Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Windows Microsoft Security

Windows 7 Has Lots of "God Modes" 422

An anonymous reader writes "Those intrigued by the 'GodMode' in Windows 7 may be interested to know that there are many other similar shortcuts hidden within the operating system — some going back to Vista or before. Steven Sinofsky, Windows division president, said several similar undocumented features provide direct access to all kinds of settings, from choosing a location to managing power settings to identifying biometric sensors." Update: 01/07 23:46 GMT by CT : Link updated to source.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Windows 7 Has Lots of "God Modes"

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymusing ( 1450747 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @12:02PM (#30683328)

    ...theologians have recently determined that God has a "MicrosoftMode". Watch out for the Blue Screen of Death.

    • by slarrg ( 931336 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @12:22PM (#30683662)
      Noah's already experienced it but God gave us a new colorful interface element and promised it'll never happen again.
      • by severoon ( 536737 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @01:05PM (#30684362) Journal

        I think the user experience design meeting at MS must have gone something like this...

        "Listen, we've developed this feature that lets users manage their systems very conveniently. Access to everything from one place."
        "Wow, that does look good. All in favor of hiding it?"
        (all, in unison) "Aye!"

        • by recoiledsnake ( 879048 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @01:40PM (#30684866)

          God bless their souls. I would want Grandma to be atleast 3 clicks away from the desktop from settings such as "Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions". Me? I just put the folder on the desktop as a easy way to tweak my gaming desktop.

          • Re:Unfortunately... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @03:01PM (#30685996) Homepage Journal

            A few years back, I had my (~80) mother set up with a PC running a fairly well locked down Linux setup. It was set up with icewm, and she had menu items for email, (thunderbird) solitaire, (pysol) and a few others. Basically I tailored is specifically to her needs. The mail was kept on a local imap server, and thunderbird connected to it. That way if she did something really weird to thunderbird and made it crash, her mail would be safe in server-space. I did most of what I could to grandma-proof the system.

            Somehow she kept changing the theme on icewm. I don't know how... For the particular theme she kept getting, you have to be 4 clicks into a menu tree. But she did, and I'd ssh into her machine and tweak things back the way they belonged, from a spare copy. At one point I marked a bunch of her files as read-only, but some software sees that, sees that she owns the file, and "kindly" changed it back to read-write and made the bogus update. I kept wanting to change things so she didn't even own her own configuration files - they would belong to someone else, and she would have group-level read permission. Never had the chance to do it - testing was the hard part - I'd have to be there for that, and when we were there we had more important things to do that spend a lot of time on the computer.

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @12:30PM (#30683774) Homepage

      .... oh shit [google.com].

    • It's the WTOL* not the BSOD and is already quite famous.

      * White Tunnel of Light

    • by pluther ( 647209 ) <pluther@usa.EEEnet minus threevowels> on Thursday January 07, 2010 @05:22PM (#30687714) Homepage

      ...God has a "MicrosoftMode".

      That would explain why he freaked so much about his users interfacing with that Apple a while back...

  • by furby076 ( 1461805 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @12:06PM (#30683398) Homepage
    1) The article is a copy/paste of the cnet article (kind of a fail for aviran's place).
    2) More importantly, from the article, I inferred these god mode settings were just (basically) command lines to initiate control panel activities? Not a big deal if that is the case. It is shortcuts of a way I guess. Or is there something more to this?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07, 2010 @12:08PM (#30683430)

    What to find all these God Modes? Just go to your registry and navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID and search for "System.ApplicationName". Every GUID listed under CLSID with a System.ApplicationName entry can be used to do this same thing.

    While you are at it, delete the key.

    There. That should help.

  • by Maestro485 ( 1166937 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @12:08PM (#30683438)
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10426627-56.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20 [cnet.com]

    Identical to the summary link, except from the actual source.
    • Identical to the summary link, except from the actual source.

      Not quite ... the summary calls him "teven Sinofsky" ...

      It's not like anyone proofreads here. Not when the average reader doesn't know the difference between rain/rein/reign, or break/brake, or lose/loose.

  • I don't get it.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cptdondo ( 59460 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @12:10PM (#30683466) Journal

    If all of the features are in the Control Panel, why do the developers need shortcuts?

