Intro: Fun Prank in Any Windows Version
An extremely entertaining prank to play on unsuspecting friends (or enemies) by exiting the Windows Explorer process, causing the task bar and any Explorer windows to disappear.
Note:This CAN NOT and WILL NOT cause any harm to the victim's computer. If you encounter any troubles, just restart the computer. Any damage caused as a result of trying this out is neither my FAULT nor my RESPONSIBILITY. Any damage caused is your fault, due to incorrectly following these steps (and your computer can befall harm if you exit certain system-crucial processes). This process is harmless.
Step 1: Open Windows Task Manager
After gaining access to the victim's computer, open Windows task manager. This can be done two different ways:
1. On MOST Windows XP versions (and previous versions of Windows), press ctrl-alt-delete to open task manager.
*On some computers, the administrator may have changed that function to leave the desktop, and open a window that has a couple different functions, such as shutting down the computer, simply select the open task manager button, or, if this doesn't work for you try the Vista steps.
2. On ALL Windows Vista versions, press ctrl-shift-esc to open task manager. (You can also use ctrl-alt-delete and then select open task manager.)
**Important Note: On some systems, the administrator may have disabled Windows task manager. I have found that this isn't the case on most systems (the only example I can think of are the public library computers, locked down to browsing the library's online database). If this IS the case, you will get a "the administrator has disable windows task manager" error.
3. Now that you have Windows task manager open, navigate to the "processes" tab, as shown in the picture.
Step 2: Exit the Explorer.exe Process.
Now, look on the long list of process (or click on "Image Name" to organize them alphabetically) and find the process called "explorer.exe". This is the Windows Explorer process. Click on it, and press the "End Task" button. This will cause the taskbar to immediately disappear.
That alone usually causes technically challenged people to freak out. However, there are two more things to cause even more panic:
1. Exit/Minimize all their windows, and move them to the top/bottom/side/corner of the screen so they can't tell where they are.
2. Place all the desktop icons into the recycle bin.
Now the victim will have absolutely NO IDEA what is going on.
Step 3: Return Everything to Normal
Now, to set everything back to normal, there are a few simple steps:
1. Restart the Windows Explorer process. Re-Open Windows Task Manager, and select file>run at the top. Type in explorer.exe in the entry box and you're done, unless you followed the unnecessary steps, in which case:
2. Move their windows back onto the desktop, and restore all the desktop icons from the recycle bin.
Try it out on your own computer to see how it works!