Introduction: Windows Invisible Desktop Prank

Picture of Windows Invisible Desktop Prank

How to temporarily make your desktop bare, just the background and mouse. And, no, this is not just hiding the Taskbar and deleting the Icons, this is actually stopping the browsing program.
Note-This is my first Instructable.

Update 7/14/08: I found a new way.

Step 1: Print This Instructable

It's pretty self explanatory.

Step 2: Using Taskkill

This will end explorer, but you have to type it. Try the batch file if you don't want to.

Open the start menu and type taskkill /f /im explorer.exe and hit enter. Done!

Step 3: Batch File

Picture of Batch File

To run it as a batch file, open notepad (Start>Programs>Accessories>Notepad) and type the following.

taskkill /f /im explorer.exe&rundll32 user32.dll,LockWorkStation&exit for a logoff afterwords.
taskkill /f /im explorer.exe&exit for no logoff afterwords
once you have chosen a name, add .bat to the end. You will have to select All File Types underneath the file name box. Then save it. Copy it onto something like a drive or CD to take it around.

Just double-click it to implement!!

Note-I got the lock program from here.

Step 4: Getting It Off

To get explorer back, bring up Task Manager with Ctrl-Alt-Del. In the accessories tab, click New Task. type explorer and hit enter. You can now close Task Manager. Complete! Restarting also gets rid of it, unfortunately. I am working on a reg thing, though...

Step 5: How It Works

explorer.exe is the program that makes you able to open files, and everything is a file. Even the Start menu is saved as a file. In fact, you can prove that everything is somewhere as a file by going to C:>WINDOWS>system32 in My Computer. In this folder are many .exe (Which stands for executable, meaning it's a program) files. They have names like shutdown and logoff. You can guess what these do. There are also others like taskmgr, which is Task Manager, the program we used to restart explorer.exe.

So, if we end explorer, we have no way of opening file and programs, except for shortcuts. Lucky for us, Task Manager, which is what we need to restart explorer, is easily accessible through Ctrl+Alt+Del. That is basically how this works.


will421 (author)2011-02-10

"Restarting also gets rid of it, unfortunately. I am working on a reg thing, though..." XP. just put it in startup. done. If you really want to own them, just say del explorer.exewhich doesn't allow you to start u--well, just to make a long story short: What explorer.exe?

BaTcH MasTeR 101 (author)will4212014-03-02

expoler.exe is an exacutable file that is run as a proccese that is the graphical user interface

GUI the graphics...

Foxx4050 (author)2011-04-18

I'm a complete noob when it comes to computers, but wouldn't the Control-C command stop the batch file?

gb123 (author)2010-11-14

Would this spam explorer.exe?

@Echo off
Run explorer.exe
Goto a

ravebot (author)2008-08-21

he he he new computers at school and i have the id login list...... time to have some fun

puffyfluff (author)ravebot2008-08-21

Me too. I am the tech guy at school, so I get all the server passwords and everything.

ravebot (author)puffyfluff2008-09-12

sweet i had to get the list from a teachers computer

puffyfluff (author)ravebot2008-09-12


ravebot (author)puffyfluff2008-09-14

i almost got in soooooo much trouble

puffyfluff (author)ravebot2008-09-14

Wow. They gave me the list, and my network account is the only one with admin privileges.

ravebot (author)puffyfluff2008-09-15


puffyfluff (author)ravebot2008-09-15

Yeah. I also run the school website.

anthonyman75 (author)puffyfluff2009-08-04

I RUN OURS TOO lawlz... soz bout caps. thanks for teh instructable

ravebot (author)puffyfluff2008-09-16


puffyfluff (author)ravebot2008-09-16

Yeah. I'm pretty lucky. There's another guy, but he isn't really recognized by the school.

Thccraig (author)2009-01-23

Whoever posted this your my hero! I got a virus that entered that code. I so thought my computer was dead! entered the code and she lives again. YOU ROCK!YOU ROCK!YOU ROCK!YOU ROCK!YOU ROCK!

puffyfluff (author)Thccraig2009-01-24

Why thank you, I am quite glad I could be of assistance.

jimmarz (author)2008-10-29

Lol it does'nt work! can anyone give me another code?

puffyfluff (author)jimmarz2008-10-31
taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
Doesn't work?
jnejne (author)2008-05-22

I wrote a VB scribt, that just removed the taskbar.... and i mean realy removed it :-)

ajithkpunnoose (author)jnejne2008-07-13

TO do all of the above just click CANCEL while pressing ALT+CTRL+SHIFT in the shutdown prompt

puffyfluff (author)jnejne2008-05-22

Really? How did you do that?

jnejne (author)puffyfluff2008-05-23

Dont remember the eksact code... google it

kouraf16 (author)2008-02-23

Well,that depends on your theme.If you use the XP ones,then you will be shown that blue line.BUT my friend was using another one he got from the web and the resize grab was so small(it must have been a pixel or so)that he didn't see it and he was scared to death not seeing his desktop being restored after thous of restarts!!!I was laughing my guts out while he was screaming "I just formatted it and you messed it up??"

puffyfluff (author)kouraf162008-02-24

Oh. Well, then that would work too.

kouraf16 (author)2008-02-09

There is a far more effective way.Right click on desktop>arrange icons>Uncheck the option Show Desktop Icons.And then right click on taskbar>Uncheck the option Lock taskbar.Then move it down to the bottom of the desktop.If you let the computer shut down properly,it will save the changes,and the next time you open it everything is gonna be hidden except for the mouse.

puffyfluff (author)kouraf162008-02-09

Yes, but there is a blue bar at the bottom, and if it's a prank, the first thing people will do is look for the taskbar, and then they'll know what you did. It's not as scary to find the taskbar smaller and the icons hidden as finding your computer locked up.

Mr. Smart Kid (author)2008-02-09

thankes expolrer for some reson it ended on my pc

Transience (author)2008-02-08

it won't work on most computers anyway, since explorer.exe is automatically restarted by windows if it ever running or responding. The fact that it works on yours means that you've got an issue.

puffyfluff (author)Transience2008-02-08

That is interesting, because I have tried it on lots of computers, and it always worked.

neelradhakrishnan (author)2008-02-08

.exe actually means executable file. Nice simple prank to get noobs with though. To bad my computer sucks and half the time I have to manually run explorer before I can even start using it. Meh. Nice detailed instructable.

Thanks for the tip. I knew it was either executable or execute, but I didn't know which one.

Sbchristo (author)2008-02-08

Great quick and dirty l'il prank for novice computer users! Heck, I think you could bring down most corporations with this one (if you could get to all the PC's) and get a real chuckle outta IT until they realized they had to fix it :) Also, thanks for pointing out the whole new task button. I have been ignoring it for years and you just forced me to realize there may actually be a purpose for it!

puffyfluff (author)Sbchristo2008-02-08

I wish, but restarting your computer gets rid of it. There are two ways to stop that though-delete the file that makes explorer.exe not automatically run on startup (which I don't know how to do), or write a DOS Batch File to turn it off when it turns on.

About This Instructable




Bio: I live in Estes Park, Colorado. I like anything to do with science and I do a lot of sciency things.
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