10 Hilarious Practical Joke Ideas to Play on a Friend’s Computer

Pranks don’t just have to be for April Fools’ Day. It’s satisfying to mess around with your friend’s computer no matter the time of year! You can catch them off guard by pulling some computer pranks.

We’ve rounded up a list of funny things to do to your friend’s computer. These funny practical jokes are ultimately harmless, but you should make sure you’re on hand to reverse the effects before they get too annoyed.

1. Flip Their Screen

No, we don’t want you to actually turn their monitor upside down. That’d be a bit obvious! Instead, press Windows key + I to open Settings and go to System > Display.

Display orientation

Beneath Display orientation, select either Landscape (flipped) or Portrait (flipped). Click Keep changes when prompted.

You might also be able to press Ctrl + Alt + Arrow key, but this depends on the graphics driver.

2. Display a Fake Windows Update

We’ve all had to sit in front of our computers while they seem to endlessly update. How about displaying a fake Windows update screen that actually never ends?

Fake Windows update

The website FakeUpdate is perfect for this. Click the update screen design you want to use and press F11 to set it full screen. For added effect, their cursor won’t appear either. When the prank is over, press Esc to exit.

3. Change Their Desktop Wallpaper

Changing their desktop wallpaper is a quick and easy computer prank. For example, you could set their wallpaper to an image of a cracked screen or something embarrassing like a goofy picture of your victim.

Alternatively, there’s a classic prank you can pull if their desktop is full of shortcuts (though there are far better ways to use your desktop than for shortcuts.)

Go to their desktop and press Print screen to take a screenshot. Open Paint, press Ctrl + V to paste the screenshot, then Ctrl + S to save. Navigate to where you saved the picture, right click it and click Set as desktop background.

Finally, go back to their desktop. Right click in an empty space and select View > Show desktop icons. This will hide all of their actual desktop icons, but they will still appear on the wallpaper image itself—your victim can click on the icons forever, but nothing will happen.

4. Control Their Computer With a Wireless Mouse

Wireless mouse and keyboard

Get a wireless mouse and/or keyboard and plug the receiver into their computer. Move yourself to a position where you can see their reaction, but keep within the wireless range.

Then, simply press some keys or move the mouse when your victim is at their computer. You could be subtle and make them think their peripherals are breaking or you could go all out and type something silly like “The truth is out there.”

5. Make Their Cursor Look Busy

It can be annoying when your computer hangs and the cursor turns into that blue rotating circle. As such, a simple prank is to change your friend’s cursor to look like that all the time. Their computer won’t slow down, but they’ll be confused.

Press Windows key + I to open Settings. Go to Devices > Mouse > Additional mouse options. This will open Mouse Properties.

Here you will see other options that make for good pranks too, like changing the Button configuration or Double-click speed.

Mouse properties

For our purposes, go to the Pointers tab. Double click on Normal Select. You will be presented with a list of cursors. Double click on aero_busy, then click OK to save your changes.

6. Change Their System Sounds

Windows will play sounds when certain things happen, like on login or when an email is received. You can cause mischief by changing these sounds.

System sounds

Do a system search for change system sounds. This will open the Sounds window. Click the event you want to change the sound for, then click Browse and choose a different WAV file. Click OK when done.

You could record your own sound or opt for an annoying song or scary noise.

7. Add a Typo to Their AutoCorrect

We all rely on AutoCorrect to fix our spelling as we type. But what if AutoCorrect goes rogue?

Open Microsoft Word and go to File > Options > Proofing > AutoCorrect Options.


On the AutoCorrect tab, ensure Replace text as you type is ticked. Use the left box to input the word you want to be changed when typed. Use the right box to input what that should change to. Then click Add > OK.

You could change a common word like “the” to “turtles” or go subtle with a word they’re less likely to type.

8. Change the Behavior of a Desktop Icon

Some people rely on desktop icons to launch files and programs. Send their world into chaos by messing with these.

Shortcut properties

Right click a desktop icon and click Properties. Your various prank options are:

  • Go to the General tab and give the shortcut a different name.
  • Go to the Shortcut tab to change the Target so it opens a different program.
  • Also, on the Shortcut tab, click Change Icon to make the icon something different like a warning symbol.

9. Adjust the Screen’s Color

Press Windows key + I to open Settings and go to Ease of Access > Color filters. This is one of Windows 10’s many helpful accessibility tools.

Color filters

Slide Turn on color filters to On. Beneath Select a color filter to see elements on the screen better, select an option. A good one is Grayscale, since it removes all color from the screen.

10. Open a Random Program Using Task Scheduler

Task Scheduler is a tool to automate things on a computer. Do a system search for task scheduler to find it.

You can create a task to open a program at random points. Click Create Task. Give the task a Name.

Triggers in Task Scheduler

Go to the Triggers tab and click New. Tick Delay task for up to (random delay) and Repeat task every, then choose a time interval for both. Click OK.

Go to the Actions tab and click New. Click Browse and choose a program that you want to open automatically. Click OK.

Adjust the Conditions and Settings to your liking, then click OK to create the task.

Even More Funny Computer Pranks

Hopefully, you and your friend have a good laugh about the computer pranks you pull! Remember to reverse them, else your friendship might not last much longer.

If you want some more digital prank ideas (perhaps to pull on a different friend), check out these geeky pranks to play with web apps.

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