Minesweeper Timer Jump

The timer jump bug on Windows 95

Windows Minesweeper had a bug where the clock jumped a second at the start of a game.

The Windows Minesweeper timer starts at 1 second on your first click to prevent 0 second games and versions prior to Windows 2000 read from the system clock. Unless the first click is made exactly as the clock ticks, the first "second" will be less than a full second. You can prove this by opening Minesweeper and the Windows clock then starting games before the clock ticks a new second.

Timer jump was particularly frustrating when playing Beginner. For example, the author of this article once completed a 3BV 2 game in 2 random clicks but finished in 2 seconds! Losing part of a second could cost you a personal record and this issue was commonly discussed in the Guestbook during 2001. Videos confirm that most records made during the early history of the Minesweeper community (2000-2002) suffered from timer jump. The most prominent examples were the former world records of 10s on Intermediate played by Matt McGinley (USA) in 2001 and 42s on Expert played by Lasse Nyholm (Denmark) in 2002.

The timer jump bug was eventually fixed with the release of Windows 2000.

A Beginner session by Damien Moore (video) demonstrating timer jumps in 2001
Matt McGinley wins the Dreamboard in 14 seconds (video) in 2001 but the timer jumped
Matt McGinley sets a World Record of 10 on the Dreamboard (video) in 2001 but the timer jumped
Lasse Nyholm sets a World Record of 42 on Expert (video) in 2002 but the timer jumped
Lasse Nyholm scores another 42 second game on Expert (video) in 2003 but the timer jumped

Article created 29 October 2020 by Damien Moore and updated 5 August 2021.