Easter eggs in Microsoft products

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Some of Microsoft's early products included hidden Easter eggs. Microsoft formally stopped including Easter eggs in its programs as part of its Trustworthy Computing Initiative in 2002.[1]

Microsoft Bear[edit]

Microsoft Bear appearance in an easter egg

The Microsoft Bear is a mascot of the Windows 3.1 (and later Windows 95) team.[2] It was the teddy bear that one of the senior developers on the team used to carry around. He makes several cameo appearances in Windows:

  • A drawing of him was used as the icon for the SETDEBUG.EXE and JDBGMGR.EXE system files. The odd icon gave credibility to the jdbgmgr.exe virus hoax, claiming that the files were part of a virus.[3] See SULFNBK.EXE for a similar hoax.
  • Several internal system functions, although having meaningful internal names, are exported from USER.EXE as BEARNNN (where NNN is the ordinal number of the function) in his honor (and to discourage their use by incautious third party software developers).
  • He stars in two distinct easter eggs in Windows 3.1. The first one[4] was the reference to a fictitious file named BEAR.EXE, and in the other one[5] the Bear, along with Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and Brad Silverberg, presents the email aliases of the Windows 3.1 developers. bradsi, being in charge of Windows production, is listed first (see picture); the three other presenters, billg, steveb, and t-bear, appear together in "Special Thanks", the last section of the list.

Microsoft Bunny[edit]

During the development of Microsoft Windows 95 the shell developers had several stuffed animals as mascots. One was Bear, who was a hold over from Windows 3.1. There were two others, bunnies, as well: the smaller one called "16-bit Bunny" and the larger one called "32-bit Bunny". The naming is connected to the fact that Windows 95 was the transitional OS.[2]

These features needed to be turned on while Windows 95 was tested and the secret of turning them on was not removed. Some of the desktop features, including full window drag and anti-aliased fonts, could be turned on by placing the line ILOVEBUNNY32=1 under the windows section in win.ini.[6]

Just like the Bear, the Bunny has an exported function named after him, BUNNY_351 in krnl386.exe.[7]

Also, the Bunny is the icon for rumor.exe (Microsoft Party Line) in some Windows Chicago betas.[citation needed]

Microsoft QBasic[edit]

In QBasic, the developers' names can be seen at start up, printed in colorful text, flying in one letter at a time from every corner. To see this, perform the following procedure:

  1. Start up QBasic by entering 'qbasic' at command prompt.
  2. Immediately hold down Left Ctrl, Left Alt, Left Shift AND Right Ctrl, Right Alt, Right Shift TOGETHER.
  3. Wait for a few seconds.

Note: This only works in "QBasic", not "QUICKBasic", and is best seen on an older, slower machine.

Microsoft Office[edit]

Word for Windows 2[edit]

In Word for Windows 2, there is a simple animation involving a WordPerfect 'Monster', a fireworks display and credits roll in the About box. The user's name (entered in Tools Options) was appended to the end of the "Thanks" section of the credits.

Office 4.3/95/97[edit]

The tip of the day would sometimes display the following fun and inspirational tips. They could also be viewed in the help file.

  • If you do your best, whatever happens will be for the best.
  • Things that go away by themselves can come back by themselves.
  • Plaid shirts and striped pants rarely make a positive fashion statement.
  • You should never dive into murky waters.
  • It's never too late to learn to play the piano.
  • You can hurt yourself if you run with scissors.
  • You should never look directly at the sun.
  • This is the last tip.

Microsoft Excel contained a hidden Doom-like mini-game called "The Hall of Tortured Souls".[8]

Office 97[edit]

The Word 97 Pinball

Office 2000[edit]

Following in the tradition of hiding a small game in Microsoft Office programs, using Microsoft Excel 2000 and the Microsoft Office Web Components, a small 3-D game called "Dev Hunter" (inspired by Spy Hunter) is accessible.[13][14] DirectX must be installed for this to work, and the egg is incompatible with certain service pack upgrades.

