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The Basics Of Computer Pranks

Updated on June 2, 2012


Computer pranks are great for reliving the boredom of the office routine or spicing up an April Fool’s Day. Some computer pranks require you to install a piece of hardware or software onto your victim’s computer. Some would even ask you to make changes to the Windows registry. With the Windows operating system being as temperamental as it is, I would definitely not do any of that for a prank. And there are lots of other simple and basic ways that you can safely pull off a perfect prank.

The following techniques or pranks have been tested on the Windows XP operating system. There should be minimal differences with the other Windows operating systems.

However, before you play the prank, it will be best if you take the following into account:

  • Computer pranks will usually involve changing the settings of the computer. Before doing that, make sure you know what you are doing and that you are able to restore the computer to its original settings.
  • Unless you are really sure that your victim will not mess up his computer trying the undo your prank, do make sure that you are around in case he tries something he shouldn’t. Besides, why would you want to play a prank on your friend if you are not there to witness every second of his distress?
  • It is best to get a friend to help when pulling a computer prank. He can stand watch or keep the victim occupied while you do the dirty work. Or he can assist in some of the more elaborate pranks. Or he can hold on to the victim while you make a quick getaway should you, despite your best efforts, mess up the victim’s computer.

The Techniques For Computer Pranks
I look at the following techniques simply as tools that you can use to pull off a computer prank. It would be best to combine various techniques into a prank instead of just using one technique that becomes the prank itself. And when you do it properly, even the most savvy of computer users can be fooled by your prank.

The Upside Down Screen
This is a pretty basic trick. Just press Ctrl+Alt+Downarrow and the computer will flip upside down. You can try Ctrl+Alt+Leftarrow and Ctrl+Alt+Rightarrow to rotate the screen counterclockwise and clockwise respectively. To set the screen right again, just press Ctrl+Alt+Uparrow.

Note that this might not work on all computers. I tried on a computer with wide screen and it did not respond.

Hide The Taskbar
Hiding the Windows taskbar is a very basic but great way to play a prank on a new and panicky computer user. To hide the Windows taskbar, just right click on an unused area of the taskbar, select “Properties” and tick the “Auto-hide the taskbar” option. The taskbar will be hidden until the mouse cursor goes to the edge of the screen where the taskbar is. It would probably be best to drag the taskbar to the top of the screen so that it will be less likely to be accidentally found.

Hide The Desktop Icons
If your victim relies heavily on the desktop icons, hiding them could really send her into a tizzy. Just right click on any unused portion of the desktop, select “Arrange Icons By” and uncheck “Show Desktop Icons”. Wait a few seconds and all the desktop icons will magically disappear from the desktop.

Adding A Second Mouse Or Keyboard
This is suitable especially in a computer lab or if you have 2 computers side by side. Plug in your mouse into the USB port of your victim’s computer. When you do this, your mouse can control your victim’s computer exactly like your victim’s mouse, and your victim’s mouse will still function normally. Similarly, you can do the same with your keyboard.

The possibilities are endless with this technique. If your victim is doing some sort of graphic work requiring fine mouse control, a random tiny nudge on your mouse would drive him crazy. Or if he is typing a manuscript, you can try randomly pressing the “Backspace” key.


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    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 6 years ago from Singapore

      OddDustin - That one has possibilities for hours or even days of entertainment. :)

    • OddDustin profile image

      OddDustin 6 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

      I love computer pranks, and I never thought about the Adding A Second Mouse Or Keyboard trick, I must try that. Thanks for the idea!

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 7 years ago

      LOL! At that time I did not know the difference between DLL files and nail files! It was fortunate that I did not delete any! In short, luckily I never fell for any of those pranks! LOL + Cheers!

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      quicksand - Wow, you mean any files ending in dll is bad? I just scanned my computer and I got like tons of those files in there. Should I delete them?

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 7 years ago

      I remember a time when e-mails were sent out telling the recipient how to check if his computer was infected. The instructions said someting like ... in the search box put in star dot DLL ... if any files with the ending of DLL appear, delete them all as soon as you can! LOL!

      There were dozens of such e-mails circulating in the late 90s!


    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      dallas93444 - I don't know that one. Please elaborate. :)

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      What about leaving whiteout for the beginner to "delete" ?

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      Hello, hello, - Well, these pranks are quite basic so that even you would not mess up the computer. Just don't try it on my computer. :)

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      It must be very funny but I dare not try it because with my luck I upset the whole computer forever. Thank you for a good laugh.

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 7 years ago from Singapore

      Bwriter77 - Yep. Some computer users take a lot of time and trouble to tweak their settings to just the way they want it and they are not going to take kindly to pranksters changing their settings. :)

    • Bwriter77 profile image

      Bwriter77 7 years ago

      This is you said before you pull these pranks make sure you know how to restore the computer back to its original settings...very informative