The Musical Easter Egg Hidden in Windows 95
by James Hunt
Developing software is difficult and often thankless work, so it's hardly a surprise that many developers take it upon themselves to have a little fun by inserting Easter eggs—or unofficial messages and content—into software. The first example dates back to 1979, when software programmer Warren Robinett snuck a secret code into the Atari 2600 game Adventure that revealed his name, sneakily circumventing Atari's policy of not crediting its developers.
Since then, Easter eggs have become relatively common in large software packages, particularly Microsoft Windows. And maybe the greatest Easter egg of them all was "Clouds," the secret Windows 95 theme song which was accessed in an near-impossible-to-discover way.
To access the "Clouds," simply load any version of Windows 95 (we suspect that's easier said than done in 2015) and perform the following actions:
1. Right click on the Desktop and select "New..." then "Folder."
2. Name the folder "and now, the moment you've all been waiting for" then press Enter.
3. Rename the folder to "we proudly present for your viewing pleasure" then press Enter.
4. Rename the folder one last time to "The Microsoft Windows 95 Product Team!" and press Enter again. Then open the folder.
5. Instead of the empty folder contents, you'll see the Windows 95 product team credits animation with the secret Windows theme tune—a piano-based ditty—playing over the top.
The music for the animation was written by Brian Orr, an intern on the Windows 95 team who was instructed to create music that would evoke images of "floating" and "peace" (to remain on-brand with Windows 95's marketing) and to make sure it retained these qualities on even the most standard sound cards of the day.
The result is surprisingly catchy, especially given the technical limitations—making it a shame that so few people ever got to hear it when you consider how many people used Windows 95 and that it was hidden on every PC on which the OS was ever installed.
If you don't have access to Windows 95 right now, you can view the entire process—and hear "Clouds"—in the video below.
If you enjoyed that, why not visit composer Brian Orr's SoundCloud page for more behind-the-scenes details.