Comments appearing in Dev Hunter[edit]

On the roadway shown in this game, a list of sentences appears, all capitalized:

  • WE ARE SPECIAL TOO
  • YOU WILL RESPECT THE RECTANGLES
  • DONT SKIMP ON THE DATA
  • WHAT DO THESE PEOPLE DO AGAIN
  • SO YOUR NAME IS MISSPELLED WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT
  • CIRCLES ARE GOOD TOO BUT THEYRE NOT RECTANGLES
  • PIVOT PIVOT PIVOT CANT GET ENOUGH
  • MALICIOUS PIXIES
  • A CHART SAYS SO MUCH EVEN THOUGH IT DOESNT REALLY SAY ANYTHING BECAUSE IT CANT TALK
  • THANKS FOR SHARING
  • LAST BUT NOT LEAST BUT ALSO NOT COMPRESSED SPAM

Office 2004 Mac[edit]

Microsoft decided to include more Easter eggs after 2000 in the Mac version of Office 2004. The game Asteroids is included in the Microsoft Office Notifications application.[15]

Office 2013[edit]

If one sets the background to "School Supplies", a silhouette of Clippy's excited face can be seen.[16]

Windows[edit]

Windows 98 credits easter egg

An Easter egg that displays the names of all the volcanoes in the United States is found on all Microsoft Windows Operating Systems prior to XP in the "3Dtext" screensaver.[17]

Windows 3.0 has a developer credits page which may be accessed by setting the focus to the desktop (by minimizing all windows and clicking on an open area of the desktop) then typing "win30" (without the quotes) followed by, in quick succession, the F3 key and the Backspace key. This causes the developer credits to appear on the desktop in the form of the email names of the crew.

Windows 3.1 has a developer credits page, as described above.

Windows 95 has an animated presentation of the Win95 developers, complete with music.

Windows 98 has a credits screen easter egg.[18]

The pipe screensaver in Windows 95 through to ME inclusive very occasionally has the Utah teapot appear instead of a standard joint. It only appears if the pipes are "multiple", pipe-style "standard", joint-type "multiple" and texture "solid" under the screensaver's settings.[19]

Windows 2000/XP[edit]

Candy Cane texture.
Candy Cane texture

Windows 2000 and XP have an undocumented texture in the pipes (sspipes.scr) screensaver that makes the pipes red and white similar to candy canes.[20]

Windows Vista[edit]

Three images are embedded in the surface of Windows Vista's installation DVD. One of the images is the faces of the members of Microsoft's antipiracy team who worked on the hologram.[21]

Internet Explorer[edit]

By typing in "about:mozilla" in the address bar Internet Explorer will display nothing but a solid blue screen (a reference to the blue screen of death). However, this does not work as of 2010-03-16 on XP SP3 with fully updated IE7.[22] This is also a reference to The Book of Mozilla, an Easter egg accessed on the Netscape and Mozilla browsers in the same way.

Acid1 is included as an offline Easter egg, accessible by typing 'about:tasman', in Internet Explorer 5 for Mac OS with the text replaced by the names of the developers.[23]

Hover![edit]

Main article: Hover!

Hover! is a video game that came bundled with the CD version of Windows 95. It was a showcase for the advanced multimedia capabilities available on personal computers at the time. It is still available from Microsoft[24] and can be run on all of Microsoft's operating systems released since Windows 95 including Windows 8.

Pictures of everyone involved with the Hover! project are displayed along the maze walls upon completion of initialization of an introductory level.

Xbox[edit]

The Xbox contained developer credits in the dashboard. Inserting an audio CD and ripping it with the name "<<Eggsßox>>" would trigger it.[25]

Features often misunderstood to be Easter eggs[edit]

The following are not Easter eggs, but rather features unexpected by many users of Microsoft products.

Microsoft Word[edit]

Every version of Microsoft Word from 97 to 2013 (Windows) or 2004 to 2011 (Word:Mac) contains a function to create filler text: typing =rand() in a Word document and hitting Enter results in 3 paragraphs of 5 repetitions of the pangram "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog". Typing =rand(X,Y) (with numbers for X and Y) results in X paragraphs of Y repetitions of the sentence. For example, =rand(10,10) will produce ten paragraphs, each with ten repetitions. Microsoft has officially described this as a feature and not an Easter egg.[26] In Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010, the repeated sentence is replaced with a longer text:

On the Insert tab, the galleries include items that are designed to coordinate with the overall look of your document. You can use these galleries to insert tables, headers, footers, lists, cover pages, and other document building blocks. When you create pictures, charts, or diagrams, they also coordinate with your current document look.

You can easily change the formatting of selected text in the document text by choosing a look for the selected text from the Quick Styles gallery on the Home tab. You can also format text directly by using the other controls on the Home tab. Most controls offer a choice of using the look from the current theme or using a format that you specify directly.

