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It’s this time of year again when you can make your tech illiterate coevals regret they’re friends with a geek. Or if you’re smart, use the occasion to remind them that they know someone who can solve anything. Up to you. Either way, have fun!
Mess With Desktop Icons
If you’re looking for a super easy and 100% harmless way to trick someone, play with their desktop icons. First, take a screenshot of the current desktop. Next, hide all desktop icons: right-click the desktop, go to View and unselect Show desktop icons.
If you want to make this slightly more frustrating, change the wallpaper to the screenshot you took earlier: right-click the desktop, go to Personalize, click on Desktop Background in the lower left, and browse for the respective image.
The desktop will look exactly like it did before, only that none of the icons will be clickable.
Flip The Screen
In Windows, you can change the screen orientation: right-click the desktop and select Screen Resolution. Under Orientation, choose one other than the default Landscape. To turn the screen upside-down, go with Landscape (flipped). As a result, everything will be upside down.
Change Mouse Settings
You can do a lot of fun things with someone’s mouse. Search for Mouse and go into Mouse Properties. Here you can switch the primary and secondary buttons, i.e. left- and right-click funtionality, customize the pointer style, increase or decrase the pointer speed (super annoying!), or adjust the scroll speed of the mouse wheel.
In case your victim is not using a mouse, you could disabled their touchpad.
Create A Fake Computer Virus
Do your friends need a little reminder that it’s important to run an antivirus tool and update defintions regularly? This prank might make them act. Create a simple, but fake computer virus and expect their frantic calls for help.
Windows Computer Pranks offers two fake viruses; one of them uses the Windows speech function to read custom messages. Alternatively, you could create a custom series of pop-up windows using the method shown in the YouTube video below.
Break The Internet
This is a bit of an advanced prank that involves scripts and editing IP tables on your network. You can turn the Internet upside down or blur it. Find the thorough description in this Upside-Down-Ternet article.
If that sounds a little hardcore and if you have Administrator access to the victim’s computer, you could edit their Windows Hosts file to block their favorite websites or re-direct them to wherever you want.
Enhance Their Workspace
Maybe your friends are not foolish enough to give you direct access to their computer. In that case, attack their workspace. For example you could wrap their every desktop item in old newspapers or cover their keyboard, monitor, and desk in a Post-Its pattern. For more inspiration, visit These Office Pranks.
Rearrange Keyboard Keys
Nothing irritates a non-geek more than scrambled keys on a keyboard. Someone who can touch-type, however, might not even notice. So this is the perfect trick to play on someone you wish would learn how to type properly.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to go to the length of manually changing keys, you could enable a different keyboard layout on the OS level. This method would also trick touch typers.
The more extreme the alternative layout, the more frustrating, thus the Dvorak layout is a good choice. Search for Region and Language and switch to the Keyboards and Languages tab. Click the Change keyboards… button, then click Add, browse to English (United States), expand Keyboard, and check United States-Dvorak. Finally, change the Default input language to the respective keyboard.
More Awesome Pranks
You can use many default Windows features that we have covered previously to play evil tricks on your friends, for example enabling the screensaver and set it to a BSOD error image, customizing power settings to very odd behaviors, changing the default sounds, or using Windows Task Scheduler to launch random programs throughout the day. It pays off to know how things work around Windows, especially if you end up being the pranked person.
What Prank Will You Play?
So are you going to trick someone this April Fool’s Day? What’s your favorite prank and who’s your target? Please share your plans and outcomes in the comments for years to come!