Quick & easy pranks for April Fool's Day
Today is April Fool's Day — the one day you can play some harmless pranks on friends or co-workers and easily get away with it. ET shows you how you can pull off some quick tech-related pranks
The Screenshot Joke
This prank fools your target into thinking that their computer is frozen. First, close all windows, take a screenshot and set it as the wallpaper. Then hide the desktop icons: in Win XP & Vista, right click on desktop > arrange icons by and uncheck 'show desktop icons'. In Win 7, right click > view and uncheck 'show desktop icons'. You can also right click the taskbar, click properties & select the auto hide option.
Change The OS
Imagine the surprise when a friend powers on his/her PC, only to find that it's booted into Linux rather than Windows. Download a Linux Live CD (www.knoppix.net), write it to a CD, place it into the CD drive and set the computer to always boot from CD in the BIOS settings. You can also use a USB flash drive. This can be a little tricky, so it's best to attempt it if you know what you're doing.
Fake Cracked Screen
This prank is for friends who use laptops. A laptop screen breaks in a certain way, so a photo of an actual cracked screen can be used to fool someone into thinking that their screen has actually cracked. Download the fake cracked screen wallpaper from http://goo.gl/mUr4c. This is a simple JPEG image that you can set as a wallpaper — works on any kind of LCD screen.
Rotate The Desktop
This one is Windows only and doesn't work on all computers but it's worth a try. Press Shift + Alt and then one of the cursor keys to change the orienatation of the entire operating system. For instance, pressing Shift + Alt and the down arrow key should turn everything upside down (if it works).
Here's how you can fool coworkers into believing that you have acquired some serious hacking skills. Head to www.hackertyper.com and hit the F11 function key on the keyboard (to put the web browser into fullscreen mode). It will open what looks like a terminal window — proceed to mash the keyboard furiously — it all looks like code. Three taps on the Caps Lock button will throw up a large 'Access Denied' message, three taps on the Alt key will show an 'Access Granted' message and the Esc key will clear all messages.
The Frozen Mouse
This one is super-simple and works with any kind of mouse. Underneath every mouse is a sensor window (either optical or laser) — all you need to do is cut out a small piece of tape and place it on the sensor. Then sit back and watch your target get frustrated.
Blue Screen of Death Screensaver
The dreaded blue screen of death — a common occurance for users of older, unlicensed Windows versions — can be brought back with a simple screensaver that apes the original. Download the screensaver from http://download.sysinternals. com/files/BlueScreen.zip and set it as the default screensaver.
Printers With Voice Control
If you're in an office which has large printers/copiers, this prank is sure to leave you and your co-workers in splits. Head to http://goo.gl/JFHWY and download the template for your specific brand of printer/copier. Each template looks 'official' with authentic manufacturer logos and proclaims that the printer/copier has been upgraded with voice commands. All that the user has to do is state their name and yell 'print' or 'copy'. Print out the desired template in colour (you can laminate it for added effect), stick it right on the printer and watch the fun.
If someone leaves their Gmail ID signed in, it's easy to flood their inbox with tons of junk email. For instance, you could sign them up for multiple useless newsletters. Another way is to open http://groups.google.com and join multiple groups. Before you click 'Join Group', you'll be presented with options for email updates — set it so that your target receives an email everytime someone posts to the group.
Change Keyboard Layout
One of the most common pranks you can play on someone who isn't very tech savvy is to change their computer's keyboard layout. In Control Panel, go to Region & Language settings, click on Keyboards and change the default keyboard to Dvorak. On some desktop keyboards, it's even possible to physically swap keys around in the same row.
You can download any number of prank WAV format sounds for free from www.soundjax.com. In Control Panel > Sounds, you can set these WAV files as the default sound for usual actions, such as start up, shut down, close program and so on. Make sure that the speakers are on and the PC volume is at an audible level.
This also works on smartphones. If you have access to someone's phone, you can add different ringtones for different contacts or change notification sounds for incoming email, instant messages and SMS. You can download all kinds of sound files for this purpose from www.zedge.net — you can also download the sounds to your phone first & transfer them to the other phone over Bluetooth.
Clever prank gadgets — arm yourself for next April Fool's Day
Just plug this nefarious gadget into an available (and preferably hidden) USB port and it installs itself as a keyboard + mouse. It then makes random mouse movements & inserts additional letters when the subject is typing.
This tiny (and slim) battery-powered pranksters delight can emit six different annoying noises like a cricket's chirp, beeping, buzzing and so on. Hide it somewhere your target will never suspect and watch the fun.
This ingenious little keychain has a secret — it's also a universal remote that can switch off almost any TV. Yes — it can only switch off a TV, nothing else. Just press the button and keep it pointed at the TV till it turns off.