Ok, maybe not hate, maybe a better word is 'feel sorry for'. Of course, that won't stop me from finding funny pranks to pull on the administrators of windows systems at the places I work.

Take for example a black login window, you can't see what you're typing or anything else for that matter. I think it's hilarious and it's going to drive a non-skilled admin crazy for a while.

The registry is a wonderful thing, you can do so many things with it. Make your windows system purr like a kitten or howl like a kitten...that works on some level, just not sure what it is yet.

So one day at work, via some unknown malicious force one of the server's log in screens went completely black, yet all the services were running, the shares available, etc. Everything was fun, but when you went to log on to the system everything was black, no login box, no text box no nothing. The windows admins had been pulling their hair out trying to figure out what had happened. Rebooting the box several times had no impact, the login screen was always all black. So as the issue got escalated one of them asked me if I would take a look. I went through the normal troubleshooting process and didn't really find anything wrong. When I had a though, 'self, can't you control all the colors of the system within the registry?' the scary part was when I answered myself in the affirmative.

Using the registry editor off a terminal server I connected on up to the system and browsed the registry, and lo and behold there it was in the registry!

HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Colors

all the settings there looked like this:
"ActiveBorder"="0 0 0"

Well from the old days of making websites I knew that would make that item black. How could this have happened? Well a quick color settings export from another server and reading them off and changing them resolved the original issue.

Then I thought to myself, 'self, this would really make a damn good practical joke'

So I saved the settings (and the fix for them) and I'll post them here in the hopes that windows pranks will bring a smile to a few peoples faces.


the break:
(either get a user to merge this with his registry or edit it yourself--no reboot required)

[HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Colors]
"ActiveBorder"="0 0 0"
"ActiveTitle"="0 0 0"
"AppWorkSpace"="0 0 0"
"Background"="0 0 0"
"ButtonAlternateFace"="0 0 0"
"ButtonDkShadow"="0 0 0"
"ButtonFace"="0 0 0"
"ButtonHilight"="0 0 0"
"ButtonLight"="0 0 0"
"ButtonShadow"="0 0 0"
"ButtonText"="0 0 0"
"GradientActiveTitle"="0 0 0"
"GradientInactiveTitle"="0 0 0"
"GrayText"="0 0 0"
"Hilight"="0 0 0"
"HilightText"="0 0 0"
"HotTrackingColor"="0 0 0"
"InactiveBorder"="0 0 0"
"InactiveTitle"="0 0 0"
"InactiveTitleText"="0 0 0"
"InfoText"="0 0 0"
"InfoWindow"="0 0 0"
"Menu"="0 0 0"
"MenuText"="0 0 0"
"Scrollbar"="0 0 0"
"TitleText"="0 0 0"
"Window"="0 0 0"
"WindowFrame"="0 0 0"
"WindowText"="0 0 0"
"MenuHilight"="0 0 0"
"MenuBar"="0 0 0"

when he or she logs out the screen will be black as night, not a sliver of anything to be seen.

and when you've had your fun, the fix:

again either merge, or fix it manually...merging it might be a little difficult since everything will be black :-) of course you can export the settings before you make the change so you can quickly revert

[HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Colors]
"ActiveBorder"="212 208 200"
"ActiveTitle"="0 84 227"
"AppWorkSpace"="128 128 128"
"Background"="0 78 152"
"ButtonAlternateFace"="181 181 181"
"ButtonDkShadow"="113 111 100"
"ButtonFace"="236 233 216"
"ButtonHilight"="255 255 255"
"ButtonLight"="241 239 226"
"ButtonShadow"="172 168 153"
"ButtonText"="0 0 0"
"GradientActiveTitle"="61 149 255"
"GradientInactiveTitle"="157 185 235"
"GrayText"="172 168 153"
"Hilight"="49 106 197"
"HilightText"="255 255 255"
"HotTrackingColor"="0 0 128"
"InactiveBorder"="212 208 200"
"InactiveTitle"="122 150 223"
"InactiveTitleText"="216 228 248"
"InfoText"="0 0 0"
"InfoWindow"="255 255 225"
"Menu"="255 255 255"
"MenuText"="0 0 0"
"Scrollbar"="212 208 200"
"TitleText"="255 255 255"
"Window"="255 255 255"
"WindowFrame"="0 0 0"
"WindowText"="0 0 0"
"MenuHilight"="49 106 197"
"MenuBar"="236 233 216"