Microsoft employee Raymond Chen says that an encrypted copy of Microsoft Bob is included on the Windows XP CD to take up space.

But Windows XP doesn't take up the entire CD; there is a lot of free space remaining.

Is the story true?

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    According to the article, the copy of Bob was not to "take up the entire CD", but to create "ballast data" for the Windows Installer to verify. – Dour High Arch Dec 16 '12 at 4:51
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    Given the source, I'd say this is probably true. – Arkady Jan 24 '13 at 14:02
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    ...yet unverifiable. A disk image, encrypted, is (should be) undistinguishable from random noise. Therefore, unless the (unknown) passphrase somehow surfaces (improbable), there is no useful way to verify this. – Piskvor left the building Mar 13 '15 at 16:07
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    «A disk image, encrypted, is (should be) undistinguishable from random noise.» not necessarily, given that commonly used encryption algos of the era were later discovered to be susceptible to cryptanalysis. – vartec Mar 16 '15 at 21:41
  • Looking at the article, it should likely be in a file.... (Or at least in something that would be kept in a CD image - you can make an image of the CD and find areas not referenced by the filesystem....) – Gert van den Berg Apr 17 '18 at 8:17

The story that Chen claimed it is true. But he was most likely joking. Above all it would be impossible to check because Chen — in this supposed joke story — claims the encryption key was created by just mashing the keyboard.


Also the "slowdown" would be by adding 30 MBytes, which is less than 5% data compared to a full CD.

So just assume Chen made an April Fools joke... in June 2008.

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    If it is true, it would be easy to verify, as an encryption key created by mashing the keyboard is not very secure and could be brute-forced with heuristics of the keys hit when mashing the keyboard. – allo Apr 19 '18 at 11:53
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    @allo Have fun trying. – MichaelK Apr 19 '18 at 12:06
  • @DavePhD Wouldn't the floppies contain the "entire Bob"? – Tobia Tesan Apr 19 '18 at 13:38
  • @DavePhD Eh, I think it's pretty clear that in that context "floppy disk images" means "disk image", i.e. "dump of the floppy disk contents". Couldn't even think of the other interpretation until you pointed it out. – Tobia Tesan Apr 19 '18 at 18:00
  • @TobiaTesan ok, you're probably right, I'll delete all my comments – DavePhD Apr 19 '18 at 18:40

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