The Best April Fools' Tech Tricks To Play On Your Colleagues

Tomorrow is April Fools' Day. Mark the occasion with these simple tricks that will leave your colleagues confused. This is your chance for revenge from a year of idiotic support questions — make the most of it.

Angry worker picture from Shutterstock

Turn Screens Upside Down

So simple, so evil, so effective. Type Control-Alt-Down on any Windows machine and the screen will flip upside-down. Restore things to normal with Control-Alt-Up — but that can be hard to discover when you can't use Google properly.

Turn The Internet Upside Down

A variant on the same thing is the much-loved Upside-Down-Ternet, which will display just web sites upside down. It requires a little skill in editing IP tables, but the instructions are fairly comprehensive. With everything in place, your victim's web browser will display every site in reverse.

Swap Every Lightning Charger For A 30-Pin Dinosaur

If your office is anything like ours, then all the newer iPhone owners are constantly begging for a Lightning charger. If anyone leaves on plugged in at their desk, change their cable for an older 30-pin model, then sit back and watch the fun. If anyone asks, say that Apple has just announced it is reverting to 30-pin because of safety issues.

The Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD) Screensaver

OK, the Blue Screen Of Death looks a little different these days, but not everyone has updated to Windows 8. The BSOD Screensaver loads a fake Windows error screen to trick the viewer into thinking their computer has just experienced a major crash. There are several variants out there; hunt around for one that appeals.

Trick Colleagues Into Talking To The Printer

Another low-tech genius move, and one that doesn't require any admin access. These realistic upgrade notices make it look like the printer has voice commands. Readers will start to recite the commands and get absolutely nowhere while you watch and enjoy. These original notices have 2010 copyright dates, which may not be an issue depending on the age of your office printer. If it is, they're easily edited.

Enable Dvorak Keyboard Support

We don't recommend using the DVORAK layout, switching a colleague to using it can make life amusing. Just search for 'Keyboard layout' on a modern Windows machine and alter the settings.

Use Text Expansion To Replace Common Words

Text expansion, it's a term for a tool that lets you type a short sequence (such as "ph#") that will automatically expand to a different and often larger block of text (such as "(02) 9999 9999"). Text expansion apps work with entries called snippets, which include the word you type and the text it expands to.

As a prank, you can enter common words as shortcut. For example, if your friend's name was Harold you could enter a shortcut that expands Harold to the word Idiot.It's a very simple trick to play and you can be as creative and detailed as you want. You can also be as appropriate or vulgar as your relationship with the victim dictates, making it a safe prank for almost everyone.

If you want to try this prank but need a recommendation for text expansion software, check out our top picks for Windows and Mac. You can even do it on an Android or iOS device.


What pranks would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments.

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Comments

    IIRC turning the screen upside down with ctrl + alt + down only works on computers running certain nvidia graphics drivers. It certainly doesn't work on any of the computers at the office.

      I'm using Intel HD 3000 and it works fine.

      Last edited 31/03/14 7:20 pm

      Doesn't work for me, and I'm running an nVidia card. Must be too old for it to work.

      Can confirm that it doesn't work for all.

      Source: I'm constantly messing with my colleagues PC's.

    Don't forget the one where you take a screen shot of their screen, set it as the background, open task manager and end the explorer.exe process. . They'll be clicking so hard, but nothing will happen.

    This can easily be fixed by starting the task manager again and then file, new task, "explorer.exe"

      Did something similar on Windows 3.1, and also made a wallpaper of tiled Program Manager icons, and minimised it over one of them. Hours of clicking fun.

        I used to do something similar to one of my teachers at college. Screenshot of the desktop set as wallpaper, and cos XP, you could hide the desktop icons. Much laughter ensued!

          another variant on this.

          Create a folder in the middle of a very open place on the desktop and name it "Amateur Porn" or other very noticeable name. Screen shot desktop and set as background then delete folder from desktop but the picture of the folder remains ;)

            Here's yet another variation.

            Open the browser to a porn site. Then take the screenshot.

      Screenshot trick is awesome.

      I used one where I hid all icons and created a "porn" folder on the desktop. Took a screenshot and set it as background. Turn back icons on desktop. They can now select all their folders, but cannot select and delete the "porn" folder.

