I’ve just spent an hour spinning the gear in Windows 11’s new Notepad app. Reddit users discovered this delightful addition to Windows 11 recently, and as a daily Notepad user I’m addicted. Not on the level of my 1990s Solitaire addiction, but I can’t seem to stop spinning this damn gear every time I open Notepad now. Spin, spin, spin.
I don’t know why Microsoft added this tiny animation that most people will never discover, but I love this little Windows Easter egg. It’s not limited to Notepad either. The latest test versions of Windows 11 include a new Task Manager UI, and there’s a gear you can spin there too. That means every time I go to force crash an app in Task Manager, I’m gonna spend more time than I should spinning the little gear in the corner.
I shouldn’t really be surprised that this exists, because Microsoft does love a good Easter egg. The company celebrated 20 years of Xbox last year with secret symbols on its limited edition controllers and Xbox Series X console. Clippy also replaced Cortana in a Windows Phone Easter egg, and a SkiFree-like surfing game made its way into Microsoft Edge a couple of years ago.
Some of Microsoft’s Easter eggs are so well hidden that they don’t get discovered for decades. A 20-year-old Xbox Easter egg was discovered last year, just weeks after another hidden prompt was found in Windows 95.
Now, if you email or tweet me and wonder why I haven’t replied... I’m probably busy spinning a gear in Notepad.