Microsoft's MS-DOS and Word source code is filled with Easter eggs

Earlier this week, Microsoft released the source code to MS DOS 1.1 and 2.0 and Word for Windows 1.1a. As you might expect, the event has caused some people to go into the code to see what Easter eggs might be found. As it turns out, there were plenty of hidden messages inside the code.

Leon Zandman, a software programmer based in the Netherlands, went through the code for all of the programs Microsoft released this week and posted what he discovered on his Twitter account, Some of what he found are NSFW but a few are pretty funny; he later collected all of what he dug up on a Storify page.

Another Easter egg makes fun of a person who uses another product:

 

Yet another message has the programming apparently bragging about their own abilities:

Finally, there this bit of code from MS DOS 2.0 that shows one word being used over and over again:

Source: Leon Zandman on Twitter and Storify | Images via Leon Zandman

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52 Comments

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I once actually had a conversation with myself in comments

/*
1: I need to break this for
2: There is no need to do it
3: The reason is because variable a and variable j might disturb each other
4: oh ok, work on the function that fixes that glitch
5: not now but to do
*/

:laugh: Good days...

naap51stang said,
Gee...wonder why MS OS's crash?

Probably has nothing to do with comments... considered they are removed when assembled/compiled.
And probably nothing to do with this code, considering they abandoned that codebase a long time ago.

The code was written in assembly... comments like this are the only way to keep assembly programmers somewhat sane.

Erm don't wanna sound nurdy but its already been pointed out when the code is compiled the comments are stripped anyway leaving just the code.

An easteregg is something in the programme. Once compiled its no longer in it.

There is an easteregg in the comments in uncompiled code i guess, but at that point it's not really a program just code. So this is not an easteregg in MS-DOS and i dont think within code not the actually program means its an easteregg.

I wrote a script to netuse a printer and then open a related program for a client and put "Copyright Jesus 0AD" in it.

Same thing, right?

This means that perhaps someday someone might find all the snarky comments I added to the codebases I work on. Search for "this is stupid" or "why the hell" in the code for the current project I am on, and you will find plenty of deplorable/amusing code I've found our offshore devs write.

Come to think about it, the company where I work at lacks code review. Maybe I should start putting those kind of comments into our code. It's not like anyone would notice :)

An easter egg is something left in the code that the end user can find, comments are removed by the compiler. If this code wasn't released we wouldn't ever be able to find the comments are they wouldn't be there.

Brony said,
Was Word programmed in ASM?. :-/

Back then, absolutely yes.

Remember this was at a time in computing history when portable C was fairly 'heavy' in comparison.

Word 1.1 ran well on 80286 machines with 2mb of RAM, which is mind numbing compared to computing today.


Mobius Enigma said,

Back then, absolutely yes.

Remember this was at a time in computing history when portable C was fairly 'heavy' in comparison.

Word 1.1 ran well on 80286 machines with 2mb of RAM, which is mind numbing compared to computing today.


But a very expensive machine at the time.... :-)

I wonder how much smaller Microsofts programs would be when there are no easter eggs in... I can imagen the Windows NT code being full of this.

Considering comments aren't easter eggs and aren't compiled into final code then the programs will be exactly the same size....

Again, they're not easter eggs, but in any case, comments aren't compiled into the final executable/dll. So while it increases the size of the source code as text, the compiled assembly is no different size wise.

Also the Windows NT / 9x code was amazingly small compared to todays standards. If I recall Windows 95 would fit inside 50MB and Windows 3.11 came in under 20MB.

Tomo said,
Considering comments aren't easter eggs and aren't compiled into final code then the programs will be exactly the same size....
I mean uncompiled.

Studio384 said,
I wonder how much smaller Microsofts programs would be when there are no easter eggs in... I can imagen the Windows NT code being full of this.

The last OS update I downloaded for my MP3 player was 1.19GB. Imagine how much smaller it would be if they used no comments and removed all their Easter eggs. It would be 1.18GB!

Uncomplied can be as big as they want, it's the compiled size that matters. We very rarely get to see the source code.

My favourite comment I've seen in someone else's code was in one of the states in a finite state machine, which simply stated "God help us if we ever get in here".

Chris Rollason said,
My favourite comment I've seen in someone else's code was in one of the states in a finite state machine, which simply stated "Rudy help us if we ever get in here".

FIFY

Studio384 said,
Yes, yes they are.

Yes, they are only if are part of the end product. Other that (like this case), they aren't.

I would only consider easter eggs as messages / functionality that the end user can access. Otherwise...

are all comments easter eggs then?
or only comments that are funny?
who decides whether a comment is funny or not?

Now that we have the source code, we can track down where they explicitly stopped Novel software from working, used DOS to illegally hamper their competition, wrote Word only using hidden and private APIs, and generally released evil upon the world.

We should be seeing proof of this any minute now. Any minute, right?

It is Microsoft, they were an evil corporation from day one, determined to ruin the computer industry and seize complete control of it.

(Your sarcasm detector may need adjusting)

scumdogmillionaire said,
I would amend to that "... that can be discovered by the end user."

I would just consider these just inside jokes (easter eggs) meant for the developers.

An easter egg is defined as a hidden message or program. Doesnt say who needs to find them. And technically, the people digging thru the source code are users so its still fits.

The only people who knew they were there are the devs working on the software. They were unknown, or hidden, to the rest of the public.

And why would devs need words/comments like the F word, and the other jokes for documentation purposes?

Then I guess it depends on your definition of easter egg....but whatever. All site from doing a search on this topic list them as easter eggs.

scumdogmillionaire said,
My source is full of profanity loaded comments. Happens out of frustration.

uncensored pics or it didn't happen. haha

If you cannot actually start up word and find these hidden messages and features within the program, it is not an easter egg. These are nothing more than code comments that didn't have any impact on the product and don't have meaning except to the developer, because the actual program didn't have them hidden away or displayable. Lol.

timster said,

uncensored pics or it didn't happen. haha


Haha mine too, and variables... Especially on embedded devices, I usually name everything bob or a swear word if it doesn't work then rename them later if it works...

They are just comments in the source code. Will have been there since the code was last worked on which was many, many years ago.