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How to Play a Fake Desktop Prank on a Co-Worker

Pull off this easy prank, and – without causing any permanent damage – watch your co-worker squirm with frustration.


  • Step 1: Create a phony desktop Create a few on your desktop and give the folders funny or embarrassing names.
  • Step 2: Capture the screen On a Windows PC, hold down the Control and Print Screen keys at the same time to capture the phony desktop display. Open a graphics program, like PhotoShop or Illustrator, and hit Control and the V key to paste the image.
  • Step 3: Save the phony desktop Save the phony screen display, using either a BMP or JPEG file format.
  • TIP: On a Mac, capture the display by holding down Command, Shift and the number 3. The image will save to your desktop automatically.
  • Step 4: Transfer to a USB key Transfer the phony desktop to a USB flash drive, so that you can open it up on your coworker's computer.
  • Step 5: Find a good mark Select an unsuspecting coworker to be your mark, preferably someone with a good sense of humor. Wait for an opportunity to sit down at their computer for a few minutes, and plug in your USB drive.
  • Step 6: Access their control panel On a Windows PC, find the Control Panel in the Start menu. Click the Desktop icon, and browse to select the stored phony desktop file from your USB drive. Activate the phony desktop, and return to your seat.
  • TIP: On a Mac, change the desktop in System Preferences, Desktop. Find the file, and choose either the "Center" or "Fit to Screen" option.
  • Step 7: Enjoy the results Wait until your befuddled coworker achieves maximum frustration from trying to interact with their phony desktop. Then, casually drop by to offer assistance – just try not to laugh!
  • FACT: Bill Gates is credited with releasing the first computer virus when he worked at a power company during high school.

You Will Need

  • Access to a coworker's computer
  • A phony desktop graphic
  • A flash drive

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