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Don't Forget To Lock Your Computer


My office buddy was in the habit of walking away without locking his machine so we did a couple things to it over a few days.

  1. Created a really crappy drawing of the him using paint.exe with a bubble saying “I love project”, where project is the dead-horse being beaten. Then we set it as his desktop and sent that email out to everyone in the company using his email.

  2. A Week or two later he didn’t log out agian so I wrote an app that would logout a user from windows every 2 min. And it went something like this.

Login, work, logout. Huh?
Login, work, logout. Expletive.
Login, work, logout. Plethora of Expletives.
Uncontrollable laughter ensues.

He locks his machine now :slight_smile:


You touch my computer and I’ll probably kick your ass pretty good.

One’s PC should be locked, but if I don’t and you mess with that which I need to work, you will be sorry.


My office has “Hoffing,” where you get the raciest picture we can find of David Hasslehoff placed on your desktop the moment you walk away.


The US Army has a pretty good way of defeating this: your ID card is used to login with a PIN. Of course, when my soldiers forget their ID cards, it’s two-fold revenge: an entertaining wallpaper which they’re ordered not to change for a week, and about 200 push-ups. I don’t get to pull that very often anymore.


When I was at university – 1991 to 1993, and we’re talking Unix shell accounts here – this practice was sometimes in force too. Never heard the name “goating” for it (which is my wife’s term for flirting, but that’s neither here nor there). Most common mode took the form of altering the victim’s .login file, so the hilarity would only ensue the next time they logged in. Sometimes the script would even helpfully clean up after itself so the prank only happened once. They actual prank might involve sending out emails, or posting to Usenet, or writing to the consoles of everyone else logged in, or any number of other fun things. It might even display a message afterward explaining what had happened and admonishing the victim never to walk away from a logged-in open terminal again.


Screensaver, wait 5 minutes - On Resume Password Protect
That will protect you from most of the Goatboys.

Why stop pranking because the user “merely” locked their workstation.

If the fool left a bootable drive on their machine you can download bootdisks and BIOS password changers and go to town. Change everything you want.

You could re-arrange all the keys on their keyboard to spell swear words on them.

Mess around all of their monitor display settings making sure you set the display language to Swahili or something, good luck in getting that back to normal.

Flip the 110/220 switch on the back of the power supply to 220v.

And top it off with the old shoe polish on the headphones trick.

Amateurs… Touch my PC and feel my wrath.


Ha, this is even better if you do it remotely - which requires that you have remote access to the PC in question, if you’re in the administrators group you can.

This is clip2.cmd which requires the sysinternals (now MS, blech!) PS Tools, Google 'em up. Run it from the command line with the NAME of the PC after it, just the name, no “\”. CHange paths to match your system.
REM ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Start cmd code ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
REM Kill Clippy if it’s already running, can’t run well twice.
C:\util\ps\pskill.exe \%1 clippy.exe
REM Make a temp dir if it doesn’t alreay exist
md \%1\c$\temp
REM Copy the file(s) to the PC, change path to YOUR PC’s
REM local path to Clippy.exe, also can copy clippy.txt
copy C:\util\ps\clippy.* \%1\c$\temp
REM Run PSExec to start it on their PC
C:\util\ps\psexec.exe \%1 -i -d C:\temp\clippy.exe
REM ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ End cmd code ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


On one of my past places of work, Goating was compulsary if anyone left their computer unlocked. The pranks ranged from the ones mentioned in the blog here to much more creative things. The “desktop screenshot” is a good one, but in combination with switching the mouse buttons and setting the mouse speed to the lowest possible value makes it so much more ammusing.

Sending e-mails to managers are always fun. I once found myself having invited the finance director of the company to a movie and dinner… Funny thing about that one is that I’m married to her today, and that prank was what got us started speeking… So thank you to the one who pulled that one!

One of the more elaborate schemes was when I scripted one guys firefox to send him to www.string-emil.de each time he hit the A-key on his keyboard… oh, don’t go to that site if someone is watching… or if you are sensitive to middle aged, long haired men in skimpy underwear.


