Yeah, I do remember there were a whole raft of pranks and hoaxes designed to make fools of the recipients IIRC?

In the context of the OP's post, the modern equivalent is the Scareware that he seems to have encountered, only the objective now is to rip off the recipient

Talking of pranks (and this was NOT deliberate), a mate of mine desperately wanted to borrow an HDD a few days ago. He didn't want PATA, so the best I could do was the 320GB SATA II drive I had just tested my Core i7 2600K rig on.

Couple of days later he calls me and says he's been working on it two days and it won't load Windows7.......all he gets is a blinking cursor. He had also tried the 32bit Windows8 Release Preview DVD that I had given him, and that did the same.

He'd run an HDD test and checked the boot sequence in his BIOS, but still no joy. OK at least that meant his box was booting BIOS, and the problem had to be detecting an OS. As the disk check worked it could obviously get into DOS, so why not a bootable Windows medium?

I went round to have a look and a and found that it would install the loader for Windows Vista 32bit, but not much else after that. It gave a message about "GTP" which finally caught me on.

The Intel box had defaulted to the more modern GTP partitioning, whilst his older AMD rig and BIOS were looking for an MBR setup.

Strange that Windows7 & 8 didn't just load from the DVD and report the problem, when the older crappier Vista did?

The quick solution was to wipe the drive with DBAN then it worked just fine. I know you can get utilities to do conversions, but he had a dead box with an unusable drive.

It gave me a good laugh though........couldn't have done better if I'd tried