8 Pranks for Windows 11 - Happy April Fools!

Happy April Fools Day! The day of the year when some IT staff think it might be humorous to do something to generate hundreds of support tickets “for the lolz”. Please do not be that person. If you want a good Windows prank to pull on someone who habitually doesn’t lock their computer when they leave it unattended walk up beside them while they are working and press [Windows key + L] (Or [Crtl+Cmd+Q] on a Mac.) explain that it locks their computer which they should do every time they leave it. For those who still don’t (or won’t) get it, here is a collection of some great pranks for Windows 11 that should help drive the point home. Some of these are not exclusive to Windows 11, but many of the existing lists on the internet have tricks that haven’t worked since the glory days of Windows XP. Consider it operational security training.

High Contrast Mode

{Shift+Alt+Print Screen] Activates high contrast mode and seriously looks bad. Most people won’t know what to even search for to fix it. Hitting it again turns it off. This is particularly annoying if the person uses dark mode.

Windows Magnifier

[Windows Key +  ”+”] Hitting this twice quicky turns on the Windows magnifier and makes things REALLY big. You’ll need to close out the magnifier control panel to make it less obvious, but again a trick that can be pulled in seconds.

Tidy Up That Desktop

We all know the trick of taking a screenshot of the desktop, setting it as the wall paper then moving all the icons and folders into another directory. That takes too long. Instead, right click on the dekstop, select “show more options”, “view” then deselect “show desktop icons”. Poof! Cleaned up desktop! Now hide the taskbar! To fix, just repeat and select “show desktop options”.

The Self Destruct Button

This is a really mean one. Right click on the desktop and create a new shortcut. Paste the following command into the location bar:

shutdown -s -t 30 -c “Self Destruct Initiated - Computer will shut down in 30 seconds.”

Name the shortcut something the person will be certain to click on, and wait for the screams. This can cause real trouble however if the person works in programs that do not automatically save to the cloud. Please use with caution.

Keeping Them Busy

This one is just fun and not damaging. Change their default mouse pointer to busy. Hit the windows key and search for pointer to find the “change mouse pointer display or speed” option. Open that then click the pointers tab up top. Change the Windows Default pointer to “Working in Background”. Now the pointer will look like the machine is constantly doing something.

Start the Day Off Right

Go to “change system sounds” and change the windows start up sound to something terrible like an airhorn, kazoos, or the classic 90’s hit “Butterfly” by Crazytown.

The Immortal Rick Roll

Following the theme of audio terrorism, use task scheduler to create a daily task to run the default browser with the command line argument https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ

The Better Bluescreen

Hat tip to Heroku for creating and hosting this great blue screen prank at bsodapi.herokuapp.com, which we have thrown into our link shortener to make easy to remember at agileit.co. Go to this URL, hit F11 to go full screen, then zoom in with [CTRL+] so it fits the screen properly.

Physical Humor

Wrapping things in foil, covering them with post-its, or hiding that beloved red swingline stapler are age-old office pranks and decidedly low-tech. Some that continue to work to this day are things like sticking a piece of post it note over the optical sensor on a mouse, or better yet, plugging in a second wireless keyboard or mouse and haunt their machine at random.

How to Keep From Getting Pranked

Set your machine up to lock after the shortest amount of inactivity possible, or just be diligent about hitting [Windows+L] every time you walk away. You can also pair your phone with your windows computer and enable Dynamic Lock to lock your computer every time your phone leaves Bluetooth range. (This also works with some smart watches if they have the ability to be paired with multiple devices). To do this, go to Accounts > Sign-In Options and select “Allow Windows to automatically lock your device when you’re away”.

Don’t be a Jerk

Pulling little pranks when people walk away from their machines is a time honored tradition to help encourage people to observe better security practices. However, in some cases it can be seen as harassment, and if  you cross the line between “Ha Ha” and HR you are not going to have a good time. Happy April Fools day, and remember with great pranks come great responsibility. Did we miss anything? Are you a Mac user? Let us know your favorite pranks in the comments below!

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