As we developed Windows, one of the minor decisions we had to make was what wallpaper to use for various internal builds.
These builds always leaked outside of Microsoft, so we knew that the wallpapers would also end up public.
We wanted to try a more elegant tact.
...thus the "shhh... let's not leak our hard work" series of wallpapers was born.
So, knowing that the builds would still leak, we decided to make it fun.
We did not expect what came next.
We waited for the build to leak and once it did, were excited to see what people thought.
To fuel the conspiracy theories, I used Photoshop to mess with some pixels in the grid towards the bottom of this wallpaper to represent that we had "embedded security" into it.
Interestingly, the "messed with" pixels represented the single biggest dip in pirated distribution of Windows betas we ever saw, as people spent time trying to ascertain what new security technology we were using to track them.
This version was, I believe, the last published version of the wallpaper and, thus, the easiest version of the puzzle to solve.
A dev from Ireland solved it and sent us the answer in 2011.
In the end, we thought it would be a bit of fun for everyone involved.
If you like puzzles, feel free to have a go at it. For a harder challenge, start with one of the green wallpapers.
I'll post the correct solution here later this weekend!