    In other words, what's wrong with the Control Panel interface that hinders developers to the point where they have to hack in these types of kludges?

    And, yes, I consider a directory with a "special string" a horrible kludge. Think of all the behind-the-scenes complications that this brings on. Every directory creation/access has to be checked for these modes. How does a godmode directory interact with a random app?

    The mind reels.

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @12:14PM (#30683516)

      "In other words, what's wrong with the Control Panel interface that hinders developers to the point where they have to hack in these types of kludges?"

      You don't use Windows, hey?

      My thought when I read the article was similar. If your developers are making themselves obscure shortcuts, you might want to have your UI team rethink their design.

      • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @12:39PM (#30683908)

        well that's why they're developers, not users. Your developers need to see stuff in the OS on a more regular basis than the average user. Finding connected hardware ID strings, even as a guy getting a PhD in computer science isn't exactly top of my priority list. If you look at the godmode everyone was playing with it's not exactly insightful. It's just a list, sorted alphabetically by type of task, of menus. Useful if you're changing stuff for the sake of changing stuff (say the first time you set up your computer or if you're testing), but there's no obvious logical connection between my folder display settings, my windows defender settings and my 'location and other sensors' options. It's handy to have if you want to see a list of a lot of stuff you can do, but not really very functional.

        If anything they don't really belong together unless you're doing stuff with the operating system that is very different than your average user, like say, trying to test the functionality of all this stuff, in order.

        Admittedly control panel isn't a great implementation, I think MS is still grappling with which direction to take your system settings, either the sort of godmode exhaustive list, which IMO is far too confusing for the average user (albeit alphabetical at least), and the task dependent options where you only see your folders settings options if you're messing with folders, mouse settings with mouse software etc. In the end they've settled on an ugly hybrid of the two, but I think that covers all bases better than the alternatives.

        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @01:33PM (#30684752)

          I guess the more relevant factor is not that the developers created all kinds of shortcuts for themselves, but that a subset of the users found them and think they're really useful.

          As you point out, that doesn't necessarily mean your design is bad, but it's a pretty good indication that you might want to consider the possibility.

          Personally I think Windows has gone way too far with the wizards. I was trying to connect to a shared printer the other day and kept going in circles, bouncing from wizard to wizard. Things like the TCP/IP settings and wireless connection wizard seem to keep popping up when you're trying to use Network Neighborhood, which has always seemed to be broken, and manually connecting only works if you know the address AND share name.

      • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

        If your developers are making themselves obscure shortcuts, you might want to have your UI team rethink their design.

        Unfortunately, it seems they do, since with every "upgrade" of their OS and apps you have to relearn the thing all over again. More unfortunately, they're just not very good at UI or they wouldn't have to.

    • by Ziekheid ( 1427027 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @12:15PM (#30683538)

      This has always been the case and is nothing new. This was already possible on 2k/XP and was actually abused by hackers like this:
      1) Create directory and add a string that makes it look like the recycle bin (the folder will actually link to the recycle bin when clicked on by the user that tries to view the map and take on the same icon).
      2) In that dir put whatever you want to be hidden from the operators of said computer
      3) ???
      4) Profit

      • by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @01:28PM (#30684676) Journal

        Hmm. I just went for a stumble through the Win XP registry...

        Some other types that hide their contents, and what opens when you double-click them (not sure if they’ll work on other versions of Windows):

