Friday Fun: Trick wallpaper desktop.

Difficulty: 1.5

Trick1This is the start of a new series of articles here at Inspect My Gadget. While most how-to articles you will find on this site will help you to be more productive, it’s sometimes fun to plant a practical joke on your work mates computer. You’ll have them pulling their hair out and screaming at their computer while you work quietly nearby. 

None of these articles will damage your computer or expose you to viruses, and they will all be easy to revert the computer back to it’s previous state, at least, after a few laughs.

I will start with an old favourite. This is sure to trick many as the effect is almost flawless. The only noticeable clue is that the clock in the tasktray will not change.

The result:

  • The desktop will appear untouched.
  • The start Menu will not work.
  • None of the default icons on the desktop will work.
  • It will take around 30 seconds to return the computer back to it’s fully working state.

Read on to find out how to make this happen, and how to restore the system quickly before you get decked.


Find your unsuspecting victim. Make sure they have a sense of humour and know a thing or two about computers. You don’t want somebody to be freaking you that they have a virus. Doing this for malicious reasons is just silly and it could result in you having to answer to the boss. Take plenty of caution in this.

Ensure your victim has left their computer logged in. Take notes of how the computer was set before you started tampering with it. If your victim likes a particular wallpaper, make sure you know where it is. If your victim has auto arranging icons ticked, turn it back on afterwards. Ensuring you can return the machine back to it’s previous state is possibly preserve your friendship.

  1. Minimize all running programs.
  2. Press PrtScn (Print Screen) to take a screenshot.
  3. Open up “Paint” and press “ctrl-v” to paste the desktop.
  4. Save the image as “trick.jpg” somewhere that is easy to get to.
  5. Right click on the taskbar and ensure “Lock Taskbar” is unticked.
  6. Drag the Taskbar to the top or side of the screen.
  7. Go into the Taskbar Properties and tick “Auto-Hide taskbar”
  8. Right click on the desktop, enter into “Arrange icons by” and ensure you have auto arrange unticked.
  9. Right click on the desktop and go into properties.
  10. In the appearance tab, click on “Customize Desktop…”
  11. Untick the options such as “My computer”, “My Documents” etc.
  12. Click “OK” and then browse for your trick.jpg file you created earlier.
  13. Ensure you set the wallpaper to “Stretched”

Now it is done. You will notice that if you drag icons around the desktop, it will appear as if you have two copies of the icon. The originals will still work, but “My Computer” and “My Documents” will not. They will appear, but they can’t be clicked on. This is especially fun when they try to drag files into the recycle bin.

The Taskbar will also remain open, well at least a picture of it will be. I think what makes this such an effective joke, it that some icons work as they should and others do not. It is a struggle for the most avid computer tech to get their head around.


Start from point 5 and work down, reversing what you have done. Make sure you refer to your notes and you set it back exactly how you found it. Ensure you don’t check “Auto Arrange” their icons if they did not have it checked before.

I hope that this article has given you and your work-mates a bit of a giggle. Stay tuned to Inspect My Gadget on coming Fridays for more workplace mayhem.

Related Posts

3 comments so far »

  1. . said, on November 18, 2007 @ 10:08 am

    If they have nothing open you can skip 5,6,7,8,9,10,11 then after 13 get into task manager and end explorer from running then once you want to put the computer normal again get into task manager again and select new task then type explorer.

  2. Inspect My Gadget said, on November 18, 2007 @ 11:28 am

    Thanks for the tip . That would work too for some of it. This method doesn’t change the wallpaper back, it only brings the task bar to the right location. It might scare the victim if they see screens that usually come up when there is an error. Cheers

  3. Travis Ball said, on October 27, 2010 @ 1:06 am

    Will a wifi adapter for a desktop be able to interface with a Bluetooth device?

Leave a Comment

Name: (Required)

E-mail: (Required but will not be published)