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Looking back at Windows Screen Saver Easter Eggs

Windows developers hid a lot of Easter Eggs in Screen Savers.
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By Greg Shultz on
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1 of 25 Greg Shultz/ZDNet

In addition to hiding Easter Eggs in odd places in the operating system, Windows developers hid a lot of Easter Eggs in plain sight, so to speak. Of course I’m referring to the Screen Saver Easter Eggs.

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In Windows 95 OSR2 and Windows NT, the developers hid the names of 17 of the most notable volcanoes in the Northwest part of the United States in the 3D Text screen saver.
To see this Easter Egg, you begin by accessing the Screen Saver tab in the Display Properties dialog box. You then select the 3D Text from the Screen Saver drop down list and then click the Settings button. When you see the 3D Text Setup dialog box, you simply have to type Volcano in the Text box. You can change any of the other settings as you wish.
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Once the screen saver activates, you'll see the names of each of the volcanoes. Here is St. Helens.

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Here is Ranier.

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Here is Hood.

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In Windows NT 3.51, the developers hid their names in the 3D Text screen saver Easter Egg.
To see this Easter Egg, you begin by accessing the Control Panel in Program Manager’s Main group. You then double click on the Desktop icon in Control Panel. You then select the 3D Text from the Screen Saver drop down list and then click the Setup button. When you see the 3D Text Setup dialog box, you type I Love NT in the Text box. You can change any of the other settings as you wish.
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I’m not sure how many developers’ names appeared in this Easter Egg.

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I let the screen saver run for quite some time and different names just kept on flying across the screen in a random order.

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The names appeared on the screen long enough for you to read each one.

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In addition to listing their own names in the 3D Text screen saver Easter Egg, the Windows NT 3.51 developers decided to create a Rock/Music version.
To see this Easter Egg, you type Rock or Music in the Text box in the 3D Text Setup dialog box.
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You can almost imagine an e-mail going out to all the developers asking them to send in the name of their favorite rock bands.

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I’m not sure how many rock bands’ names appeared in this Easter Egg, but the screen saver just kept on pumping out names of bands—some that weren’t familiar and some that were very recognizable.

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More often than not, if the band’s name included a color, the text would appear in that color.

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14 of 25 Greg Shultz/ZDNet
As you can imagine, beer would find its way into many of the Windows NT 3.51 developers’ off duty activities. With that in mind, it not hard to see how beer would find its way into a screen saver Easter Egg.
To see this Easter Egg, you type Beer in the Text box in the 3D Text Setup dialog box.
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Chances are that the same e-mail that asked the developers to submit the name of their favorite rock band also asked them to submit the name of their favorite beer.

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When this screen saver is running, a bewildering array of beer names float over the screen. I counted close to 100 different beers before I lost track.

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Ahh, my favorite!

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In Windows NT 4.0, the developers also hid their names in the 3D Text screen saver Easter Egg.
To see this Easter Egg, you begin by accessing the Screen Saver tab in the Display Properties dialog box. You then select the 3D Text from the Screen Saver drop down list and then click the Settings button. When you see the 3D Text Setup dialog box, you type not evil in the Text box. You can change any of the other settings as you wish.
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Like the NT 3.51 screen saver Easter Egg, the NT 4.0 version contained literally hundreds of names.

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Unlike the previous credit screen Easter Eggs, the screen saver versions must have been extremely rewarding in that each member of the team got to have an individual spotlight.

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Of course, the names are easier to read if you disabled the Spin Style effect.

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By the time Windows 2000 was released, the only screen saver Easter Egg in the operating system was hidden in the 3D Pipes screen saver and was called simply Teapots.
To see this Easter Egg, you begin by accessing the Screen Saver tab in the Display Properties dialog box. You then select the 3D Pipes from the Screen Saver drop down list and then click the Settings button. When you see the 3D Pipes Setup dialog box, you select the Multiple option in the Pipes panel, the Traditional option in the Pipe Style panel, and Mixed in the Joint Type drop down list. You should also set the Resolution slider to the Max position. While you can use the Textured option in the Surface Style panel, the Solid option makes it easier to spot the teapots.
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Once the screen saver activates, you just have to sit back and watch it. At random times and places, you’ll see a teapot appear as a pipe joint. Here you can see a single teapot.

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While one teapot per image is the most typical rendition, occasionally, you’ll see more than one. Here I captured an image of two teapot joints.

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25 of 25 Greg Shultz/ZDNet
The longer the 3D Pipes screen saver runs, the more frequent and the larger the number of teapot joints appear. In this screen shot that I found via Google Image Search, a very large number of teapots appear at one time. I suppose that this image could be tricked out via an image editing program; however, it could be real.
Regardless of the possible forgery, see how many teapots you can find in this image and post your results in the discussion area. Happy hunting!

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