Software

Looking back at Microsoft Access Easter Eggs

By Greg Shultz

If you've been using computers for a while, you know that an Easter Egg is a small program that is hidden deep inside of an application and is designed by the application's developers as a way of displaying their names -- very similar to the credits that you see at the end of a movie. However, uncovering the Easter Egg is tricky as it almost always involves performing a series of very intricate and non-intuitive steps.

Microsoft now officially bans Eater Eggs as part of their Trustworthy Computing initiative. But before that mandate, Microsoft's developers used to go to great lengths to secretly embed Easter Eggs into their products.

While the developers for other Microsoft Office products created some really elaborate Easter Eggs, the developers for Access didn't really push the envelope. I suppose that could indicate that the Access developers were a more serious bunch. Anyway, in this gallery I'll show you the Easter Eggs that they embedded into Access 95, 97, and 2000.

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

5 comments
michael.laborde
michael.laborde

In the first version of Access there was an Easter Egg that was a visual pun and directly targeted (quite literally) at the competition. I don't remember how you got to it but when you did there was an animated visual of two guys shooting at a "pair o' ducks", over which the developer credits played. Paradox was the reigning PC relational database at the time and Microsoft was making it clear they had it in their sights.

Jymbul
Jymbul

Yep it was a shame about Paradox. Does anyone still use it? I used to like it a lot... ObjectPAL was much better than VBA... that got me into Pascal/Delphi in 1995. Still dabble in VB and VBA but ObjectPAL/Delphi are much more elegant... dBase anyone? ;o) J

WV Rich
WV Rich

Paradox and Quattro Pro were bundled with WordPerfect 6 for Windows, and later purchased from Borland by either Novell or Corel. It is still bundled in the WordPerfect Office, but the version number is stuck on 11, while Quattro Pro and WordPerfect are up to 13 (... X3)

Jymbul
Jymbul

I understand that Novell bought the whole WP suite of apps (WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, Presentations, etc) from Borland (WP was originally from WordPerfect Corp - WP5.1 for DOS still knocks Word2007 out of the water in my opinion) then the whole lot was bought by Corel, which reminds me what did Borland do with the old Ashton-Tate dBase family... I think Borland took it to version 5 then dropped it like a hot potato. Delphi BDS 2007 for .NET (to be released soon) can connect to more or less anything and enterprise DBs are getting very cheap (or even free) so I suppose local file based DBs (even Access) are becoming a bit dated and in the case of Access BLOATED! I had a small MDB file, about 250KB... ran a few queries over about half an hour and the MDB file had bloated to over 300MB!!!!! Now I know why M$ invented "compact and repair"! Nice to walk down memory (leak) lane now and again! ;o)