First of all, JPL, Kenneth, Jugimaster…

You wouldn’t have to deal with getting mad if you simply locked your PC.


If you say you work for a company that has no important info… does that mean you don’t get paid too???


3 seconds, how hard is that??? you take longer getting over your anger than locking and unlocking the PC.


It’s fun!!! Lock your computers. every company has important info. end of story. no brain surgery included.


Why do you think you’d lock down a desktop and not let students change screen resolution? Oh, yes thats because the little darlings change screen resolutions to limits that the monitors don’t support. Very clever.

As far as locking screens go, there has been cases of Civil Servents in the UK being disciplined and fired for not locking their work stations - data protection issues mostly.

Our trick at College was to put a “logoff” in the users “logon” script. I did it to one guy who’d just gone to a printer, he went ballistic at the class joker. Felt immature and silly so wrote a small program that locked the screens, and then never did it again.

Oh, and a final note, in XP is it possible to unlock another users workstation (ie log them off) without being a member of the administrator group?


I’ve caught several people walking around that others have let in that weren’t there for espionage, but for a quick buck by stealing purses/wallets/laptops. We’ve had others that have not been caught until the police were called in to review tapes and track them down and still others that were never caught.

Several? -Even though your entrances are locked… ?

Well, what can I say… As far as I know, that sort of thing just doesn’t happen i Helsinki, which is nice.

For the record, I’d find “hoffing” funny too, but not a resignation e-mail sent in my name.


I usually play the nasty “animal sex goating” - no pun intended :stuck_out_tongue:

Where I work, we have an internet filter like Websense, so when you try to access “unusual” sites your request is denied, logged and reported to the admins.

That’s why, when my coworkers leave the PC unlocked, I open Explorer and load animalsex.com… then I hit F5… 100 times…

[Hope this comments doesn’t get filtered]


I think something that a few of the people offended by the idea of “goating” are missing is that this is really done to people you get along with and that you know can take a joke. I wouldn’t do this to someone I don’t know or I know would get in a tizzy about it (like the 220 V keyboard guy or the shit on keyboard guy).


Thanks, techy. I’ll check that out.

In other news, I busted two teachers for having their passwords written on sticky notes on or near their computes today. They are slowly learning…

  1. Lock!!
  2. Don’t write down your password so anyone can unlock!
  3. Don’t share your password either!


What you need is one of these: http://sewelldirect.com/Cables-Unlimited-Automatic-USB-PC-Lock.asp

A USB key for the pc and a transceiver in your pocket. When you get so far away, the pc auto-locks for you.

I’ve used one in the past. Works great!


Get one of those “things” that senses your presence and locks the computer when you are no longer in proximity to it…


jeff…you’re my hero.


Ah the old “wallpaper is a screenshot of your desktop and move all the icons to a temporary folder” trick. I’ve used that one hundreds of times.

In my more cruel days I bound every key on the keyboard to reboot the machine.


Swap the M and N keys round …
Then turn co-worker’s drawer unit round so the back is facing them …

Then try not to laugh too hard when they realise what’s happened and go for their penknife in the drawer to lever the keys off …

Ghost mouse …

Tie a piece of string to their mouse and move it as they reach for it (don’t do this if co-worker has a weak heart).

And the universal yellow sticky on the bottom of the mouse so the laser can’t see any movement… removing ball from old-style mouse

Swap co-workers mice and keyboards around …

I don’t do this stuff any more because I upset someone too much and didn’t want to do it again. But if you’re in the mood …


To A Schools Admin:
They lock down all sorts of stuff. It’s windows 2000 and windows xp computers. Since they disable the display control panel, there’s no way to change the screen resolution from the default (800x600) to the monitors’ native resolution, which is usually 1024x768 or 1280x1024. Fortunately, a few of the computers now have the Intel GMA driver installed, so we can change the resolution that way. They restrict just about everything - we can’t lock our workstations, either. Probably because they don’t want someone to lock one and leave it like that, but all the teachers are admins and could unlock them, or they could add the Force Logoff button to the computer locked dialog, since the Novell options allow that to be set.