To change the overall look of your document, choose new Theme elements on the Page Layout tab. To change the looks available in the Quick Style gallery, use the Change Current Quick Style Set command. Both the Themes gallery and the Quick Styles gallery provide reset commands so that you can always restore the look of your document to the original contained in your current template.

In Microsoft Word 2013, the text was replaced again with

Video provides a powerful way to help you prove your point. When you click Online Video, you can paste in the embed code for the video you want to add. You can also type a keyword to search online for the video that best fits your document.

To make your document look professionally produced, Word provides header, footer, cover page, and text box designs that complement each other. For example, you can add a matching cover page, header, and sidebar. Click Insert and then choose the elements you want from the different galleries.

Themes and styles also help keep your document coordinated. When you click Design and choose a new Theme, the pictures, charts, and SmartArt graphics change to match your new theme. When you apply styles, your headings change to match the new theme.

Save time in Word with new buttons that show up where you need them. To change the way a picture fits in your document, click it and a button for layout options appears next to it. When you work on a table, click where you want to add a row or a column, and then click the plus sign.

Reading is easier, too, in the new Reading view. You can collapse parts of the document and focus on the text you want. If you need to stop reading before you reach the end, Word remembers where you left off - even on another device.

When =rand(1,1) is written, only a simple sentence is shown: in English, it is "On the Insert tab, the galleries include items that are designed to coordinate with the overall look of your document."

In Word 2007, 2010, and 2013, the "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" text is available by typing the command =rand.old () and pressing enter.

Additionally, typing =lorem() gives the following text:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Maecenas porttitor congue massa. Fusce posuere, magna sed pulvinar ultricies, purus lectus malesuada libero, sit amet commodo magna eros quis urna. Nunc viverra imperdiet enim. Fusce est. Vivamus a tellus. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Proin pharetra nonummy pede. Mauris et orci.

Typing =lorem(N) will produce "N" (where N is an integer) lines of lorem ipsum text. When "N" is larger than 27, the function begins to repeat itself.

All of these features will be disabled when "Replace text as you type" is turned off.

Microsoft Excel[edit]

Since version 5, Excel has possessed a "datedif" function, which calculates the difference in whole days, months or years between two dates. Although this function is still present in Excel 2007 and 2010, it was only documented in Excel 2000.[27]

Microsoft Windows[edit]

In Microsoft Windows, it is not possible to create or rename a directory with the name con (short for "console") because it is a reserved DOS device name along with prn, aux, and nul. This has been subject to a hoax that claims Microsoft is unable to explain why.[28] This also blocks modding of many obfuscated video games, such as Minecraft, which uses the name "aux.class". It is also not possible to rename or create a file with "aux" in the title even in a batch file, thus, advanced editing tools are needed to make or rename a file or directory to aux.

"DeskBar" was feature planned by Microsoft to be introduced in Windows 98. With the help of this feature, Windows 98 users could download Desktop toolbars (Deskbars) from their favorite websites. These mini toolbars could update themselves automatically based on a predefined time interval and could provide latest information from the websites so users didn't have to visit the websites in web browsers. Microsoft did implement this feature in Windows 98 beta builds and thought that webmasters will develop such toolbars for their websites but they didn't like this idea and so Microsoft planned to remove this feature from Windows 98 RTM version. They decided to hide the tab and that's why this tab was not functional because the necessary code to connect this tab functionality with Desktop toolbars was not present in Windows 98.[29]

Windows includes a number of MIDI files for troubleshooting purposes. In Windows 3.1, CANYON.MID and PASSPORT.MID can be found in the directory <drive>:\Windows\Media, with some .WAV and .RMI files. In Windows ME and later versions, these were replaced by ONESTOP.MID, FLOURISH.MID, and TOWN.MID. These files allowed for product support technicians to diagnose problems with MIDI playback without requiring the user to go to a Web page and download a known-good MIDI file.[30]

In Windows XP, a .WMA file named title (an environmental mix by Brian Eno[citation needed]) is found under the system directory.[31] This is the background music played during the initial configuration wizard used to perform tasks such as setting up user accounts the first time that a new installation of Windows XP is used.

