XP Secrets - Secrets Hidden in Windows XP



XP Secrets Easter Eggs (Definition) - A hidden message or feature in an application. This guide covers unknown features in Windows XP.



Notes - This is not a performance related guide, use the Optimize XP Guide to improve system performance and the Diagnose XP Guide to troubleshoot a system problem. Technically, Windows XP does not include any easter eggs - "to supply certain government agencies with software, Microsoft can't include undocumented features, including Easter eggs". - WindowsITPro - Microsoft

Advisory Windows XP is still supported by Microsoft through April 8, 2014.

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Application Secrets

Defrag Defrag

Secret - Hidden Command Line Switch

Instructions - Go to "Start", "Run" and Type defrag c: -b to defragment the Boot and Application Prefetch information.

Notes - Windows XP will run this automatically every three days or so, during system idle periods. BootVis will evoke this when you run the "Optimize System" function. There is no need to manually run this unless you wish to immediately optimize a newly installed application's load time.


IExpress IExpress

Secret - Hidden Install Creator

Instructions - Go to Start, Run, type iexpress - Source

Notes - IExpress is a technology designed to simplify creation of a setup program. Using the step-by-step IExpress Wizard, you can create self-extracting files that automatically run the setup program contained inside. The setup program can be an .inf file or an executable program. IExpress technology automatically removes the setup files after installation, saving the user time and frustration.


Edit.com MS-DOS Editor

Secret - Hidden Text Editor

Instructions - Go to Start, Run, type edit - Source

Notes - Windows XP comes with another text editor besides Notepad - it's called the MS-DOS Editor, and it's commonly referred to simply as Edit. It has features similar to Notepad, as well as additional features such as the ability to work with multiple text files and change the background and text colors.


Conf Netmeeting

Secret - Hidden Internet Conference Application

Instructions - Go to Start, Run, type conf - Source

Notes - Windows XP is the last version of Microsoft Windows to include NetMeeting. NetMeeting delivers a complete Internet conferencing solution for all Windows users with multi-point data conferencing, text chat, whiteboard, and file transfer, as well as point-to-point audio and video.


Notepad Notepad

Secret - Create a Log File

Instructions - Launch Notepad, Type .LOG on the first line, and then press Enter to move to the next line. On the File menu, click Save As, type a descriptive name for your file in the File name box, and then click OK. When you next open the file, note that the date and time have been appended to the end of the log, immediately preceding the place where new text can be added. You can use this functionality to automatically add the current date and time to each log entry. - Source


Paint Paint

Secret - Image Trails

Instructions - Open an image and hold down Shift then drag the image around to create an image trail.

Secret - 10x Zoom

Instructions - Open an image and select the magnifying glass icon. Left-Click exactly on the line below the 8x.


Eudcedit Private Character Editor

Secret - Hidden Font Editor

Instructions - Go to Start, Run, type eudcedit - Source

Notes - You can use Private Character Editor to create unique letters and logos for your font library.


WinChat Windows Chat

Secret - Hidden Windows Chat Program

Instructions - Go to Start, Run, type winchat - Source

Notes - You can use Windows Chat on your computer to communicate with someone on another computer. Both computers must be connected to the same network (for example, a local area network [LAN] or the Internet). Also, each computer must be running a similar protocol, such as TCP/IP.


mplay32 Windows Media Player 5.1

Secret - Hidden Windows Media Player

Instructions - Go to Start, Run, type mplay32


mplayer2 Windows Media Player 6.4

Secret - Hidden Windows Media Player

Instructions - Go to Start, Run, type mplayer2 - Source

Notes - Windows Media Player 6.4 (Classic) is installed along with Windows Media Player 7. The only update is that it now supports the latest codecs.

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Game Secrets

FreeCell FreeCell

Secret - Instant Win

Instructions - Hold down Ctrl + Shift + F10 during game play. Then you will be asked if you want to Abort, Retry or Ignore. Choose Abort, then move any card to instantly win.

Secret - Hidden Game Modes
Instructions - In the "Game" menu choose "Select Game". Enter -1 or -2 to activate the hidden game modes.


Hearts Hearts

Secret - Show All Cards

Instructions - Go to Start, Run, Type: 'Regedit', OK. Edit this registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets\Hearts

Right click on the Hearts folder, select New, String Value and name it ZB. Right-click on ZB, select Modify and enter a Value Data of 42, OK and close Regedit. Start Hearts (not Internet Hearts). Once in a game Press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + F12 to show all the cards.

Background - This secret is a reference to Douglas Adams' book the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. 'ZB' is the initials of the character Zaphod Beeblebrox, the Galactic President. '42' is the answer to The Ultimate Question Of Life, the Universe and Everything.


Minesweeper Minesweeper

Secret - Reveal Mines

Instructions - Minimize or close all running applications. Launch Minesweeper, then type xyzzy. Next hold down either shift key for one second. Now when you move the mouse cursor over a Minesweeper square you will see a tiny white pixel in the top left corner of your desktop screen. This pixel will change to black when your mouse moves over a mine. You may need to change you desktop background to a solid color other than white or black to see the pixel.

Secret - Stop Timer

Instructions - Launch Minesweeper and start a game so the timer starts counting, then press the Windows Key + D to show the desktop. Now when you select minesweeper from the taskbar you can continue playing with the timer stopped.


