I just spent an hour spinning gear in the new Notepad app in Windows 11. Reddit users I recently discovered this delightful addition to Windows 11, and as a daily Notepad user, I’m hooked. Not at the level of my 1990s Solitary addiction, but I can’t seem to stop running that damn gear every time I open Notepad now. Turn, turn, turn.
I don’t know why Microsoft added this little animation that most people will never experience, but I love this little Windows Easter egg. It’s not limited to Notepad either. The latest Windows 11 test builds include a new Task Manager UI, and you can spin a gear there too. This means that every time I go to force crash an app in Task Manager, I’m going to spend more time than I should be spinning the little gear in the corner.
I shouldn’t really be surprised that it exists, because Microsoft loves 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 a surfing game made its way into Microsoft Edge a few years ago.
Some of Microsoft’s Easter Eggs are hidden so well that they won’t be 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.