Easter eggs in Microsoft products

Easter eggs in Microsoft products

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

Microsoft Bear appearance in an easter egg

The Microsoft Bear is a 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 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.

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

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. The user's name (entered in Tools Options) was appended to the end of the "Thanks" section of the credits.

Office 4.3/95

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".[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

Please Take Note: These sentences are all capitalized in the game.


Excel 2000

A car-driving game can be found in Ms Excel 2000 by following these steps:

  1. Open Excel 2000.
  2. Go to File, Save as Web Page.
  3. Then click Publish.
  4. Check the checkbox that says "Add Interactivity With".
  5. Click Publish.
  6. Close Excel.
  7. Open IE.
  8. Click File, Open, Browse.
  9. Go to where you saved it and click open.
  10. Now you should be looking at a spreadsheet.
  11. Go to all the way to row 2000.
  12. Click column A and drag all the way to column ZZ.
  13. Hit Tab and it should take you back to A.
  14. Hold Tab all the way to column WC. (Press shift Tab in case you move back).
  15. When you get there make sure WC is a white box and all the others are blue or green..
  16. Hold Ctrl+alt+shift and left click on the "four puzzle pieces" logo (The MS Excel Logo) on the upper left hand corner.



  • Arrow keys: to steer and accelerate
  • Space bar: To fire at other cars
  • O: To drop oil slicks
  • H: To turn on/off your headlights (toggle switch).

Outlook 2010

The default picture for new contacts is a silhouette of Bill Gates.[12]

Office 2004 Mac

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.[13]


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.[14]

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.[15]

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.[16]

Windows 2000/XP

Candy Cane texture.
Candy Cane texture

Windows 2000 and XP have an undocumented texture in the pipes (sspipes.scr) screensaver makes the pipes red and white similar to candy canes.[17]

Windows XP contains three MIDI files in the WINDOWS Media directory: Town, Flourish and Onestop. These audio files are also present in Windows Vista and 7.

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 (through SP2), the game Minesweeper contains multiple easter eggs. If you start the game, type "xyzzy", and then press 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.[18] (The first click anywhere in Minesweeper is never a mine. A click on a 'black' square, as first click, moves that mine away). Also, if the high scores of all three game sizes are credited to the name "WRAPFIELD", the number in each cell that counts the adjacent mines will treat the board as wrapping around the edges; i.e., cells along an edge will be counted as adjacent to the opposite edge. These easter eggs were removed in Windows XP Service Pack 3.

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.[19]

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 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.[20]

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.[21]


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[22] 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 by many users of Microsoft products.

Microsoft Word

Every version of Microsoft Word from 97 to 2010 (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.[23] 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."

In Word 2007, 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.

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

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 and 2010, it was only documented in Excel 2000.[24]

Microsoft Windows

In Microsoft Windows, it is not possible to create or rename a folder called 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.[25]

The DeskBar is a hidden feature of Windows 98 Second Edition, probably because there was not enough time to finish it before the release.[26]

In Windows XP, a .wma file named title (an environmental 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 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.


  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://www.totalchoicehosting.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=22511
  12. ^ March 2011 "Is that Bill Gates staring back at you from Outlook 2010?". http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2010/09/bill-gates-staring-back-at-you-from-outlook-2010.ars March 2011. 
  13. ^ http://macfixer.blogspot.com/2006/12/microsoft-office-2004-easter-egg.html
  14. ^ "eeggs information on volcano 3dtext easter egg.". http://www.eeggs.com/items/5351.html. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Windows 95/98 - Tips & Tricks: Easter Eggs". http://www.activewin.com/tips/eeggs/win_98.shtml. Retrieved August 10, 2006. 
  16. ^ "Teapot joins in pipes screensaver". The Easter Egg Archive. http://www.eeggs.com/items/2422.html. 
  17. ^ http://www.myexceltemplates.com/xp-easter-egg-screensaver
  18. ^ http://www.gamefaqs.com/pc/562694-minesweeper/cheats
  19. ^ Computing World
  20. ^ Internet Explorer (February 9, 2006)
  21. ^ Internet Explorer Easter Egg - IE5 Mac Team, The Easter Egg Archive, 2000-06-19, http://www.eeggs.com/items/14448.html 
  22. ^ ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/deskapps/games/public/AAS/Hover.exe
  23. ^ WD98: How to Insert Sample Text into a Document
  24. ^ DATEDIF Function
  25. ^ http://www.hoax-slayer.com/con-folder-name.shtml
  26. ^ "Reveal hidden deskbar". http://www.cybertechhelp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=190252. Retrieved 14 December 2008. 


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