Pinball Pinball

Secret - Extra Balls

Instructions - Type 1max at the start of a new ball to get extra balls.

Secret - Gravity Well

Instructions - Type gmax at the start of a new game to activate the Gravity Well.

Secret - Instant Promotion

Instructions - Type rmax at the start of a new game to go up in ranks.

Secret - Skill Shot

Instructions - Launch the ball partially up the chute past the third yellow light bar so it falls back down to get 75,000 points. There are six yellow light bars that are worth a varying amount of points:

First: 15,000 points
Second: 30,000 points
Third: 75,000 points
Fourth: 30,000 points
Fifth: 15,000 points
Sixth: 7,500 points

Secret - Test Mode

Instructions - Type hidden test at the start of a new ball to activate Test Mode. No notification will be given that this is activated but you can now left-click the mouse button and drag the ball around. While in test mode press the following keys for more secrets:

H - Get a 1,000,000,000 High Score
M - Shows the amount of system memory
R - Increases your rank in game
Y - Shows the Frames/sec rate

Secret - Unlimited Balls

Instructions - Type bmax at the start of a new ball. No notification will be given that this is activated but when a ball is lost a new ball will appear from the yellow wormhole indefinitely. Once this is activated you will be unable to activate other secrets without restarting the game.


Solitaire Solitaire

Secret - Instant Win

Instructions - Press Alt + Shift + 2 during game play to instantly win.

Secret - Draw single cards in a Draw Three game

Instructions - Hold down CTRL + ALT + SHIFT while drawing a new card. Instead of drawing three cards you will only draw one.

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OS Secrets

Add/Remove Add/Remove

Secret - Hidden Uninstall Options

Instructions - Warning: Proceed at your own risk! Browse to C:\Windows\inf\ and make a backup copy of sysoc.inf. Then open the original file C:\Windows\inf\sysoc.inf in notepad. Go to "Edit" and select "Replace". In "Find what:" type ,hide and in "Replace with:" type , then select "Replace All", save and close the file. Go to the "Control Panel", "Add/Remove", select "Add/Remove Windows Components". You will now see many more Windows components to uninstall. Do not remove anything with no label or that you do not recognize or fully understand what it does. Doing so can break certain functionality in Windows.


Control Panel Control Panel

Secret - Hidden Control Panel Extensions

Instructions - Download and install TweakUI, launch, go to "Control Panel" and check any item not selected, then "Apply" and "OK". You will now see the hidden control panel extensions.


Device Manager Device Manager

Secret - Hidden Devices

Instructions - Go to the "Control Panel", "System" icon, "Hardware" tab and select "Device Manager". Select "View" and Show hidden devices.

Secret - Phantom Devices

Instructions - Go to "Start", "Programs", "Accessories" and select "Command Prompt". At the command prompt, type "set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1" and press Enter. At the command prompt, type "start devmgmt.msc" and press Enter. Select "View" and Show hidden devices. You can see devices that are not connected to the computer. - Source

Notes - When you close the command prompt window, Windows clears the "devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1" variable that you set and prevents phantom devices from being displayed when you select "Show hidden devices".


MIDI Files MIDI Files

Secret - Hidden MIDI Files

Instructions - Browse to C:\Windows\Media and you will find 3 hidden MIDI files:

flourish.mid
onestop.mid
town.mid


Notes - "MIDI" stands for "Musical Instrument Digital Interface" - A compression format for encoding music.


Music Music

Secret - Music from the Installer

Instructions - Browse to C:\Windows\system32\oobe\images\title.wma and play.

Notes - "OOBE" stands for "Out-of-Box Experience".


Shutdown Shutdown

Secret - Display Hibernate Option on the Shut Down dialog

Instructions - Go to "Start", "Turn Off Computer..." and press either Shift key to change the "Stand By" button to "Hibernate".


Support Tools Support Tools

Secret - Over 100 Windows XP Support Utilities are on the install CD

Instructions for Pre-SP2 users - If you do not have SP2 installed, put the original Windows XP CD in the CD-ROM Drive, run the D:\Support\Tools\setup.exe file.

Instructions for SP2 users - If you have SP2 installed, Download the Windows XP Service Pack 2 Support Tools and install.

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This page will be revised as new Secrets are discovered and added. Feel free to submit suggestions or comments to OptimizeXP@comcast.net. Do not send Technical Support Questions.

The following are not secrets, do not submit them:

C:\Windows\clock.avi
C:\Windows\0.log - "0" file

The following are Myths, do not submit them:

'CON' Folder - 'CON' is a reserved file name so is AUX, COM1, COM2, COM3, COM4, LPT1, LPT2, LPT3, PRN and NUL.
Notepad Phrases - This is an encoding issue, any combination of characters in the same order 4-3-3-5 will cause the same problem.
Telnet Star Wars - No hidden version of Star Wars exists in Windows. These can be viewed online at ASCIIMATION.co.nz. To prove this does not exist disconnect your internet connection from your computer and try it again.

Legal Notice - Reproduction of this page in whole or in part is strictly forbidden. This guide and ALL versions thereof are protected by copyright under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Feel free to link to this Guide.