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computer practical jokesFor some people, playing a good practical joke isn’t only for April Fool’s day. Whether you’re the office prankster or you want to pull a really good one on your best friend, a personal computer is one of the best tools to do so.

A computer is the type of device that lends itself to practical jokes, simply because it’s so easy to set things just enough off balance that an unsuspecting user will think things have gone completely awry. This doesn’t mean that you should do something that’s harmful, like infect it with a virus, but there are a number of little things you can do that will drive your friend up the wall.


Last year, Justin outlined four really funny things you could do with your home computer to prank your unsuspecting parents Four Funny Ways To Prank Your Parents With The Family Computer Four Funny Ways To Prank Your Parents With The Family Computer Read More . This included classic computer pranks like tweaking Microsoft Word auto-replace or installing the blue screen of death screensaver. I enjoyed those so much that I thought it’s high time for another round of computer pranks that will have your friend ready to throw their computer in the trash!

7 Computer Practical Jokes

Some of these computer pranks are more advanced, and others are a bit basic. Choose the prank based on how computer savvy your friend is. One of the fastest and easiest ways to prank someone is to manipulate the behavior of their mouse. To do this, just go to into the Control Panel and find the Mouse settings. On the Buttons tab, you’ll see settings for the left and right mouse buttons.

computer pranks

Just switch the settings so that the right button is to “click” and the left button is the “shortcut menu.”  Now, when they try to click an icon or open a file, a menu will pop up rather than the file opening.

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Another way you can tweak the mouse for a really funny prank is to slow down the pointer to the absolute slowest speed. To do this, instead of going to the Buttons tab, go into the Pointer Options and slide the pointer speed selection all the way down to the slowest setting.

computer practical jokes

If you’ve ever used a mouse that’s this slow, then you know how infuriating it can be. Again, these are only good for pranking non-computer savvy users, because average to advanced users will know exactly where to go in order to fix the mouse behavior.

Now, if you want to try something that is not so subtle, try tweaking the font color for Windows settings. Many people don’t realize how easy it is to alter the look of Windows. Changing the Windows font to white will render a lot of things completely invisible. Just open the Window Color and Appearance settings in the Control Panel, select the item you want to alter (like hyperlinks, window titles or window menu items) and set the font to white.

A third great computer prank is a classic. The premise is that you will create a desktop background image that is identical to the user’s real desktop, except none of the icons are clickable. This confuses a lot of people into thinking their computer is locked up. Just take a quick snapshot of the desktop area using your favorite screenshot app 4 Tools For Creating Screenshots and Screencasts 4 Tools For Creating Screenshots and Screencasts Read More , or just using Print Screen.  Then, move all of the desktop icons to a temporary folder, completely clearing the normal desktop.

Now you’re ready to add your static picture as the desktop background. Just right click on the desktop, go to Personalize and click on Desktop Backgrounds.

Go to the directory where you saved the bitmap of the desktop capture, and select it as your new desktop background. Now, when they try to click on the desktop icon over and over, nothing will happen!

If that prank is a little too involved for you, another great joke you can play is altering a commonly used shortcut into an annoying audio file. All you have to do is right click on the icon and in the properties, just type in the location of a really funny audio file for the shortcut target.

computer pranks

One of the funniest audio tracks I’ve used for this is “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” – it’s hilarious watching their expression when one of the most annoying songs in the world starts blasting.

Another alternative to this prank is playing around in the Startup folder. On Windows 7, you can find Startup in the list of Program Files when you click start. Open up that folder and paste a shortcut to the annoying audio file into it.

Turn up the sound and then turn off the computer. The next time they boot up the computer, watch their reaction!

This last prank is my own personal creation – I call it the “fake boot virus.” Basically, you create a Windows script that shuts down the computer, and put it in the Startup folder. Here is the script that will accomplish a complete shutdown of a Windows system without prompting.

