Dreaded by some, awaited by most, April Fools' Day is a special kind of holiday. It's the only day of the year when you get to be a troll and nobody can get mad at you (you know, unless you cross the "common sense" limits everyone should have an idea about). Just remember that pranks are only fun if they don't endanger the physical or emotional well-being of those around you, and your jokes will be appreciated. Here are some ideas for a few computer-related pranks that you can pull at home or at the office:
Mouse-related jokes are some of my favorite because they're easy to pull off and require very little planning. I will give you three tips on what you can do to make a person believe that something is wrong with their mouse and you can choose the one that you like or that you can manage to pull off:
- Taped Sensor - modern mice use a sensor to match the movements your hand makes with the cursor on the screen. However, if you use some tape to cover it up, the cursor will no longer move or move incorrectly. Even though it won't take too long for the other person to realize what has happened, the expression on his or her face for the first couple of seconds should be priceless.
- Wacky Cursor - plugging in two mice into the same computer usually leads to some hilarious situations, especially if the person who thinks he is in control of the PC isn't aware of the second mouse. If you have this option, you can use a regular mouse, but I recommend using a wireless one as it makes it much harder to figure out why the cursor keeps acting up. Simply plug in the USB sensor (in a slot that is hard to see), then make random mouse movements every once in a while and watch the confusion on your friend's face.
- Crawling Pointer - this prank is a bit more elaborate and requires you to actually have access to the victim's PC. What you have to do is to find the mouse settings in the control panel and in the pointer options screen change the speed to a very slow one so it will take him forever to drag the cursor to an Icon. In case you want to, you can also drag the slider in the opposite direction and make the cursor go too fast to control. The choice is yours.
BSOD Screen Saver
Who doesn't remember the good old BSOD (Blue screen of death)? Generating a BSOD error is pretty difficult and could damage the victim's computer, however faking one is much easier. All you need to do is to download a screensaver that simulates a BSOD, activate it before your friend comes back and you will have a perfectly believable prank. Being totally honest, I think it's even funnier that the BSOD screensaver can be downloaded from Microsoft's website (click this link).
This is another classic computer prank which is very easy to pull off. All you need to do is to take a screenshot of your victim's desktop (use the Print Screen button on the keyboard, open MS Paint, press Ctrl + V and save the image), and replace it with the actual desktop image. To do so, right click on the image that you created and select the Set as desktop background option. Now right click on the taskbar and hide it (directly or from its properties). Lastly you will need to hide the icons on the screen by right clicking anywhere and going to the View section and unchecking the Show Icons setting.
Now the computer desktop will look exactly as it did before, but none of the icons on the screen will be clickable as they are just an image. The puzzled look on your buddy's face should bring you a few good laughs.
Broken Monitor Wallpaper
Another classic joke is setting up a wallpaper which makes the victim believe that his or her display has been broken. On a PC this is pretty difficult to simulate and it will take just a couple of seconds for your victim to figure out it's a prank. However on a mobile phone, this gets much scarier and much more believable. If you need them, here are a few links that can help you out: a broken Windows log-on screen, a broken screen desktop image and broken displays for Windows Phone 8 and Android.
This prank is a bit more elaborate but also is harder to fix. This is how it works: you change the icons from the victims' PCs (swapping them around is even more confusing) and change the text attached to them so they will have no clue what they're launching. To do this on Windows 7, right click on your screen then select the Personalize option. Now select the Change Desktop Icons section (second button on the left) and play around with the icons. Once that's done, simply change the text of the icons to match what they depict, sit back and wait for the confusion to take place.
Google Language Settings Prank
If the friend you want to prank spends a lot of time searching for stuff on Google, changing the language settings can be quite funny. Especially if you don't stop at the interface and also change the results he gets, it should be quite hilarious. I know most people would be tempted to select something like Chinese or Russian for their hard to read characters, however I recommend trying something oriental like Arabic as it will also change the page display direction (they write right-to-left), thus being harder to change back. What you do is search for something on Google (in the browser that your victim uses the most often), then click on Settings (gear icon in the top-right icon) and select Language Settings. Pick the language you want to use, then close the window and have fun watching your buddy struggle to make sense of what's going on.
Net Send Messages
This prank used to be really fun a few years ago, however nowadays it has fallen out of favor as it doesn't work on any Windows version newer than XP. However, if you still have XP installed in your office, the Net Send command will help you send some official looking messages to any of your coworkers as long as you know their IP. To use this command, go to Start --> Run, type cmd and press Enter. In the console that opens type net send <computer name> (target's computer) <message> (the message that he will receive). What you write is up to you, but notifying your victim that the power will go out in five minutes or that there are free cookies at the cafeteria could be fun.
Total Confusion Combo For Mozilla
There are a few extensions that can make a Mozilla user's day a nightmare. Here are some of the most interesting ones of the bunch:
- Two Steps Back - every once in a while, the back button will take the user back two steps instead of one (hence the name). Since this event happens at random, it's pretty hard to actually catch on that it's something planned.
- Highs and Lows/Sarcasm Enhancer/For real - adds all kind of comments such *lol*, *sigh* or *whatever* to the websites that you visit, or to the texts that you write in Mozilla. How does it feel to be judged by your browser?
- Rick Roll - 2% of the videos that victims watche will be changed with the infamous Rick Roll videos. Another one that is hard to catch on since it only happens at every 50 videos watched.
- The Devil's Inbox - Switches the number of unread messages in the user's Gmail to 666. If the victim is a neat person who always keeps the Inbox neat, this could be really scary.
To download these extensions separately or as an entire pack, go through this link.
Since there are a lot of people on this website who enjoy coding, I thought I should show a prank especially for them. However, if you're not a programmer, this is very hard to execute and it will be more of a chore than a fun prank. Basically, this joke will turn the victim's webpage upside-down, making them look like in the picture to the left. If you're interested, here's the link to the code that you need to write in order to make this happen.