Easter eggs in Microsoft products: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

Drawing of the Bear was the icon for some Windows system files

The Microsoft Bear is one famous mascot of the Windows 3.1 (and later Windows 95) team. 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.[2] 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
    Microsoft Bear appearance in an easter egg
    in two distinct easter eggs in Windows 3.1. The first one[3] was the reference to a fictitious file named BEAR.EXE, and in the other one[4] 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

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.

In the case of the 32-bit Bunny, knowledge of it was actually somewhat useful to end-users.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

Just like the Bear, the Bunny has an exported function named after him. This time, it's BUNNY_351 in krnl386.exe.

Microsoft Office


Word for Windows 2

In Word for Windows 2, there is a simple animation involving a WordPerfect 'Monster', a fireworks display and credits roll in the About box. Although simple animation, it was taxing for hardware of the day, and no timing loops were included in the code. As a result, the firework display is too quick to see properly on a 486 or higher machine.[citation needed]

Office 6.0/95

The tip of the day sometimes would 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".[5]

Office 97

The Word 97 Pinball.

Office 2000

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.[10] DirectX must be installed for this to work, and the egg is incompatible with certain service pack upgrades.

Roadway comments

Note: These sentences are all capitalized in the game.


Office 2004 Mac

Apparently 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.[11]


Minesweeper included an easter egg that, when enabled, changed the top left pixel of the display when the left mouse button was selected over a hidden mine. This was present in Windows 95 and NT4, but removed in Windows 98 and ME. Windows 2000 contained the easter egg enabled version.


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.[citation needed]

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.[12]

Windows Me

Windows Me had a Teapot pipe screensaver.

Windows XP

Windows XP had a candy cane pipe screensaver.[citation needed]

Windows Vista

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.[13]

Internet Explorer

The Easter egg hidden in Microsoft Internet Explorer can only be displayed in Internet Explorer 4; however, the relevant HTML code has been present in all the subsequent versions as well, up to and including Internet Explorer 7, even though Microsoft "officially" claimed there are no Easter eggs in IE 7. By typing in "about:mozilla" in the URL bar Internet Explorer will display nothing but a solid blue screen (a reference to the blue screen of death)Note does not work as of 3-16-2010 on xp sp3 with fully updated ie7 "this note not added by author".[14]

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.[15]


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[16] and can be run on all of Microsoft's operating systems released since Windows 95 including Windows 7.

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

Features often misunderstood to be Easter eggs

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

Microsoft Word

Every version of Microsoft Word from 97 to 2003 (Windows) or 2004 to 2008 (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.[17] In Microsoft Word 2007, 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.

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."

Furthermore, the addition of numbers in the form =rand(X,Y) display different tips according to the (x,y) combination. Example for this =rand(10,1800) will produce 370,000 words on 509 pages (using the default formatting).

Microsoft Excel

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, it was only documented in Excel 2000.[18]

Microsoft Windows

In Microsoft Windows it is not possible to create or rename a folder called con because it is 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.[19]

The DeskBar is a hidden feature of Windows 98 Second Edition, probably because there was not enough time to finish it before the release.[20]

In Windows XP, a .wma file named title (an enviromental mix by Brian Eno) is found under the system directory. 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.

Microsoft Windows 7 "God Mode"

The so-called Windows 7 "God Mode" is commonly mistaken for an easter egg. Creating a folder with a specific name produces a location that allows modification of system settings. However these settings are already accessible in the control panel, and no new settings are discovered by this technique.

See also


  1. ^ Larry Osterman (October 21, 2005). "Why no Easter Eggs?". Larry Osterman's WebLog. MSDN Blogs. http://blogs.msdn.com/larryosterman/archive/2005/10/21/483608.aspx. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  2. ^ "Sophos's page about the SETDEBUG.EXE/JDBGMGR.EXE hoaxes". http://www.sophos.com/security/hoaxes/jdbgmgr.html. Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  3. ^ "How to find the Microsoft Bear in Windows 3.1". http://www.eeggs.com/items/19127.html. Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  4. ^ "How to find the developer credits in Windows 3.1". http://www.eeggs.com/items/469.html. Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  5. ^ "Excel 95 Hall of Tortured Souls". http://eeggs.com/items/719.html. Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  6. ^ "Excel 97 Flight to Credits". http://eeggs.com/items/718.html. Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  7. ^ "Excel 97 Flight Simulator". http://eeggs.com/items/29841.html. Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  8. ^ "Pinball in Word 97". http://eeggs.com/items/763.html. Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  9. ^ "Magic 8 Ball in Access 97". http://www.eeggs.com/items/708.html. Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  10. ^ "Excel Oddities: Easter Eggs". http://j-walk.com/ss/excel/eastereg.htm. Retrieved August 10, 2006. 
  11. ^ http://macfixer.blogspot.com/2006/12/microsoft-office-2004-easter-egg.html
  12. ^ "Windows 95/98 - Tips & Tricks: Easter Eggs". http://www.activewin.com/tips/eeggs/win_98.shtml. Retrieved August 10, 2006. 
  13. ^ Computing World
  14. ^ Internet Explorer (February 9, 2006)
  15. ^ Internet Explorer Easter Egg - IE5 Mac Team, The Easter Egg Archive, 2000-06-19, http://www.eeggs.com/items/14448.html 
  16. ^ ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/deskapps/games/public/AAS/Hover.exe
  17. ^ WD98: How to Insert Sample Text into a Document
  18. ^ DATEDIF Function
  19. ^ http://www.hoax-slayer.com/con-folder-name.shtml
  20. ^ "Reveal hidden deskbar". http://www.cybertechhelp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=190252. Retrieved 14 December 2008. 



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