Tech Tip: Harmless Practical Jokes Involving Your Buddies Phones and Computers


For those who know me know I’m a bit of a trickster and practical joker, so here is a list of some of my favorite (harmless) practical jokes you can pull on your buddy’s computer or phone.

1.) Flip the screen upside down:

On Windows, if you hold ctl + alt + down arrow (cmd + option + down arrow on Mac), the screen will flip upside down. To reverse this, use the same key combo, except hit up arrow instead of down arrow.

2.) Make the mouse cursor to appear to always be busy:

If you go to control panel, mouse, and pointers (system preferences, accessibility, display on mac) you can change the default appearances for the mouse pointer. Switching it to a flowing and turning hourglass and making your buddy think that their computer is constantly busy and processing something is a great gag.

3.) Mess with autocorrect:

You can be truly sinister to your buddy by setting a custom autocorrect default on their phone to always change a common word (or even the space bar) to a word or phrase of your choice. To do this on an Android, go to Settings, Language & Input, Keyboard, Text Correction, and Personal Dictionary. In iPhone, go to Settings, General, Keyboard (where you need to make sure autocorrect is on), and Text Replacement, here you need to select the + sign at the top right and then make the change.

4.) Switch Keyboard Input from QWERTY to DVORAK:

While most keyboards you see today have a key map and layout called QWERTY (based on the first 5 letter keys you see on the top left of your keyboard), there is an alternative keyboard layout called DVORAK. While DVORAK keyboards are quite rare, some people find them more convenient and easy to use due to less finger motion required to type words. Since QWERTY keyboards are by and away the most common, most computers default to QWERTY. DVORAK keyboard users are required to change their computer’s keyboard settings to DVORAK in order to be able to use a DVORAK keyboard. This prank is based on making the computer think there’s a DVORAK keyboard plugged into the machine instead of the QWERTY keyboard your buddy is most likely using. Go to Control Panel, Region and Languages, Keyboards and Change keyboards. Click the add button and select DVORAK.

5.) Block the mouse sensor:

This one is quite simple. Unless your buddy is living in the stone age and using a ball-bearing mouse, their mouse has a laser light on the bottom that tracks it’s movement. Simply take a post it note or a piece of tape, and block off the laser light. You can even write a message on the paper or tape you use to block it off.

6.) Cracked screen wallpapers

You can give your buddy a heart attack by setting their wallpaper to an image that looks like their phone’s screen is cracked. To do this, first take a screenshot of your buddy’s current home screen. Then add the cracked glass effect to the screenshot, which can be done from several websites online such as this one. Then, set the modified screenshot as their background image.

7.) Set task scheduler to randomly open programs or windows:

You can annoy your buddy by setting his or her task scheduler to open websites, programs, new tabs, etc. at regularly scheduled intervals. It’s annoying, and they will probably try to troubleshoot the opening programs without any luck because there isn’t actually an issue requiring troubleshooting. To do this, hit start and type in Task Scheduler (task scheduler is a default windows program, so it’s automatically installed on every windows machine). From there, select Create new task, go through the task setup wizard, and you can set up schedules or triggers for different programs or browsers to open and run.

8.) Delay system sounds:

What’s more annoying than the sounds your machine makes when you turn it on, get an error, or any other trigger that creates a system sound? How about delay between when your buddy triggers the event that would normally produce that sound, and the response of the sound. To do this, using a sound editor, download the .wav files used as default noises, and add several seconds or minutes of silence at the beginning of the audio clip. Then, replace your buddy’s .wav files with the new ones you just made using the same names. If you are a bit too lazy to edit audio files, you can always just download random .wav files and set them as the defaults so the sounds your buddy hears are not the ones he’s expecting.

9.) Duplicate and unclickable icons:

This one is simple, yet effectively annoying. Take a screenshot of your buddy’s desktop, then rearrange and move around all of their shortcut icons. Set their background image to the screenshot you just took. Now they appear to have twice as many desktop icons than they had before, and only half of them actually work.

10.) Wireless mouse and keyboard override:

Regardless if your buddy uses a wireless or wired mouse and keyboard, you can plug in a wireless receiver to your own mouse and keyboard, and take over from afar. Your buddy will quickly find out it’s you, but it’s all good fun nonetheless.


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