Friday Fun: The start virus.

Difficulty: 2

HairpullingThis is the part II 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.

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.

This week we look at “the start virus”. Basically, what we do is change every internal windows sound to the startup sound or some other annoying sound. This will work well in an IT workshop environment because the more tech savvy the user, the less likely they are to look for the obvious solution. This is very distracting and in your face.

I have seen this one used on a very good computer technician. He was really stressed by this and it took him over an hour to figure out even though it is so blatantly obvious. You may want to let on to the victim know how to fix this before they reinstall windows.

The result:

  • The desktop will appear untouched.
  • Every action, such as minimizing and maximizing windows, will cause the windows startup sound.
  • It will take around 20 seconds to return the computer back to it’s fully working state.
  • You can use any sound. The longer the better. An awful laugh or crazy frog may be just as ridiculously annoying.
  • Take caution if you are going to be in the same room as the trick may backfire on you.

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.

We need to take a few quick steps to ensure we can return the machine back to it’s previous state and possibly preserve your friendship.

  1. Go into your victims control panel.
  2. Open “Sounds and Audio devices”.
  3. Select the “Sounds” tab.
  4. Save their current sound scheme.

Step 4 is important as it allows you to return your victims computer back to its original state quickly.

The rest of the procedure is very straightforward. Click on each sound and select browse to change it, each time replacing it for the same sound you have chosen. The more you change the better the trick will be. It can be quite time consuming to make all these changes so start off with the essentials such as maximize and minimize. The shutdown sound may be good for clicking on start.

Now it is done. You will notice that if you minimize and maximize windows, the sound will play, each and every time.

Really Nasty Method:

On top of what you have already done, if you want to be really nasty, you may want to disable access to the audio controls in Group Policies. I won’t tell you how to do this though, because if you don’t know already, you shouldn’t do it before you have had a lot of practice.

Another thing you may want to do is use windows task scheduler to play an audio file every 10 minutes or so. Without any warning, this with create more bamboozlement.


Restoration is very easy for this one as long as you didn’t do any of the bonus steps. Go into your audio settings, the sound tab, and select the sound scheme that you saved earlier. If you missed this step (naughty), your best bet is to load up the Windows Default and hope for the best.

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.

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1 comment so far »

  1. 13 ideas said, on November 15, 2007 @ 8:51 am

    An old favorite!
    Thanks for posting, I’ll save this prank for later.

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