The news cycle is bleak. Easter eggs are fun. And maybe it’s the nostalgia speaking (and the recent anniversary), but Windows 95 still reigns supreme in my memory as the best operating system of all time. It’s for these three very scientific reasons that the reveal of a long-hidden Windows 95 easter egg temporarily cured my 2020-induced depression.
The Easter Egg was revealed on Living Computers: Museum + Labs’ YouTube Channel (via BoingBoing) to celebrate Microsoft’s 45th anniversary. In the video, Windows 95 developer Jeff Parsons reveals how to find a secret credits sequence.
“Windows 95 was packed with new features thanks to over three years of work by literally hundreds of people,” Parsons says in the video. “But who were all those people?” Turns out to access the hidden credits, you’d have to make use of one of the new features introduced with Windows 95: Long file names.
To trigger the easter egg, you have to create a new folder and then initially name it “and now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for”. Once that’s done, you have to rename the folder “we proudly present for your viewing pleasure”. After that, you again have to rename the folder, “The Microsoft Windows 95 Product Team!” Then, a user can click on the folder to view the credits.
The credits sequence itself isn’t like the ones you’d see at the end of a movie. Oh no, it’s replete with Windows 95 glory. On top of an excellent MIDI soundtrack (CLOUDS.MID by Brian Orr), the names whiz past in a horizontal marquee animation atop of very WordArt-y background. There are some recognizable names in there, including the likes of Bill Gates and Brad Silverberg (and Parsons is in there too). Though simple, the sequence is quite long at around 12 minutes but watching all of it is sort of like stepping into a time warp back to the mid-90s, when tech was still fun and less of an all-consuming nightmare hellscape.
Given the three fairly long and specific “passcodes” you’d have to enter, it’s unlikely most folks outside the product team ever knew this easter egg existed. It’s also not the only retro Windows easter egg. The Windows 3.1 development team also hid a secret credits section that could be accessed by holding down Ctrl+Alt+Shift in the About section of the Program manager. But perhaps a more fitting easter egg for 2020 was hidden in Microsoft Office 95's version of Excel called the Hall of Tortured Souls. It’s a credit sequence that looks exactly like what it sounds like. However, as this blogger has a severe case of the brain worms, I’ll take the wholesome MIDI credits, thank you very much.