Introduction: April Fool's Day Contest: a Simple Computer Prank That Will Shut Down the Computer

Picture of April Fool's Day Contest: a Simple Computer Prank That Will Shut Down the Computer

A computer prank that will shut down the intended computer in a set amount of time and display a message of your choice! Perfect to play on the curious-minded.
Warning: Make sure that there aren't any important downloads or documents running at the time of activation. If there are, tell the victim how to cancel it (explained at the end of the instructable).
NOTE: Will only work with Vista.
NOTENOTE: I will NEVER clean up my desktop! :D

Step 1: Prank Settings

Picture of Prank Settings

Right click on the desktop, select 'New' and click create shortcut.
In the window that pops up, type in:
shutdown.exe -s -t 120 -c "Your computer has committed suicide, have a nice day."

The number behind the -c is the time in seconds that the computer will shut down in, you can put in any amount here. If there isn't anything important going on, select a short time such as 5 seconds or so. If there IS something important, set it to a longer time such as 120 seconds or more so that you have time to deactivate it.
In between the quotation marks, write a message such as 'WARNING: VIRUS DETECTED: BEGIN SHUTDOWN IN 60 SECONDS'.

Step 2: Naming the Shortcut

Picture of Naming the Shortcut

In the window, enter the name for your prank shortcut. Remember that if you change your mind, you can always change it when it's on the desktop.

Step 3: Activating It

Picture of Activating It

The icon will appear on the desktop. To activate it, simply double-click. The message will pop up and in the amount of time you set after that, the computer will automatically shut down.

Step 4: Deactivating

Picture of Deactivating

If you need to deactivate the script, go to 'Run' and type in shutdown -a.


ajacinto2 (author)2013-04-01

Now it had been effective

ajacinto2 (author)2013-04-01

Why it doesn't work on my laptop!!! I'll gonna right click it butI had double clicked it & the message appeared but I had not been logged off

wolf996 (author)2012-10-27

Deathnote! ^.^

mevans16 (author)2011-08-21

After I click finish with the name of the shortcut I cant find where it is, can someone tell me how to fix this?

mevans16 (author)mevans162011-08-21

Do I need a different code for windows 7?

officialsushi (author)mevans162012-04-01

Not sure cuz I have a Windows Vista computer, but the file could be hidden. Go to "Computer" and then "Organize" in the toolbar, "Folder and Search Options" and then the "View" tab, and finally "Show hidden files and Folders". Win 7 might not have this AT ALL, so you may want to search "How to show hidden files and folders on Windows 7". Then, right click and click the preferences tab, and un-check "Hidden" under "Attributes"
Good luck!

P.S. This isn't an April Fools prank. No, really xP

Capt. Fat (author)2011-07-25

If I could do this to my Girlfriend's iPad it would be amazing, lolz

ididabarrelroll (author)2011-07-19

@Lo-couk: This will not work on an iPad.

Attamet (author)2010-07-05

I tried this, and it worked, but the message i put in did not appear. How do i fix this?

evandereems (author)Attamet2011-07-14

after the -c the comment must be on space away and in quotes

Ex. -c "hello world"

SimoMies (author)2011-06-15

It's nice to change the icon to resemble firefox, for example, and rename it too. Try and start that browser, will ya :D

kbidne (author)2011-06-04

Of course, if you want to be especially evil, set it to delay for ten, fifteen minutes, and put the shortcut in the startup folder. If you don't know what the startup folder is, find out or stay out of it, you don't want to break anything important.

jwayne89 (author)2011-05-31

Initial D for the win!!!!!!!

Jamez Britton (author)2011-05-30

You are bloody brilliant my friend!! XD
i've set this up on my friend's computer and my sister's laptop.
Can't wait for the chaos to begin!!

halojerm (author)2011-04-29

a code that works great is shutdown -s -t 00

Green Silver (author)2011-03-30

and for an ipad???

Spike002 (author)2008-03-30

hahaha i do this to my friends computers allll the time, but i just make a batch file, whatever, same thing. i ususally put something that scares them alot, like "Computer must restart for virus to take effect." and then i put "pause" in the file, and then if they continue with the command, it cancels the shutdown, but ther usally freaking out too much to press it.

