Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try

Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try

Summary: Ready to get your prank on? This isn't your average, run-of-the-mill Windows prank list, so pull up a chair and stay a while! There's plenty to learn here and lots of laughter to be had by you at your victim's expense!


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  • Are you ready to absolutely confuse the heck out of your unsuspecting victim? I sure hope so, because everything I've covered thus far has all been to prepare you for this one glorious moment: the ultimate desktop prank! For the sake of brevity, I'm going to assume by now that you know how to do certain things like take a screen shot of your desktop. If you don't, refer to the previous pranks where I detail how to do everything.

    1 - Take a screen shot of the desktop with an app or document opened in windowed mode, then paste the screen shot in paint, rotate it 180 degress, and then save it.
    2 - Set that upside down screen shot as the wallpaper.
    3 - Follow all of the "mouse hijinks" prank.
    4 - Hide all desktop icons by right-clicking on the desktop, hovering over "View," then unchecking "Show desktop icons."
    5 - Hide the taskbar by right-clicking on a blank section of the taskbar, then "Properties," then the box next to "Auto-hide the taskbar," and finally, the "Apply" button.
    6 - Open a program or document in windowed mode and lay it partially over the window of the program/document that's a part of the screen shot wallpaper.
    7 - Finally, follow the "upside-down desktop" prank.

    The combination of these steps will have your victim so messed up that even the most seasoned Windows user would probably think they were hit with some sort of malware or script. Seriously. But it doesn't have to end here! If you can squeeze in the Dvorak prank along with some of the others to come, you'll soon be dishing out a massive amount of pain for your own twisted amusement! Mwah ha ha...

    [Related Gallery: 20 of the coolest gadgets and must-haves for your office!]

  • Taking a break from the complexity of the ultimate desktop prank, this is an ultra-simple prank that's good for a few laughs. Since more than one mouse can be used on a system, all you do is plug in a USB dongle from a wireless mouse into an available USB port, then randomly mess with your victim by moving the wireless mouse around whenever you want. Mess with them while they're typing by moving the pointer somewhere else on the screen and clicking, or just randomly jerk the mouse while they're moving their own mouse around. Simple, but effective!

    [Related Gallery: 20 of the coolest gadgets and must-haves for your office!]

  • Based on another age-old prank, here, you basically create a shortcut on the desktop that looks like the Internet Explorer icon, but when double-clicked, triggers a shutdown mechanism with a message that says whatever you want it to say. Here's how you do it:

    1 - Right-click on the desktop, hover over "New," then click "Shortcut."
    2 - When the window pops up, paste all of the following into the box:

    shutdown -s -t 2000 -c "10 unsuccessful logins have been detected. All information across all hard drives will now be completely deleted unless you click the cancel button below."

    3 - Click the "Next" button.
    4 - Enter "Internet Explorer" (without quotes) as the name for your shortcut, then click the "Finish" button.
    5 - Right-click on your new shortcut, then click "Properties."
    6 - Click the "Change Icon..." button.
    7 - If you get a pop-up that says your file contains no icons, click the "OK" button. If you don't get that popup, proceed to the next step.
    8 - When the list of icons pops up, scroll through them until you see the Internet Explorer icon (reference the picture above), then double-click it when you find it.
    9 - Click the "Apply" button, then the "OK" button.

    You've now created a shutdown shortcut that's sure to scare the pants off of your victim! You can type whatever you want your message to display, but the unsuccessful logins sounded good to me -- especially the "cancel button" part, since there is no cancel button! Now, if you want to abort the shutdown sequence for them prior to it occurring, then follow these simple steps:

    1 - Click the Start button
    2 - In the search box, type the following and then hit enter:

    shutdown -a

    Voila. Now the shutdown has been aborted and you can delete your shortcut no harm, no foul. Alternately, you could create a shutdown abort shortcut that you can double-click, too! Simply follow steps 1-4 from above, except name it something like "abort." Or, if you wanted to go the complete opposite direction (see: malicious and cruel), create the shutdown shortcut and then add it to the startup folder, like so:

    1 - Click the Start button
    2 - Click "All Programs"
    3 - Scroll down to "Startup," right-click it, then select "Open."
    4 - Click and drag the shutdown shortcut you created into the Startup folder.

    [Related Gallery: 20 of the coolest gadgets and must-haves for your office!]

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Software, Windows

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  • RE: Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try

    appears that barrel roll does not work using ie9 on win 7 pro computer.
    Must I install google chrome / firefox
    thank you
    • RE: Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try

      @TALKIN Ah, you're right! I guess Google checks the user agent of the browser and scoffs at Microsoft (go figure). It appears to work only with Chrome and Firefox. I will update the gallery to reflect this soon. Thanks for the feedback!