        {E88DCCE0-B7B3-11d1-A9F0-00AA0060FA31} - Compressed folder access denied error message
        {21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D} - Control Panel
        {2559a1f5-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0} - Default e-mail client
        {2559a1f4-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0} - Default web browser
        {0CD7A5C0-9F37-11CE-AE65-08002B2E1262} - Folder, but seems empty
        {63da6ec0-2e98-11cf-8d82-444553540000} - FTP folder
        {871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D} - IE with extensions disabled
        {20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D} - My Computer
        {208D2C60-3AEA-1069-A2D7-08002B30309D} - My Network Places
        {7007ACC7-3202-11D1-AAD2-00805FC1270E} - Network connections
        {992CFFA0-F557-101A-88EC-00DD010CCC48} - Network connections
        {9DB7A13C-F208-4981-8353-73CC61AE2783} - Nothing
        {C4EE31F3-4768-11D2-BE5C-00A0C9A83DA1} - Nothing
        {AFDB1F70-2A4C-11d2-9039-00C04F8EEB3E} - Offline files folder
        {2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D} - Printers and Faxes
        {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E} - Recycle bin
        {E211B736-43FD-11D1-9EFB-0000F8757FCD} - Scanners and cameras
        {FB0C9C8A-6C50-11D1-9F1D-0000F8757FCD} - Scanners and cameras
        {D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF} - Scheduled tasks
        {1f4de370-d627-11d1-ba4f-00a0c91eedba} - Search results folder
        {e17d4fc0-5564-11d1-83f2-00a0c90dc849} - Search results folder
        {F5175861-2688-11d0-9C5E-00AA00A45957} - Subscription folder
        {BDEADF00-C265-11d0-BCED-00A0C90AB50F} - Web folders

    • by v1 ( 525388 )

      having more than one way to do something can have a variety of benefits:

      1) power users can take a faster path to the action and avoid confirmation dialogues when they know what they're doing. Terminal/console windows are great examples.

      2) there's often two or more "intuitive" places for something to be. instead of picking one, put it in both places and it becomes a tad easier for 50% of the population to use. Is sleep after so long in screensaver a screensaver feature or an energysaver feature? Give acc

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      In other words, what's wrong with the Control Panel interface that hinders developers to the point where they have to hack in these types of kludges?

      Is the Control Panel accessible via the CLI? That would be a reason. Still an awful way to provide CLI access to these functions.

    • This isn't a special way to access the Control Panel for developers because there is some sort of problem with the new layout.

      Rather, this is part of a more general feature for developers to create and display namespaces within Windows. Microsoft simply used the same method for managing the Control Panels applets that it suggests its developers use for their own applications.

      Now, the article points out there is a way users can exploit this feature to get the Control Panel applets listed discretely without a

    • If all of the features are in the Control Panel, why do the developers need shortcuts?

      In other words, what's wrong with the Control Panel interface that hinders developers to the point where they have to hack in these types of kludges?

      And, yes, I consider a directory with a "special string" a horrible kludge. Think of all the behind-the-scenes complications that this brings on. Every directory creation/access has to be checked for these modes. How does a godmode directory interact with a random app?

      The mind reels.

      I think 'developers' in that context meant Microsoft Developers who develop Windows and possibly testers of the OS. They would need it to quickly test something instead of going through an additional step. And no, it's not a kludge, atleast it wasn't created for the GodMode features. Control Panel items have been 'special' folders internally with those 'special strings' internally ever since atleast Windows 95.. All it does is call a COM component with that Class ID as a GUID which populates the folder with

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      It takes a lot less time to type a dozen characters into a box/console than it does to click through a half dozen menus and panel interfaces to get where you're going.

    • I'm not totally certain what this is, but I already make shortcuts to commonly used Control Panel items and put them where ever I like. I've done it on Windows 2000. Display properties, network configuration mouse settings are the three that I use most, it saves me a couple clicks.

    • This is obviously how the control panel and other special folders are implemented in the first place. Not a short cut. Put in the right code & you'll get the regular control panel directory.

    • Same reason I add shortcuts to get into the program settings to the toolbars of all the apps I have to support. The average user might go in there once or twice a year (if ever). I have to go in there several times a week to test or demonstrate something.

      We create shortcuts to the places we need to go often. The average user doesn't go the same places the devs or support guys do, most likely.
    • by jefu ( 53450 )
      Heh. Someone told me yesterday that Unix is all voodoo and yet Windows has XXX.{BB64F8A7-BEE7-4E1A-AB8D-7D8273F7FDB6}!
    • Yeah, if you wanted to formalize something like this why not add a system call that accepts a GUID and a void* and then if the GUID is a 'special' one then it forwards to the internal code to interpret the void* argument and do random stuff? Why tie it in with the filesystem and string parsing at all?

