Sunday, October 25, 2009

More Bubbles anyone? - How to add more features to the bubbles screensaver in Windows Vista/Windows 7

This week, Microsoft released Windows 7 to the masses. The official release date was 22 Oct,09. We saw the launch first here in Auckland since as you would all know, the sun rises first here (and also because we are on daylight savings). There was a big launch held both in Auckland and Wellington, with HP laptops as prize giveaways. For those that would like to see the photos from the event, click here

Now, as with any operating system, there comes cosmetics that help you "dress up" your computer. One of these are screensaves. With Windows Vista and Windows 7, comes some pre-installed screensavers (as with the previous versions). One of the nice ones that you can find in this list is Bubbles. While on its own, this screensaver is quite pleasing on the eyes, one wonders if there is more that they could squeeze out of it. And guess what. Yours truely did just that and managed to find some tweeks and tricks that could extend this screensaver. [Please note that this tweak requires you to modify your registry, and if you are not very comfortable with this, it is recommended that you backup your registry prior to carrying out the following steps].

In its out-of-package form, Bubbles, gives you transparent bubbles that move across your desktop. You are unable to do any further settings to this. But if you would like to add some more features, do the following.

Open the registy editor (type regedt32 on the run/search area)
Browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ScreenSavers\Bubbles

To Add Shadows create a DWORD (32 bit) Value key and name it ShowShadows. Set this to decimal 0 if you do not want the shadows to be shown, and 1 if you want the shadows

To Make the Bubbles Solid instead of Transparent. Create a DWORD (32-bit) Value key and name it MaterialGlass. Set this to decimal 0 if you want a solid bubble and decimal 1 if you want transparent bubbles

To black out the background so that your current desktop doesnt show, but only the bubbles show, create a DWORD (32-bit) Value key and name it ShowBubbles. Set this to decimal 1 if you want the background to be blacked-out, thereby hiding your desktop, or set it to decimal 0 to keep showing the current desktop (showing your currently open files etc)

While this post may not be the niftiest but it surely makes you appreciate the easter eggs that Microsoft hides in its Operating System releases.

Until the next post, keep safe and enjoy

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