      Used to do this a LOT in Harvey Norman before they used to actually put decent passwords on the computers

    Amateurs.

    We shared out someone's Windows folder on the network and freely replaced his wallpaper and system event WAV files every fifteen minutes or so. Might have gone too far in replacing DING with 45 seconds of TARDIS effects.

    Print screen, set as backround, kill explorer.exe, rotate display. Everything will look correct, but mouse movement will be upside down - and nothing will work anyway. :)

    I prefer the old fashioned screenshot of desktop trick and also the ol' sticky tape over the mouse sensor trick.

    Simplest is to just unplug the mouse cable. Especially good if they have the box sitting in the floor under their desk. Can't believe there was no mention of the classic rearranging the keys on the keyboard:
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Office-Keyboard-Hacks/

      we did this to a guy at my old job, and just swapped the M and N keys... He locked himself out of his net banking account :p

    autocorrect a to b, and the to that. Hilarity ensues.

    The glass on iMacs is stuck on with magnets, if you put suction cups on it you can take it off exposing the LCD below. You can put a sticky note or something underneath the glass then watch as they come in and try to take the note that they think is stuck on their screen but is actually stuck underneath it.

    post it note under the mouse.

      So simple yet effective. I'm alone on late shift tonight so I put one under a colleagues mouse with "April Fool" and emailed him a trollface for when he works it out.

        Sticky tape under the mouse.... The mouse works - but only kind of.... Takes much longer to work out what is wrong....

    People have been fired for doing less. Especially stuff like word replacement when people don't proofread what they write (aka, 90% of your own authors), and end up sending it out to say, clients.

    Less funny, sure, but then, most of these (like one savvy readers suggestion above to unplug the mouse, herpa derp) aren't really that funny anyway.

      One of my colleagues learned to proofread when he typo'd his email with 'Retards' instead of 'Regards'.
      He didn't get in trouble but it was pretty funny.

    Go to thinkgeek.com and get their random keystoke usb stick. Acts like a keyboard. And I think they had something to do random mouse moves.

    Stick your wireless mouse receiver into their pc hole.

    Sit back, randomly jerk the mouse to the left whenever they go to click on things. It's one of my favourites.

    The old sticky tape under the mouse is a bit too easy for the oldies at my work, so now we take the battery out and place a very small piece of paper onto the terminal, if it's on there good enough, they won't see it.

    Swapping keyboard keys is always good. M and N mainly. Don't go overboard.

    Unfortunately that's about the limit, I can't do that much as far as PC changes go because it's all locked down.

      Stick your wireless mouse receiver into their pc hole.

      Teehee.

    The old post it note on the bottom of the mouse

      No, print out a picture of terminator and stick in on the bottom. Position it so the laser is behind one of his eyes and recreate that awesome scene from the movie.

    3-2-1 your fired, happy April fools.... very few business would find this funny.

    Though swapping eveyones wireless mouses and keyboards.... but not changing the Dongles hehe

    Last edited 01/04/14 9:43 am

    Invert left and right mouse button.
    blutac on the feet of the mouse.
    Alt+Shift+PrtScrn.
    wireless mouse is allways good value.

    Careful of the auto correct. place I used to work we had to type the same phrase dozens of times per day but didn't have any macro's setup to do it automatically. set an auto correct so that each of the words in the phrase would come back back-to-front. Poor guy thought he was having a stroke, panicked and called the ambulance before we had a chance to stop him.

    I once made a batch file that made a message pop up saying 'This is your computer: I hate you". I then created a shortcut to it on a computers desktop and changed the icon to Google chrome. It was pretty funny, I've also done the "fake virus" batch file and one that keeps opening itself until the computer crashes.

    Sticky tape over the end of the CAT5/6 cable then stick it back into the wall - classic. :D

    batch file that says "shutdown", and place it in the Startup folder of the start menu

      IIRC, that just opens the shutdown dialogue.

      try
      shutdown /f /s /t 0
      shutdown, Force, Shutdown (as opposed to reset), time 0 seconds

        I haven't tried it since high school, so I may be forgetting some of the extra parameters, but I know that /t is counterproductive, since it will still take a moment to open up a dialogue and the default is to shutdown with no delay anyway.

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