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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.


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.

<script language=”VBScript”>

Dim objShell

Dim strComputer
Dim strShutdown

strComputer = “Owner-PC”

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



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

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