      [b]Update[/b]: It is due to a lack of support for WebGL in IE, which the barrel roll trick utilizes.
      • RE: Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try

        @StephenChapman I doubt that it is scoffing. It is probably using HTML, JavaScript, or CSS that IE doesn't support.
      • RE: Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try

        @grant I should have looked a bit deeper. Indeed, it appears to be a lack of support for WebGL in IE9 (or any other version prior to) which causes it not to work.
      • doesn't work in Linux

        @StephenChapman I couldn't get it to work on a number of different distributions and with 3 different browsers. Apparently it's a windows0only phenomenon. =(
  • RE: Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try


    I have followed ZDTv & ZDNet for a looooong time and I still Love It, Awesome job & thanks for the laughs!
    • RE: Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try

      @zinfandale@... Hey, thanks! Always happy to hear from our long-time readers. Glad you enjoyed the gallery!
  • This is Awesome

    Great article, gave me a few laughs! Thanks
    • RE: Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try

      @smu122 Thanks for reading! Hopefully, you have a few new tricks up your sleeve now. The upside-down desktop really is so simple, yet incredibly effective. =)
  • RE: Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try

    Changing the background to the desktop is a fun one I used to do in Windows 3.1.
  • RE: Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try

    On the mouse tricks you forgot switching the mouse buttons
    • RE: Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try

      @bwillingham@... They changed how to do that in Windows 7, which is what step 11 in "mouse hijinks" now does!
  • RE: Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try

    omg....this is so fun to do to family members. I supervise a computer sale and service store. My family is always calling me freaking out about their computers. I do this to the ones that keep getting Malware to scare them. Still havent told them....it's a joke......LOL!!! So funny!!!
  • My version

    Add a new shortcut named something like "Advanced desktop 4.0", make it launch that shutdown command, give it an appropriate icon.
    Take a scren shot and flip it 180 degrees. Now hide all shortcuts but the new one. Make that picture the wallpaper, and flip the desktop and hide the taskbar. Now it will look like an ordinary desktop except for that icon - move it on top "itself" on the wallpaper, change it's icon to a transparent one and give it a name consisting of spaces (no visible characters).
    Clicking all other icons will now have no effect, but clicking that one will make the shutdown window appear - upside down! :D
    • RE: Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try

      @Natanael_L See, now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about, hahaha. Excellent idea! Hope to see more people contribute their own, too. So many excellently evil combinations to choose from!
      • RE: Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try

        @StephenChapman Childish. Mr Chapman, that is the singularly most thoughtless post I've ever read from you, and you've pushed out some hairy bombs in your time.

        Havent we had enough of LULZ that you think its clever to upset someone, prevent them from working and waste company time and resources undoing them?

        I do love a wind-up, but if anyone touched my work they'd get punched in the testicles for their trouble at the very least. I'd expect the same from any co-worker as well. But perhaps here in the UK, we prefer our jokes to come from our leaders, I dont know...

        Bad show, Mr Chapman. Are you so irresponsible you cant see the wave of misery and lost resources you just caused publishing this idiocy? Granted its all out there, but most people arent inventive enough to try it without being told.

        How about 10 Mac pranks? 10 Linux ones? Oh, my mistake. People who value their computer and/or OS wouldnt touch it with a ****** stick.
      • RE: Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try

        Heh heh!

        I'll bet sharing an office with you and Natanael_L is...interesting.

        Yeah, interesting. :)

        Seriously, thanks for the laughs!
  • humor lost

    As an IT person who ends up fixing crap like this, I'd have a hard time distinguishing between one of these "tricks" and a generally misfunctioning Windows machine. Fiddle for 15 minutes, then rebuild...
    • RE: Ten epic Windows 7 pranks you absolutely must try

      @gdstark13 Yeah, I see your point. But it's just plain cruel for someone to play one of these pranks on someone and let it escalate all the way to someone in your position before coming clean!
      • Other IE pranks, I can't find

        Stephen, great pranks, dude! :) I actually was looking for a certain IE prank you write a lil text thing for, that I had a year ago but deleted part of, & I can't find it online now. I'll add the part I have below. You're supposed to make an IE file that accesses this text file somehow, but of course, I don't recall how to do it. How about can you find out from a smart PC peep, or ask people? The best part is that you can add any text you want to it and it will print that on the screen when someone clicks the fake IE icon you must create-which, as said, I don't recall how to do. Just copying it & changing it to open using IE doesn't work. It's supposed to run it. So, here's the text, on wordpad.
        Dim fso, ws, file, APP_PATH
        Set ws = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
        APP_PATH = """C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe"""
        ws.run APP_PATH

        set shl = createobject("wscript.shell")
        shl.sendkeys "This is God! I saw what you did! Don't ever do it again!(Change this to whatever you want.)"
        wscript.sleep 8000
        Thanks! Love ZDNET! :)