Mystery of tiny faces on Vista DVDs solved

Three faces embedded in the surface of Windows Vista's installation DVDs

The three faces embedded in the surface of Windows Vista's installation DVDs may have been too small to see with the naked eye, but they're no big mystery, Microsoft said Wednesday night.

First spotted by a Spanish-speaking blogger identified as Kwisatz, the photograph showing three men is tucked into one of the holograms on the surface of Vista DVDs. But at just one millimeter in size, it's too small to see without magnification.

Conspiratorial tongues began wagging almost immediately. "I got word from someone on the inside that they are running a query inside Microsoft, that e-mails are flying around trying to figure out who put the picture in there," wrote blogger Nathan Weinberg on InsideMicrosoft. "That pretty much means this wasn't known until now, this wasn't approved, and there's some level of concern internally."

Others, including Paul McNamara of Computerworld sister publication Network World, figured it was an Easter egg, the term for hidden -- and usually funny -- bits tucked into software. Or people just wondered exactly what was going on. "There's a picture of three guys hidden on the Vista DVD. Who the hell are these people, and why are they on Vista?" asked blogger "otozh" on Windows Vista Videos.

"The fact that it took five months for this to get caught shows the problem: There could have been anything there," said Weinberg. "Whoever stuck in that photo could have stuck in [anything], and Microsoft will probably feel the need to go with overkill to prevent that ever happening."

Nope, said Microsoft's Nick White Wednesday night in a posting to the Vista team's blog.

"Conspiracy theorists will be disappointed," said White. "The photo is only one of multiple images contained in the hologram design, all of whose inclusion serves to make it more difficult to replicate a Windows Vista DVD." The three men in the photo, said White, are members of Microsoft's antipiracy team who worked on the Vista holograms. Other images on the disc -- Kwisatz said he had found three others, but couldn't make out details -- are art masterpieces in the public domain, added White.

"These security measures were never intended to be impossible to find, but rather difficult to reproduce," said White.

Microsoft stepped up the DVD antiduplication measures used for Vista and embedded numerous holograms in the plastic. "While it's extremely difficult to replicate a holographic design in general, the inclusion of original images makes it that much more so," White said.

There's one mystery still unsolved, however: White did not name the three tiny Microsoft employees.

But maybe the readers of Make magazine's blog can help there. "My money is on 3 horseman of the apocolypse [sic]. The fourth is a mac user," opined one.

"I'm pretty sure the guy on the left is [Microsoft platforms and services group president] Kevin Johnson, they're probably all Windows execs of some ilk," chimed in a second.

A third was sure he knew. "One of those guys is [Apple CEO] Steve Jobs."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Show Comments



Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?