The hidden story behind the iconic Windows wallpaper

The iconic Windows wallpaper is real! Read the story behind it

We all owned Windows XP run PC/laptops at some point during last decade (Linux PC owners excuse) and we were always greeted by the iconic wallpaper sitting on our desktop. The default wallpaper was so enchanting that many Windows XP owners made it their default wallpaper.


Is it image real?

Over the years, not only Windows XP users but other too felt that this image was a photoshop. The meadow was just too perfect with the lights and clouds adding to its beauty. The image was very much real and taken by a photographer while he was on his way to meet his girlfriend.

Are you curious to know the entire story? Then simply scroll down to view the interesting story behind this pretty cool and iconic wallpaper.

Here’s The Entire Story:

  • This default windows wallpaper was titled as Bliss. If you search for Bliss wallpaper, you will get hundred of images like it.


  • It was a photograph taken by Charles O’Rear in 1996. O’Rear was said to on his way to meet his girlfriend when he saw this perfect setting which later turned out to be the most popular wallpaper of our times.


  • Charles O’Rear worked as a photographer for National Geographic. O’Rear started his career with the daily newspapers Emporia Gazette, The Kansas City Star, Los Angeles Times, worked for National Geographic magazine, and was part of Environmental Protection Agency’s DOCUMERICA project. He began photographing winemaking in 1978. Since 1998 O’Rear has been associated with Corbis, a Seattle based stock photography company owned by co-founder and chairman of Microsoft, Bill Gates.
  • He took this photograph while he was driving through northern California’s wine growing territory. It is in theSonoma country. At that time he was on the way to meet his girlfriend Daphne (now his wife)


  • He later submitted this photograph to Corbis, the stock photo and image licensing service founded by Bill Gates in 1989. Bill Gates liked the photograph and he purchased this photograph when Microsoft was about to launch Windows XP in 2001.


  • He was paid with the largest amount ever paid for a single photograph. In Michael Douglas’ words Gates made an offer, O’Rear simply couldn’t refuse.


How would the same place look if a photograph is taken now?

Now have a look at the picture taken exactly at the same place (where Bliss was shot) 10 years later by Simon Goldin.


It seems that O’Rear was at the right place at the right time to snap one of the most iconic images of our lifetime. Windows XP is not available now. After the end of XP era, Microsoft made a video about Charles O’Rear and his famous photograph.

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