Cartuner55 (author)Spike0022008-09-19

can you reply with the code? i wanna do that

Spike002 (author)Cartuner552008-09-23

haha yah no problem
you know how to make a batch file though?

you just go into notepad and enter this,

@echo off
shutdown /s /t 60 /c "Computer must restart for virus to take effect."

shutdown /a

then when you go to save it, name it whatever you want, BUT at the end add .bat
and when it asks for save file type, go to All Files instead of Text Document

So you just name the file something you think they'll click on.



CodeKid1001 (author)Spike0022010-11-02

does pause mean they have to press okay?

Spike002 (author)CodeKid10012010-11-03

yaahh, haha if they're smart enough they'll click continue instead of exiting it and it'll cancel the shutdown, but most people will just freak out and exit it.

alextricity (author)2009-03-06

In XP this is the code used.... shutdown -s -t 18000 -c "User error. Please replace user."

CodeKid1001 (author)alextricity2010-11-02

does 18000 mean 18000 seconds?

alextricity (author)CodeKid10012010-11-03


purecnc (author)alextricity2010-03-25

 i did the original code but this one works better for win XP

Kendallkip (author)2008-08-13

waaaaaaaaaa!!! cant find 'run'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

in start

ive got vista, its hard 2 find in vista. I had to search for it T_T

greenbean (author)Kendallkip2009-06-25

Just press the key that has the Windows symbol on it and press the R key at the same time, or, JUST TYPE "RUN" INTO THE START MENU SEARCH BAR AND PRESS ENTER! EVEN BETTER! THAT SEARCH BAR IS ALSO THE RUN BAR! Don't complain and make excuses just because you don't do what you're doing. It's just as easy to use run with Vista, and it's a whole lot easier to find it. I have Vista, and I've used XP all my life. Please don't take away from this site by complaining and whining. Just ask! "How do I do this?" BE CONSTRUCTIVE

CodeKid1001 (author)greenbean2010-11-02


cyrozap (author)Kendallkip2008-08-19

run is on the right side of the start menu.

thegeeke (author)cyrozap2008-11-06

Not on most versions of Vista. I believe there is one with it in there, but I haven't used it yet. A short cut is: winkey-r.

jedi pen-gui-n (author)thegeeke2008-12-02

run is not on by default in vista. right clickon the taskbar nd select properties. Click start menu(on properties).Click customize. Look for run and check mark it.

thegeeke (author)jedi pen-gui-n2010-02-23

I think that business edition has it on by default.

qwertyzzz18 (author)Kendallkip2009-05-31

Windows Key + R

chamster (author)2010-10-02

How can i make a virus like that but does something else besides shutting down?

purecnc (author)2010-03-25

 i just tried this on my XP laptop it works.

thanks this is a cool joke

yippy! (author)2010-03-16

i have a vista computer and when i tried this out command promp came up for a second thats all that happened can anybody think of anything? i cant figure out the problem

zitz (author)2009-05-28

well you have vista and that's a big enough problem

DuctTapeRules! (author)zitz2009-05-28

Yeah, Vista used to be really annoying, but now not so much :p And to everyone, I CLEANED MY DESKTOP!!!! XD

jotism (author)DuctTapeRules!2009-11-21

U said "used" to be a big problem, it still is, along with Windows seventh peice of s$1V

LINUX ftw!!!

Ubuntu 9.10 is out, upgrading from Vista couldnt be easier, what i would give for a windos free world :)

101lenny101 (author)jotism2010-02-09

 LOL! That would be great to have a Windows free world!! But I am a Mac fan, but I think Linux is pretty cool.

mrtape01 (author)2010-02-03

 thats hilarious what the computer said your computer has comited suiced have a nice day! 

inventordude14 (author)2010-01-31

  is there a way to make this run on  windows XPi ?

fd18 (author)2009-12-29

How do I activate this Wirelessly?

I bought a wireless Transceiver Package and Was wondering I can interface this with the db-9 port so that when I connect some form of a circuit within the port, it opens this shortcut.

I'm new to programming and am mostly focusing on micro controllers.

Any keywords to research or advice would be perfect,

jamiec53 (author)2009-10-21


AlternateLives (author)2009-06-22

If you think your desktop is bad, Mine has icons pretty much everywhere. It is absolutely horrible!

jirus95 (author)2009-05-24

It work in XP just fine --_0

bassclarinet23 (author)2009-03-01

So if you reboot the computer, then go to "RUN" etc., it is deactivated, correct?

No, you have to enter shutdown -a into run during the time before the computer shuts down. You could also create another shortcut with the path being shutdown -a.

About This Instructable




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