<job>
<script language=”VBScript”>

Dim objShell

Dim strComputer
Dim strShutdown

Do
strComputer = “Owner-PC”

strShutdown = “shutdown -s -t 0 -f -m \\” & strComputer
set objShell = CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)
objShell.Run strShutdown

Wscript.Quit

</script>
</job>

Save it as “shutdown.wsf”, and place it in Startup. The moment they start up the PC, it will immediately shut down again. Watch as it dawns on them that they have some horrible computer virus! To end their misery, just boot it while holding down Shift (or into safe mode), and delete the file in the Startup folder.

Computer pranks like these are not always enjoyable for the person being pranked – after all, some people have to struggle enough as it is just to get the computer to work normally on a good day. But sometimes, pulling a good computer prank reminds people just how vulnerable we all are to assuming the absolute worst whenever something strange starts happening with our computers.

Have you ever played any of these pranks on anyone? Share your funny computer practical joke experiences in the comments section below – we want to hear them!

Image Credit: Rajesh Sundaram

  1. sinistersister
    March 12, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    when i plan to leave my current job and don't care how many blood vessels pop on my boss' forehead, i will keep this handy. just have to be sure i quit before getting fired for any of this...sadly, our IT department will likely be just as completing perplexed when someone calls to have this "issues" corrected. i imagine there will be a lot useless "have you tried re-booting" going on. can't say that i would try any of this with someone i genuinely like...but then again, April Fool's day is coming up. hmmmm, laughs or employment. tough, tough call.

  2. Johny Joseph Prakash C
    March 7, 2011 at 5:05 am

    it's very funny ,thanks lot !!??

  3. Chirag Malkani
    March 6, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    You can also change the orientation of the screen........
    Ctrl+Alt+Arrow Keys

    • Aibek
      March 7, 2011 at 6:01 am

      doesn't work for me :-(

  4. Chirag Malkani
    March 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    You can also change the orientation of the screen........
    Ctrl+Alt+Arrow Keys

  5. Patrick Dobeson
    March 5, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Several years ago we had a really dumb IT manager. In the company we had a Microsoft subscription and received from time to tiem a pack of CDs with Microsoft applications in all available languages.

    We installed Microsoft Windows in "euskera" language (it's a difficult language spoken in some areas in the north of spain, the placed a screen copy as desktop bacground and swap the mouse buttons.

    One week later (yes, a whole week later) he came to us to repair his computer.

    • Aibek
      March 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      :-) that was a good test for him that he unfortunately failed

  6. Patrick Dobeson
    March 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Several years ago we had a really dumb IT manager. In the company we had a Microsoft subscription and received from time to tiem a pack of CDs with Microsoft applications in all available languages.

    We installed Microsoft Windows in "euskera" language (it's a difficult language spoken in some areas in the north of spain, the placed a screen copy as desktop bacground and swap the mouse buttons.

    One week later (yes, a whole week later) he came to us to repair his computer.

  7. Tony M.
    March 5, 2011 at 6:32 am

    Darn, Andrew ... You stole my thunder. One day at work few years ago, I was editing a document and using a particular keyboard shortcut. However, in my haste, I had accidentally done a Control-Alt-ArrowKey and it changed my display just as you described. Fortunately for me, my fingers hadn't wandered and I was able to see exactly what I did. On my system, using the RightArrow or LeftArrow keys, the display would flip 90°. It was infectious. Before you knew what happened, everyone was running around in this building with 2,000 personnel flipping people's screens all over the place. It was a blast!

  8. Sharief Shari
    March 5, 2011 at 4:06 am

    nice :)

  9. jscott56
    March 4, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Depending on the video card, you may be able to rotate the screen by 90, 180 or 270 degrees. This is soooooooo funny!

  10. diafol
    March 4, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    I'm with MikeVertx here. Annoying, not funny. I'd end up in jail for pulling the offender's teeth out one by one.

  11. Snert
    March 4, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    I agree with MikeVertx.
    It's hard enough making deadlines without some fool messing up your machine.
    It's not funny when it happens to you.

