Mini How-To: Remove the Windows BSOD icon in Leopard, make OS X a little less smug

It's pretty clear that Apple left no stone unturned in Leopard, making changes and fixes throughout the new operating system. Unfortunately, that also included an upgrade to its crucial smugness subsystem: the image you see above of an old school CRT monitor with a blue screen of death is actually the not-so-subtle gag icon Leopard uses to represent Windows machines on your local network. (Is it any wonder why PC and Mac fanboys tend to get in so many fights?) Granted, many Leopard beta users have seen this icon since the early releases, but we didn't actually think the shipping version would include something so pompous and galling to the other 90%.

We'll save the missive on the subject (although if that's what you're looking for, Anil Dash wrote a pretty good one), and skip straight to the problem solving: hidden away deep within the recesses of Leopard, far, far away from the reaches of Spotlight, is an unassuming icon file that's doing a great job at perpetuating the myth of Mac users' disdainful sense of self-superiority. Luckily it's an easy fix, and we'll show you the three easy steps necessary to get rid of the BSOD and make your Mac a little less condescending.

Ok, so the file in question (public.generic-pc.icns) lives in /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources/, which is basically a pretty boring place to cruise around (unless you like looking at hundreds of sets of icons). And unfortunately for us, boring places like this are usually locked down tight in Unix systems, so we'll need to use the command line to make some changes.

This is a pretty easy process, especially if you know your way around a command line. First, open up Terminal (it's at Applications/Utilities/, or the terminal app of your choice (we also like iTerm).

Then, type in the following three commands:

  • cd /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources/

  • sudo mv public.generic-pc.icns public.generic-pc_lame.icns
    [enter your admin password]

  • sudo cp public.generic-pc.icns

That's it! You've backed up the BSOD icon and moved the generic Apple Mac icon to where the system was expecting it, which, if we're not mistaken, should stop it from showing up when browsing your local Windows network. (Of course, you're also free to use another icon instead of the generic Mac icon.) Enjoy, and try not to go around telling people how much more amazing your Leopard machine is than their Vista laptop (and vice versa), ok? It's unbecoming.