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software easter eggsThank God those software developers have a sense of humor too. Though, they have their own arcane ways to express it. One such expression is through ‘Easter eggs’.

In the virtual world, it’s not chocolate and egg-whites, but little lines of code inserted into the main programs that show up through a combination of key strokes or commands. Often it is a prank or just a bit of playful ego on the part of the programmer that ‘hatches the egg’ but for us common folks the discovery is unexpected fun.

So here’s a look at the basket of some popular software Easter eggs found in some common Windows applications”¦

    1. Solitaire made easy (only in XP)

If you are finding it difficult to win in Solitaire, just press Alt + Shift + 2. Presto! The game ends and you win.

    1. Foul play at FreeCell (only in XP)

Start a new FreeCell game. Hold down Ctrl + Shift + F10 during play. A dialog box appears asking you to Abort, Retry or Ignore. Select Abort and then move any card anywhere to win the game.

    1. Window speaks proper (only in XP)

Go to Control Panel, open up the Speech properties applet and in the Preview field type ‘Crotch’ (without the quote). The voice preview says “Crow’s nest” instead.

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firefox easter eggs

    1. Windows Welcome Music (only in XP)

An ambient music track you might not have heard before. Navigate to C:WindowsSystem32. We are looking for a folder named ‘oobe’. This folder has a subfolder named ‘images’. In ‘images’ click on the sound file called ‘title.wma’ to hear the soothing track – Windows welcome music.

    1. Firefox’s comeback

This was supposedly a rejoinder to the Internet Explorer 5’s own joke that the Mozilla browser caused system crashes. To see Firefox’s reply type “˜about:Mozilla’ (without the quotes) in the address bar and hit it.

mozilla easter eggs

    1. Firefox and the kitchen sink

In the address bar type in “˜about kitchensink‘ (without the quote but with a space). Look at the interesting graphic that opens up.

    1. Running Firefox within another Firefox

There doesn’t seem to be any apparent use for this but if you type in chrome://browser/content/browser.xul in the address bar, it will open up another Firefox instance but within the first browser.

    1. Chrome Pipes

Open the Chrome browser and type in about:internets in the address bar. The background turns black and the old pipes ‘Microsoft’ screensaver plays out on the screen.

chrome pipe plumbing

    1. Tetris in uTorrent

Go to the uTorrent menu and click on Help – About. Tap “˜T’ on the keyboard and play a game of Tetris using the arrow keys on the keyboard.

utorrent tetris

    1. Overload game with FeedDemon

Enter FeedDemon Easter Egg in the web search address bar on the right hand side and hit enter. Play the funky information overload game with the arrow keys.

These are just 10 of the multitude of Easter eggs found in software and applications. There are dedicated sites which collate Easter eggs in wide ranging applications. Some of them deserve a mention.

Egg Heaven

A comprehensive site which lists Easter eggs in different categories and also has a section called Curios which mentions tricks and other program quirks.

Eeggs

Another widely inclusive site which has category listings such as DVD Easter Eggs, Software, Movies, Music, TV, Books and Art.

Mac OS Easter Eggs

Mac Users can try out the listings available here.

SoftwareTipsAndTricks

Another good list site with a section on Easter eggs.

Gamespot

The gaming site includes information about some of the greatest Easter eggs in gaming.

In listing just ten, I have deliberately missed out a lot more. Do you have a favorite Easter Egg of your own? Let us know”¦perhaps it deserves a mention.

Photo Credit : Don Solo

  1. Diabolic Preacher
    July 12, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Good to see there're still stuff to explore in my XP box. Although, I found out some easter eggs you need to give out more specific info like the crow's nest only works with the Microsoft Sam voice not the LH Michael and LH Michelle voice.

    about:kitchensink isn't working in 3.5 firefox but the browser in a tab is, and its cool but ironic, since RAM usage isn't one of the comfortable talkin points of firefox.

    Interesting finds.

  2. Jonn
    April 13, 2009 at 3:33 am

    I knew about tetris but the about kitchensink thing was cool.

  3. KMB
    February 16, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    I love number 7. It means that I can have any webpage open and it only says Mozilla Firefox on the tab if I should be doing something else ;)

  4. {HACKS} Daily
    February 14, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Nice list...will try out Tetris

  5. PeterdoGood
    February 14, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Nice list! I loved the racing game in the old version of Excel. The number of easter eggs seems to be going down in newer versions of Windows.

    • Saikat Basu
      February 14, 2009 at 12:00 pm

      Yes, I read somewhere that Microsoft wants its developers to work on 'actual' code and not introduce 'useless' codes which go into Easter eggs. A good idea considering that MS developers should really worry more about plugging the loopholes in the OS'es :)

  6. Abdullah Cetin CAVDAR
    February 14, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Excellent eggs. :D

    The FF users can try "about:robots" (without quotes) to see the robot's message for humans. :D

  7. Asmodeus
    February 14, 2009 at 12:06 am

    "about kitchensink" just google searches "about kitchensink". what is it supposed to be?

  8. phaoloo
    February 13, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Cool Easter Eggs, I really like Chrome Pipes, it looks like a screen saver in Windows 95 or 98 which I've not seen for a long time.

    • Saikat
      February 14, 2009 at 9:28 pm

      Exactly...Excel97 had a flight simulator...Google Earth has a similar nice one. You can check it out here

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