I originally wrote this article a few years back, and its turned out to
be the most popular articles on one of my blogs. I don't like to rehash
old content, and I should have released this on April fool's day, but no
use crying over spilled milk. A lot of the text below is from the
original article, but I have added new content and updated some of the
I have to admit I love to play a good practical
joke on my friends as long as its harmless. The problem is, how do you
make sure that you don't hurt the victim's computer, or its data.
are a few suggestions for some computer practical jokes.
Notes: Perform these practical jokes at your own risk,
I am not responsible for the results (e.g. lost friendship, your job, family not speaking to you anymore, etc.). I would never recommend using
any of these tricks then leaving the victim to their own devices. You
should stay close, hopefully laugh with them, then help them to undo
what you have done.
Keyboards and Mice:
the ball from the computer's mouse on the older mechanical mice. If
its the newer optical mouse, stick a small piece of tape over the
- Unplug the mouse and/or keyboard from the back
of the computer. If its a wireless keyboard or mouse remove the
batteries from the device.
- If several people in your office use
wireless keyboards and mice and they are in close proximity to each
other, you can reprogram the wireless receivers, to pickup the other
user's keyboard and/or mouse.
- This trick is just mean, and can be a little tricky to reverse. Remap the computer keyboard to Dovark layout. Here are the instructions on how to perform this modification.
every computer is a rat's nest of cables, removing or unplugging the
right cable (power, network, keyboard, etc.) can cause frustration for
the computer user.
- Any good computer user will have a surge
suppressor power strip where their computer is plugged into. Some of
these power strips have a breaker, sometimes they manually allow you to
blow them. This will basically make the power strip a useless
piece of junk until the breaker is reset. (Warning: make sure that all the equipment is off before you blow the breaker).
- Note: Some power supplies come with a power switch on the back of them. This switch turns off the power supply completely when switched to the off position, so the computer can't be turned on from the regular power button.
is a cool little trick, its called the 'Broken LCD Screen'. All you
have to do is replace the background of your victims desktop, and it
looks like they have a broken screen.
trick will drive the end-user mad, they will try to click on the
desktop and believe the computer is frozen when nothing works. I have
seen people reboot their computer several times before they figured out
what is wrong. Use with caution, save all the user's work before using this trick.
a screen shot of the computer's desktop (press the PrtScrn screen button).
You might want to try taking the screen shot with open application
windows, it might add to the realism.
- Then open a graphics
program like MS Paint (under Start menu | All Programs | Accessories)
and Paste the image into the application. Save the file into the
C:\WINDOWS\ directory as a bitmap file (.BMP) and set it as the desktop
background. (Note: if you're using MS Paint there is a command under the
File menu to do this.)
- Then remove the icons from the users
desktop, put them in a another folder under the user's 'My Document'
folder. Or, you can right-click an empty space on the user's desktop,
and uncheck Arrange Icons By > Show Desktop Icons (Note: you may have to cycle through [press Alt-Tab] an application that fills the screen to force the desktop to refresh it self)
extra realism, you can hide the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. (Hover
the mouse over the top edge of the bar until you see the up/down arrow,
then click and drag the taskbar to the bottom of the screen)
- Note: This doesn't work very well on multiple monitor systems
- Tricks for systems with multiple monitors. First thing you have to do is right-click an empty area of the desktop and select Screen Resolution. From here you can:
- Change the order of the monitors. For example move the monitor that is on the left to right or put on top of the other. This will change how the computer desktop works.
- Lower the screen resolution, this will make everything look really big on the screen. Use the Resolution drop-down menu.
- Change the orientation, from landscape to portrait. Use the Orientation drop-down menu.
- You can also mirror the contents of one display onto another display. Use the Multiple displays drop-down menu or press the Windows+P keys.
- Some laptops come with a switch that will disable the Wi-Fi. Most people don't remember this feature, or don't know it exists. This trick can drive them nuts trying to get their computer to connect to a wireless network. To reverse this, all you have to do is turn the switch back on.
Items for Sale:
- Turn the speaker volume up real loud on their computer and walk away.
- Try playing with the computer settings, such as the monitor, cursor, mouse and keyboard configuration in the Control Panels.
the startup or other event sounds (such as changing the new mail sound,
to something like the sound of someone passing gas [you know what I
- Embed the following link into an email, and send it to your friends (http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/891/3dtetris8yi.swf). I promise they will hate you after you send it.
- Phantom Keystroker:
Attach this evil prank device to your victim's computer and it makes
random mouse movements and types out odd garbage text and phrases.
A little device designed to annoy people with a nearly undetectable
intermittent beep. This device has a magnet attached, so it can be
placed on any metal surface.