Bliss is the name of the default computer wallpaper of Windows XP, produced from a photograph of a landscape in Sonoma County, California, United States. The image contains rolling green hills and a blue sky with cumulus and cirrus clouds. In the Dutch and Portuguese versions of Windows XP, the wallpaper is named Ireland and Alentejo, respectively, despite the fact that the image was taken in the United States.
The photograph was made on June 24, 1996 for the digital-design company HighTurn by Charles O'Rear, a former National Geographic photographer and resident of St. Helena, Napa County. According to O'Rear, the image was not digitally enhanced or manipulated in any way. The image was captured from the side of the highway 12/121 with a hand held medium-format camera. The approximate location is 3101 Fremont Dr. (Sonoma Hwy.), Sonoma, CA. The coordinates for the hill are 38.250124,-122.410817. Although O'Rear's focus when he made the photograph was on the subject of wine making in the Napa Valley, the hill did not have grapevines at the time. Vines were subsequently planted on the site.
In 2001, with the release of Windows XP, the photograph was part of a $200 million "Yes you can" advertising campaign for Windows XP by the advertising agency, McCann-Erickson. The campaign launched on television during one of ABC Sports's Monday Night Football games. The commercials included Madonna's song "Ray of Light".
On November 27, 2006, Goldin+Senneby visited the site in Sonoma Valley where the Bliss image was taken, re-photographing the same view now full of grapevines. Their work After Microsoft was first shown in the exhibition "Paris was Yesterday" at the gallery La Vitrine in April 2007. It was later exhibited at Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo, and 300m3 in Gothenburg.
In 2006, Sébastien Mettraux, a Swiss artist made a photograph titled "Bliss, after Bill Gates, 2006". Mettraux, who lives and works near the Vallée de Joux, explained that it was taken in Les Esserts-de-Rives, Switzerland. A local rumour suggested that the hill of the Windows XP wallpaper came from this area in the heart of the "watch valley". It is a mistake but the photography shows that the hill is a lookalike. This photography was shown at the "Images'08" festival in Vevey.
- Messieh, Nancy (28 August 2011). "Ever wonder where the Windows XP default wallpaper came from?". thenextweb.com. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
- Turner, Paul (22 February 2004). "No view of Palouse from Windows". The Spokesman-Review (Spokane). Archived from the original on 16 November 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
- Younger, Carolyn (18 January 2010). "Windows XP desktop screen is a Napa image". Napa Valley Register. Retrieved 18 January 2010.
- Saunders, Christopher (16 October 2001). "Microsoft Hopes "Ray of Light" Makes XP Shine". ClickZ. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
- Maddox, Kate (26 November 2001). "Windows XP takes to the air; Microsoft pushes new operating system with ads targeting both business and consumer markets". goliath.ecnext.com. Goliath. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
- Thurrott, Paul (11 October 2001). "Windows XP Marketing: Yes You Can". Windows IT Pro. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
- "After Microsoft". Goldin+Senneby. 5 April 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
- "Paris was Yesterday". Hanne's Art and Culture Blog. Hanne Mugaas. 2 April 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
- "300m3 Art Space – History". 300m3.com. 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2011.