  12. Snert
    March 4, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    I agree with MikeVertx.
    It's hard enough making deadlines without some fool messing up your machine.
    It's not funny when it happens to you.

  13. Guest 1
    March 4, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    My favorite prank involves a wireless mouse. When your friend/coworker isn't around there computer, plug the receiver into a USB slot not easily visible and let Windows install the drivers. Then enjoy the entertainment as you randomly click the mouse buttons from your desk.

  14. Randyman5775
    March 4, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    You missed my favorite prank -- open the task manager, go to the processes tab and turn off explorer.exe -- it turns off windows explorer, so all of the desktop icons and the taskbar disappear. It's easy to restart -- open task manager again, click on File, then New Task, and enter "explorer.exe", and it comes right back up.

    • Tina
      March 4, 2011 at 6:07 pm

      This can easily be solved with a reboot. The funny thing is, most people don't even try a reboot before they freak out. ;)

  15. Mike Boston
    March 4, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Pranking coworkers computers is grounds for dismissal where I work. So Not Funny!

    • Waughlisa
      March 5, 2011 at 3:18 am

      Theres always one eh

  16. Glynn Sole
    March 4, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Press ctrl + aly + scroll down button. The screen turns upside down. A very fast trick, you can even do it to somebody who is sitting at theior computer if you distract them for a second you can do this so fast they don't know what you did.
    (pressing scroll left/right turns the screen accordingly)

  17. Mub999
    March 4, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    i used alt+shift+prtscr on my school. It turns everything bigger and dark

    • Aibek
      March 5, 2011 at 11:01 am

      nothing happens when I try this on Windows 7 (64 bit). any ideas?

  18. Glynn Sole
    March 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Press ctrl + aly + scroll down button. The screen turns upside down. A very fast trick, you can even do it to somebody who is sitting at theior computer if you distract them for a second you can do this so fast they don't know what you did.
    (pressing scroll left/right turns the screen accordingly)

  19. Anonymous
    March 4, 2011 at 4:15 am

    these are actually annoying not funny.

    • Randy
      March 4, 2011 at 9:35 pm

      i guess they r not funny, my buddy socked me in the eye, black eye included, and wont speak to me. oh well, its still funny to me!

  20. Tina
    March 4, 2011 at 3:32 am

    Awesome pranks in the article and the comments! This could be one hell of an April Fool's day! :D

    • Aibek
      March 4, 2011 at 5:48 am

      agreed

  21. killer
    March 3, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    My favorite is just so simple. It's especially good for those with cluttered desktops. You know the ones who use it for a dumping ground? Right click the desktop and hover over "view." Uncheck "show desktop icons." The user comes back to a blank desktop. Panic sets in quickly for these folks.

  22. Nick
    March 3, 2011 at 8:11 am

    I have not played but those ****** viruses played really well with my pc

  23. Michael Real
    March 3, 2011 at 4:42 am

    This is really entertaining. I've pranked 3 friends already! Thanks for sharing these computer jokes! I think my prank count will rise in the rush office hours! lol

  24. Andrew Gould
    March 3, 2011 at 12:23 am

    On many video cards, the shortcut Ctrl-Alt-Down Arrow will turn their display upside-down.

    • Tony M.
      March 5, 2011 at 5:32 am

      Darn, Andrew ... You stole my thunder. One day at work few years ago, I was editing a document and using a particular keyboard shortcut. However, in my haste, I had accidentally done a Control-Alt-ArrowKey and it changed my display just as you described. Fortunately for me, my fingers hadn't wandered and I was able to see exactly what I did. On my system, using the RightArrow or LeftArrow keys, the display would flip 90°. It was infectious. Before you knew what happened, everyone was running around in this building with 2,000 personnel flipping people's screens all over the place. It was a blast!

  25. Hera_miah
    March 2, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    I once created a bat file to load winword.exe (microsoft word) a few 100 times and sent it via msn to a mate who is not computer savvy. He obviously double clicked the file as after a few seconds he went off line as his pc had crashed trying to load word so many times! That was funny!