    • The developers need it because the settings exist before the control panels that manipulate them. Totally different teams of people are involved in kernel/infrastructure coding as opposed to UI/HMI. The "special strings" are a general feature used since Windows 95 to make things appear in the file system that don't actually reside on the disk, including printers and the standard control panel.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jonadab ( 583620 )
      > what's wrong with the Control Panel interface that hinders developers

      You mean besides the fact that it's been completely rearranged and the various bits renamed and specific settings moved from place to place so many times nobody can find anything?

      It took me three minutes playing around in the Windows Seven control panel just to figure out how to change the TCP/IP settings. They're in a different place from Vista, where they were in a different place from XP, which in turn put them in a different plac
  • by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @12:12PM (#30683494)

    Does Windows 7 have Quad Damage?

  • Using this for evil (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tei ( 520358 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @12:20PM (#30683636) Journal

    Reading the article, seems that this crash 64 bits versions of Windows 7/Vista.

    It could be a good idea to create folders like that, inside zip files, and send that zip file to people with these OS versions. Or maybe create folders in USB pendrives with that name, to protect these drives from be view in a 64 bits Windows 7. etc.

  • Some thoughts (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @12:20PM (#30683638)

    Firstly, it's just a trick involving the GUID that points to a shell folder - all of which is documented on MSDN. Ed Bott also concurs in his blog post [edbott.com].

    Secondly, Vista had this too although it was then called "Master Control". Same thing so it's not exactly new.

    Thirdly, it's doesn't offer you anything more than you would normally find in the Control Panel. Yes, it is all in one place but I can't be the only one that just types a couple of letters into the Start Menu to find the option I want.

    Fourthly, the list of them are as follows:

    • Administrative Tools.{D20EA4E1-3957-11d2-A40B-0C5020524153}
    • All Tasks.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}
    • Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002b30309d}
    • Connections.{241D7C96-F8BF-4F85-B01F-E2B043341A4B}
    • Fonts.{D20EA4E1-3957-11d2-A40B-0C5020524152}
    • Computer.{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}
    • Documents.{450D8FBA-AD25-11D0-98A8-0800361B1103}
    • History.{ff393560-c2a7-11cf-bff4-444553540000}
    • Network Places.{208d2c60-3aea-1069-a2d7-08002b30309d}
    • Printers and Faxes.{2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D}
    • Programs Folder.{7be9d83c-a729-4d97-b5a7-1b7313c39e0a}
    • Recycle Bin.{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}
    • Start Menu.{48e7caab-b918-4e58-a94d-505519c795dc}
    • Scheduled Tasks.{D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}
    • WEI.{78F3955E-3B90-4184-BD14-5397C15F1EFC}


    • Hasn't this been around forever - I seem to recall you could make a sub-menu on the start-menu for the control panel items using a trick like this.
  • ::SPOILER ALERT:: If you want the nerdjoy of trying these all yourself stop reading now

    -enter a default location for gps and other location aware programs

    -biometric devices control

    -power plan management

    -taskbar icons and notifications

    -windows credential manager

  • by jeremywc ( 865836 ) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @12:47PM (#30684034) Homepage
    The author stole his text from a CNET article by Ina Fried. Update the link to point to the original article: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10426627-56.html [cnet.com]
    • by LO0G ( 606364 )

      Mod Parent up (hopefully the /. editors will notice this and correct the link to the actual author).

  • These have existed since Win95. I remember in Win95 using these tricks to put a Control Panel and Dial-Up Networking shortcuts on my Start Bar that expanded out just like later became in option in I think 98 or XP. I haven't done this in years, but I do recall that in '95, you could find all the correct values to use for these "tricks" by searching RegEdit.

  • To end all theologist discussions, In Windows God isn't almighty, can't erase from existence bugs/worms/virus, nor avoid Blue/Black Screen Of Death, no matter how much wish for that.
  • Didn't we just used to call these "back doors?" Maybe I'm missing the point.


  • by suman28 ( 558822 ) <suman28@NOSpam.hotmail.com> on Thursday January 07, 2010 @03:20PM (#30686198)
    This isn’t new news. None of this is hidden, it’s all documented. For the full list try here http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee330741(VS.85).aspx [microsoft.com]
  • by SanderDJ ( 1004445 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @08:10AM (#30692902)
    Finally they discovered God-modes. All these years I've been working with Win machines stuck in Satan-mode. Now life will be good...

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer