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Two Great ‘n Simple Nerdy Office Pranks to Play On Friends!

Simon Slangen 10-03-2009

office pranks computer Science has proven that nearly every single human possesses a sadistic side. I totally agree – few things work better to brighten up your day than a prank with friends or colleagues.


Today we’re focusing on two simple nerdy pranks.

We’ll start by laying out two basic rules – to ensure some special effects.

The first one, never do half work, which applies for both of us. Work on the details, the finishing touch is often as important as the basics.

Secondly, don’t plan the prank if you can’t follow through (with a little Dr. Horrible nostalgia), is for the most part a you-rule and pretty self-explanatory. Let the prank play itself out.

The Blue Screen of Death

The Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD) is one of the most infamous Microsoft characteristics, and one of the biggest pro-Mac arguments (although the blame lies most often with third-party software).


It’s the horror of every Windows user, a screen that appears when the kernel, or a driver running in kernel mode, encounters an error from which it cannot recover – or, simply said, when your system completely crashes.

office pranks computer, office pranks ideas

Ironically, Microsoft themselves have released a BSOD screensaver – pun definitely intended.

For the casual prankster

The casual prankster can install this screensaver on a friend’s or colleague’s system, and watch the sweet panic emerge.

  • Download it here
  • Open the file for a preview
  • To install, use right-mouse and press install. You can now configure it in the screensaver menu of your system.

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The screensaver differentiates between several authentic looking BSOD’s (amongst other things, based on the used system), and even simulates a system reboot. It’s perfect for scaring the hell out of friends or foes alike!

To make ’em squeal

Oh, so you’re a sadistic one, are you? Good, then we can take this to the next level. There are several ways to make the prank better, and I’m sure you can think of some.

Here’s something to make them really squeal (dude, did he sleep with your girlfriend or what?)

  • Download the screen saver and hide it somewhere safe.
  • Create a shortcut to the file, it doesn’t matter where you put it.
  • Download and install Clavier+

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With Clavier+, you can connect the Ctrl + S keyboard shortcut with the shortcut file. You need to use the shortcut file to be able to launch the screensaver.

So basically, whenever your friend or colleague tries saving one of his documents, a BSOD pops up. I speak from personal experience when I say that this is one of the worst things imaginable for your everyday workaholic; your life flashes past before your eyes, you flicker between rage and empty sadness.

Be sure to accompany the prank; not only to enjoy your subject’s reaction, but you might want to stop him from rebooting his computer.


The Broken Screen

Another great scare-prank is to wreck one’s stuff. Of course, not really damaging it, that kind of takes the joke away.

No, the trick is to make them think their stuff is wrecked, so you can all get a big laugh out of it when it proves one of your pranks.

slworking2 and the_alxndr have both uploaded one hell of a great wallpaper on Flickr. What’s so great about it is that it shows your computer monitor as though it got hit – hard.

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Two Great 'n Simple Nerdy Office Pranks to Play On Friends! 9 03 2009 19 10 01

You can download them respectively here and here.

For the casual prankster

Pick your favourite, and use it as the default wallpaper. Next, right-click on your taskbar, go to properties, and auto-hide the taskbar.

Also right-click on your desktop, and deselect the ‘Show Desktop Items’ option in View.

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Now close or minimize all open windows, go hide somewhere safe and enjoy the show!

To spice it up

If you want to do it right, make it look right. Throw some stuff on the ground and tilt the monitor. Also, disconnect his keyboard and mouse if you want to play the prank for a little longer.

Adding a final touch

Depending on your personality and acting skill, you can experience the prank up close. If people who know you would think this even remotely possible, stay in the room until he arrives, with a blunt object (like a bat or a hard ball) in your hands, and an oh-shit look on your face; don’t say anything, just give him a wide-eyed stare and slightly parted lips as if you want to say something but don’t know what.

Do you know any other pranks? Of course you do! Don’t be shy, and share them in the comments.

