The numerology of the sample directory listing in the Windows 95 font selector property sheet page

Raymond Chen

In Windows 95, it became tradition that if you modified the code that displays the font preview in the Windows 95 command prompt font chooser property sheet page, you also got to tweak the sample date and file sizes to be a value personally significant to you.

By the time Windows 95 shipped, the values in the font preview were as follows:

Directory of C:\WINDOWS
SYSTEM       <DIR>     03-01-95
WIN      COM    22,867 03-01-95
WIN      INI    11,728 03-01-95
WELCOME  EXE    19,539 03-01-95

I don’t see the significance to these values, but maybe you can try to find something. Unfortunately, I don’t know who the last person was to modify the dialog template, so I can’t ask them.

Bonus chatter: When I told this story to one of my colleagues, I received a story in exchange: When this dialog was ported to Windows NT, the developer who did this slipped his name as the last “file” of the the directory listing, which was visible only when you picked the smallest font size. It was discovered and removed as part of the Easter egg purge.

Riffing on Larry, 13 years later: A note on that rogue Exchange 5.0 Easter egg that my program kept triggering by mistake: Triggering the Easter egg by mistake is bad enough, but what made it even worse was that once you triggered it, the session was poisoned: Commands would behave erratically from that point onward. You had to disconnect from the server and reconnect in order to fix the problem. So yeah, bad Easter egg.


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