    • Aibek
      March 3, 2011 at 1:13 am

      :-) nice one

  26. anon
    March 2, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    That last one is great. I have to try it on some of my friends (who all rely on me for computer support).

    But do you really think you should be publishing stuff like that publicly? Can you imagine all the couples and friendships that could be broken up by that? My God, man! :D

    • Anonymous
      March 3, 2011 at 12:11 am

      Haha...thanks! I can just imagine the relationships it will break up....just call me the matchbreaker. :-)

  27. Reinhold
    March 2, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    The last one, the shutdown prank is a classic. Although i find it much easier, just to create a .bat file containing:
    @echo off
    shutdown /s /t 0 /f
    and save it to the Startup folder. Even better, save it to another place, and create a shortcut in the Startup folder. That way, you can rename the shortcut to whatever you want (bttray, sys, etc.), to make it seem less suspicious.

    Another evil prank is to create a .bat file containing:
    @echo off
    :prank
    start c:windowssystem32sol.exe
    start c:windowsSystem32mshearts.exe
    @echo off
    goto prank

    Opening this file, at any time, will make the system open an infinite number of Solitaire AND Hearts games. effectively halt the computer to a complete stop.. So you might want to save the work before you execute this prank ;)

    • Anonymous
      March 3, 2011 at 12:12 am

      Thanks Reinhold - I like the simple approach! And that second idea is brilliant. :-)

  28. jveezy
    March 2, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Another variation on the desktop prank: Create a bunch of folders on the desktop and change the folder names to something embarrassing. Either this or something else embarrassing like changing the background to Ron Jeremy or something like that. Take a screenshot and reverse your changes.

    Then set the screenshot to be the screensaver and set it to activate quickly (after a minute or two of inactivity). If they're not tech-savvy enough they won't be able to figure out why every time they try to fix the problem it goes away.

    • Aibek
      March 5, 2011 at 10:59 am

      good one

  29. Lee
    March 2, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Another thing you can do when replacing the desktop background with a screenshot is just right click the desktop, go to View, and click Show Desktop Icons. This way there wont be a random folder somewhere, or you wont have to spend a long time waiting for any large files they may have stored on their desktop to transfer. Also, you can screenshot their desktop with a common application open (like a browser) so they try to use it and think it's frozen.

    • Aibek
      March 5, 2011 at 10:59 am

      thanks for share! :-)

  30. anon
    March 3, 2011 at 12:39 am

    That last one is great. I have to try it on some of my friends (who all rely on me for computer support).

    But do you really think you should be publishing stuff like that publicly? Can you imagine all the couples and friendships that could be broken up by that? My God, man! :D

  31. Reinhold
    March 3, 2011 at 12:34 am

    The last one, the shutdown prank is a classic. Although i find it much easier, just to create a .bat file containing:
    @echo off
    shutdown /s /t 0 /f
    and save it to the Startup folder. Even better, save it to another place, and create a shortcut in the Startup folder. That way, you can rename the shortcut to whatever you want (bttray, sys, etc.), to make it seem less suspicious.

    Another evil prank is to create a .bat file containing:
    @echo off
    :prank
    start c:\windows\system32\sol.exe
    start c:\windows\System32\mshearts.exe
    @echo off
    goto prank

    Opening this file, at any time, will make the system open an infinite number of Solitaire AND Hearts games. effectively halt the computer to a complete stop.. So you might want to save the work before you execute this prank ;)

  32. jveezy
    March 3, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Another variation on the desktop prank: Create a bunch of folders on the desktop and change the folder names to something embarrassing. Either this or something else embarrassing like changing the background to Ron Jeremy or something like that. Take a screenshot and reverse your changes.

    Then set the screenshot to be the screensaver and set it to activate quickly (after a minute or two of inactivity). If they're not tech-savvy enough they won't be able to figure out why every time they try to fix the problem it goes away.

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