In versions of Windows from 95 to 8.1, a feature called Phone Dialer is available that allows one to place a call through their phone port, provided they have one on their computer. This was only documented in Windows 95-98.[32]

In the Windows 2000 and XP Pinball games, typing "hidden test" when the game is active starts test mode. In this mode, the user can drag the ball with the mouse cursor, and can press H to instantly get a high score, R to increase rank, M to display system memory, and Y to show frame rate. Typing "1max" at the start of a new ball awards an extra ball. Similarly, the user can type "gmax" to activate the gravity well, "rmax" to go up a rank, and "bmax" for unlimited balls (this last one results in an endless game, thereby precluding activation of the other cheats until the game is restarted).[citation needed]

In Windows 2000 and Windows XP, the game Minesweeper if the user starts the game, types "xyzzy", and presses shift and enter simultaneously, the top left-most pixel of the monitor (not the window) will be white or black when the mouse is hovered above a square, indicating that the square is either safe or mined, respectively.[33] (The first click anywhere in Minesweeper is never a mine. A click on a 'black' square, as first click, moves that mine away.)

Microsoft Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 "God Mode"[edit]

The so-called Windows 7 "God Mode" is commonly mistaken for an easter egg. Creating a directory that references a specific global unique identifier allows for the creation of a shortcut to a location; in the case of "God Mode" it creates a control panel applet with all control panel items view enabled.

Port 666[edit]

In Windows, port number 666 uses a service named "doom". This is a reference to the Number of the Beast. The port was originally used for the Doom 95 game, but port 666 has remained labeled "doom" since.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Larry Osterman (October 21, 2005). "Why no Easter Eggs?". Larry Osterman's WebLog. MSDN Blogs. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  2. ^ a b "Backstory on Bear and friends". From Raymond Chen's blog "The Old New Thing". Retrieved September 26, 2005. 
  3. ^ "Sophos's page about the SETDEBUG.EXE/JDBGMGR.EXE hoaxes". Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  4. ^ "How to find the Microsoft Bear in Windows 3.1". Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  5. ^ "How to find the developer credits in Windows 3.1". Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  6. ^ "Easter eggs - but not the chocolate kind". Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Wine API: krnl386.exe16". Retrieved December 12, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Excel 95 Hall of Tortured Souls". Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  9. ^ "Excel 97 Flight to Credits". Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  10. ^ "Excel 97 Flight Simulator". Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  11. ^ "Pinball in Word 97". Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  12. ^ "Magic 8 Ball in Access 97". Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  13. ^ "Excel Oddities: Easter Eggs". Retrieved August 10, 2006. 
  14. ^ "Car Game In Ms Excel". Totalchoicehosting.com. 2005-09-06. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  15. ^ http://macfixer.blogspot.com/2006/12/microsoft-office-2004-easter-egg.html
  16. ^ "Clippy is back in Office 2013! Have you found him?". Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  17. ^ "eeggs information on volcano 3dtext easter egg.". Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Windows 95/98 - Tips & Tricks: Easter Eggs". Retrieved August 10, 2006. 
  19. ^ "Teapot joins in pipes screensaver". The Easter Egg Archive. 
  20. ^ "Cool XP Easter Egg: Turn your screen saver into Candy Canes". Myexceltemplates.com. 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  21. ^ Computing World
  22. ^ Internet Explorer (February 9, 2006)
  23. ^ Internet Explorer Easter Egg - IE5 Mac Team, The Easter Egg Archive, 2000-06-19 
  24. ^ ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/deskapps/games/public/AAS/Hover.exe
  25. ^ eeggs.com (2001-11-21). "Xbox Easter Egg - Hidden Thanks". Eeggs.com. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  26. ^ WD98: How to Insert Sample Text into a Document
  27. ^ DATEDIF Function
  28. ^ "Cannot Create Windows Folder Named Con". Hoax-slayer.com. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  29. ^ "Hidden Secret "DeskBar Options" Tab in Windows 98 Taskbar Properties". AskVG. 2013-10-17. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  30. ^ "What's the story of the onestop.mid file in the Media directory?". MSDN. 2013-02-12. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  31. ^ Located in <drive>:\WINDOWS\system32\oobe\images. The given name is Windows Welcome music by Microsoft.
  32. ^ Accessible by typing "dialer" in Run. (C:\Windows\System32\dialer.exe)
  33. ^ "Minesweeper Cheats, Codes, and Secrets for PC". GameFAQs. 1992-04-06. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 

References[edit]