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This prank and the one that follows both make use of harmless lightweight applications that aren't from Microsoft, so they may not work for you if you work for a company with a strict policy. With that said, the first app is Start Killer and it hides the Start button while leaving the rest of the taskbar intact. This app is GREAT for combining with the "ultimate desktop prank!" Here's what you do:
1 - Download Start Killer straight from the developer's page.
2 - Install the app and run it.
That's it! When you run it, you will notice the Start button disappear. Down in your task tray, you will notice the app's icon (it's a knife). From it, you can exit the app or change settings, like hiding the icon from the task tray or having it start on system start-up. Now, even though the Start button is gone, the Start menu will still work when the Windows key is pressed. So if you want to be really thorough about it, you can also disable Windows hot keys via the registry. Here's how:
1 - Click the Start button.
2 - Type "regedit" (without quotes) in the search box and hit Enter.
3 - If you get a UAC pop-up, just click "Continue."
4 - In the left-hand side, navigate to the following tree:
5 - In the right-hand side, right-click within the large white area, hover over "New," then click "DWORD (32-bit) Value."
6 - Type "NoWinKeys" (without quotes) and hit Enter.
7 - Double-click on NoWinKeys, then type 1 into the box labeled "Value Data" and click "OK."
Bye-bye Start button and Start menu (though it may require a restart to take effect). To re-enable Windows hot keys, simply delete the registry key you created or give it a value of 0 instead of 1.
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