Windows Xp Background

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The Windows XP wallpaper, known to everyone as Bliss, is without a doubt the most famous desktop background that ever got to see daylight, and this is mostly the result of how successful the operating system turned out to be.

And while many people know how the wallpaper eventually became so popular, the untold story of Bliss includes a plethora of captivating details proving that choosing a new desktop wallpaper for the world’s number one PC operating system isn’t just happening overnight.

Windows Xp Background

Bliss is the creation of photographer Charles “Chuck” O’Rear, who took the picture in 1996 when he was driving down Highway 121 in the Napa Valley wine region. The photo in question was a medium format film negative that O’Rear shot with a Mamiya RZ67 on a tripod and Fujifilm Velvia film.

Free Windows Xp wallpapers and Windows Xp backgrounds for your computer desktop. Find Windows Xp pictures and Windows Xp photos on Desktop Nexus.

The photo itself was uploaded to Corbis, a digital image service (more like stock photo websites) that Bill Gates himself founded, and was picked by Microsoft in 2000 as the default wallpaper for Windows XP.

Those coordinates mark a significant piece of computing history, as there is the spot where the original Windows XPbackground photo was taken. The photo - taken in Napa Valley, Northern California - that once was the background image on more than one billion computers has a history of its own, as you can read from here. 18张Windows XP高清壁纸和桌面背景。您可在所有设备上免费下载:电脑、平板和智能手机。 - Wallpaper Abyss. Looking for the best Windows XP Desktop Backgrounds? We have 43+ amazing background pictures carefully picked by our community. If you have your own one, just send us the image and we will show it on the web-site. Feel free to download, share, comment and discuss every wallpaper you like. Windows XP but with win 8 wallpaper by PinewoodgamerlabSCT; Windows XP broken by Coolgameguys; Multi-PC 7.0 by waresoftware; Multi-PC 7.35 by waresoftware; Windows XP remix by Juanisofi; Multi-PC 8.0 by waresoftware; Windows XP ZVirus by Jacobwworkman; OneClick OS Alpha 0.2 by WindowsBammer; Windows desing by manz07; Windows XP by DosGeek1.

The shipping adventure

Choosing the new Windows XP background, however, wasn’t an easy thing to do. Microsoft employees started looking for photos and eventually decided to stick with Bliss, though getting their hands on the actual image was a more complex process than initially thought.

The software giant purchased not only the rights to use the photo as the desktop background in Windows XP, but also the slide it was originally captured on, so Microsoft requested the photographer to deliver the film as well. This proved to be more complicated that it seemed to be given how much Microsoft paid for the photo. Although no specifics were provided, it’s believed the price was somewhere in the low six figures, so shipping the photo and the slide required a very expensive insurance.

Microsoft asked O’Rear to sign a confidentiality agreement to prevent him from disclosing how much money he received for the photo, but it’s believed this was the second-largest payment ever made to a photographer for a single image.

FedEx itself refused to ship the photo without a hefty insurance cost (some say that the typical insurance wasn’t enough to cover the value of the shipment), so in the end, it all turned out to be more affordable for Microsoft to actually buy a plane ticket and have everything delivered in person by O’Rear himself. This is exactly what happened and the photographer travelled to Seattle to hand-deliver the content to Microsoft’s engineering team working on Windows XP.

Windows Xp Background Images

No digital retouches

Windows Xp Wallpaper Download 1366x768

The actual photo that Microsoft used was a scanned version, and although you’d think it would’ve been easier for O’Rear to simply professionally drum scan the image and email it to the company, that wasn’t possible given the technology available at that time. Doing this would have generated a huge image file with a size of several gigabytes, and by having the photographer travel in person to their office, Microsoft picked the most convenient and cost-effect option.

For people wondering whether Microsoft Photoshopped the photo or not, the Bliss wallpaper is nothing more than the original picture as O’Rear took it, with no refinements whatsoever. Microsoft said that it darkened the green hill a little bit, but other than that, no edits have been made.

Windows Xp Background

The choice of gear, however, is believed to have contributed to the colors in the wallpaper, as the Fujifilm Velvia itself is known as a film that can help oversaturate some colors.

Windows Xp Background Bliss

“It made the difference and, I think, helped the 'Bliss' photograph stand out even more,” the photographer himself explained. “I think that if I had shot it with 35 mm, it would not have nearly the same effect.”


For anyone looking for more information on the location where Bliss was shot, here you go.