Related topics: Screensaver, Wallpaper.

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  1. CruelOne
    September 5, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    I enjoyed this one for months: Install on the victim's PC something for remote desktop management, like "VNC" and enjoy... You can move with the mouse pointer, you can type anything with your keyboard. Why don't you move the victim's pointer just a sec before he doubleclicks on a icon? Why don't you switch with alt+tab to another window while the victim types an e-mail/document? Be creative!!! :D

  2. TanaG
    May 15, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    I remember that I first saw the BSOD prank while I was working for a company, which developed system software for Windows. This software was so broken that it really caused BSODs all the time. So you can imagine how cruel it was to have a BSOD joke for a developer, whose code creates real BSODs 10 times a day. :)

  3. tex
    March 20, 2009 at 4:32 am

    found this fine one... BSOD, Mac & linux crash, broken screen, with scary part when user interacts, fully automated direct from website : http://www.virtualprank.com

  4. fred
    March 13, 2009 at 9:19 am

    HA! The ultimate prank is fooling with all this stuff at work, getting fired for goofing off, and finding out the guy who sent it, now has your job. "ctrl + alt + 'canyouspareadime?'

  5. Ross Goodman
    March 12, 2009 at 10:44 am

    My favourite is to plug in an "extra" wireless mouse to someones PC and then use it to gently nudge their mouse pointer from a few desks away.
    Hours of amusement to be had.

  6. Simon Slangen
    March 11, 2009 at 3:32 pm
    • Simon Slangen
      March 11, 2009 at 3:33 pm

      Or 'knock', if you prefer :-D

  7. G Braden
    March 11, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Really wish someone would do a BSOD screensaver for the Mac. I could really really use one :-)

  8. matt
    March 11, 2009 at 11:09 am
  9. JacPat
    March 11, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Another fun one is to switch what the firefox and IE shortcuts open. (so IE would open firefox) That drives people crazy also.

    And I've used some of these pranks before. (the broken screen and screen shot of desktop then hiding the icons) It's great fun.

  10. Aibek
    March 11, 2009 at 5:38 am

    The first one is awesome! I am off to put it to work ;-)

  11. Simon Slangen
    March 11, 2009 at 2:12 am

    Another prank I read about once, don't remember where though, is to make his name autocorrect to something funny in MS Word and Outlook.
    You can experiment with this yourself. Imagine the look of his (fe)male boss, if (s)he gets constantly called 'sweetcake' or 'little bunny of mine'! :-D

  12. Guy McDowell
    March 10, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Cruel....but funny. I like the changing of the orientation of the screen too, by using CTRL and the arrow keys. Fast and easy.

  13. Vanessa
    March 10, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Wicked! I suscribe to comments not to miss further pranks! Regards.

  14. Rick
    March 10, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Have the victim called out for a 10-12 minute meeting. Take a screenshot of your their desktop, and it into a .jpg. Remove all of the icons on the desktop, and set the taskbar to "auto-hide", under properties. Create the desktop wallpaper out of the .jpg you just made so that the desktop appears to be exactly like it was when you started, except that you can't click any of the icons, of course. Arrange yourself in an inconspicuous location within sight of your victim's computer, and don't LOL when they try to figure out why none of the icons are working.

    • Chris
      March 10, 2009 at 10:21 pm

      Ha! Very clever. Also, make the BSOD on Ctrl-C or Ctrl-V. It will happen all the time.

  15. stefan
    March 10, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    in another lifetime as a programmer, when we used systems with command prompts, I once created a text file with the following lines:

    > DELETE *.*
    Are you sure you want to delete these files (y/N) y

    (etc, but with real filenames of his files)

    then I deployed it to 'play' - with appropriate pauses - on a colleague's computer (yes, I had his password) at a random time.

    At some point in the day he staggered out of his office, looking white as a ghost, pointed at me saying "you... you... you..."

    It was delicious!