” menu, and have it move (not copy) when one of those folders was the target. If this isn’t possible through an obvious & easy approach, maybe there is a simple shell script that would do it? In other words, create “music.bat”, put it in the Send To folder, and then when music.bat is the target of “send to”, music.bat would be passed the filename, and it would simply move from the original location to a hard-coded “music” folder (e.g. c:\music or whatever)

    Anyone able to help here?

  20. teknodweeb

    Recently purchased a hp pavilion dv7 keys keep sticking \i
    type and then find out the keys didn’t register. Any suggestions\/

  21. RichmondJim

    @Morely Dotes: VISTA is the biggest debacle? I would cast my vote for Windows ME (Millenium Edition) and what makes it worse is that Micro$oft didn’t learn from that screw up… introducing a “so not ready” O/S just to keep the cash flowing in the door… they released VISTA in the same state!

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