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 More how to Hack Windows 95...


(Comment added in 2000: do you have Windows 98? This same technique should work on 98 as well as 95. It works on my Win 98 box. If you can't find the file logo.sys, just make one yourself according to the specifications of this Guide. If that doesn't work -- oh, well, there are several variations on Windows 98 and maybe you got one we didn't test. But, hey, real hacking means struggling around until you find out for yourself how to make something work.)

OK, let's say you are hosting a wild party in your home. You decide to show your buddies that you are one of those dread hacker d00dz. So you fire up your computer and what should come up on your screen but the logo for "Windows 95." It's kind of lame looking, isn't it? Your computer looks just like everyone else's box. Just like some boring corporate workstation operated by some guy with an IQ in the 80s.

Now if you are a serious hacker you would be booting up Linux or FreeBSD or some other kind of Unix on your personal computer. But your friends don't know that. So you have an opportunity to social engineer them into thinking you are fabulously elite by just by customizing your bootup screen.

Now let's say you want to boot up with a black screen with orange and yellow flames and the slogan " K-Rad Doomsters of the Apocalypse." This turns out to be super easy.

Now Microsoft wants you to advertise their operating system every time you boot up. In fact, they want this so badly that they have gone to court to try to force computer retailers to keep the Micro$oft bootup screen on the systems these vendors sell.

So Microsoft certainly doesn't want you messing with their bootup screen, either. So M$ has tried to hide the bootup screen software. But they didn't hide it very well. We're going to learn today how to totally thwart their plans.

Evil Genius tip: One of the rewarding things about hacking is to find hidden files that try to keep you from modifying them -- and then to mess with them anyhow. That's what we're doing today.

The Win95 bootup graphics is hidden in either a file named c:\logo.sys and/or ip.sys. To see this file, open Explorer, click "view", then click "by file type," then check the box for "show hidden/system files." Then, back on "view," click "all file details." To the right of the file logo.sys you will see the letters "rhs." These mean this file is "read-only, hidden, system."

The reason this innocuous graphics file is labeled as a system file -- when it really is just a graphics file with some animation added -- is because Microsoft is afraid you'll change it to read something like "Welcome to Windoze 95 -- Breakfast of Lusers!" So by making it a read-only file, and hiding it, and calling it a system file as if it were something so darn important it would destroy your computer if you were to mess with it, Microsoft is trying to trick you into leaving it alone.

More Beginners' Guide #2--->>

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