From Windows Wallpaper Wiki

Whistler is the codename of Windows XP. This page lists images from both before and after Whistler was renamed, for the sake of convenience, but does not list final image sets. Note that this wiki will refer to Whistler as the codename alone rather than "Windows Whistler", due to that phrasing not being used by Microsoft.


Build 2416 and earlier

Until build 2416, Whistler did not feature many new wallpapers. All of its wallpapers were reused from Windows 2000, due to it being fairly early in development. However, build 2264 introduced a new wallpaper titled Watercolor, although it was not set as default until build 2410; every build of Windows in general has a default wallpaper from this point onwards.

Builds 2419 to 2464

While build 2264 introduced the Watercolor wallpaper (default in build 2410 to 2419), build 2419 introduced a small selection of the wallpapers that would feature in the final release of XP, while removing all of Windows 2000's wallpapers; Windows Me's branding wallpaper were also added, but is oddly filenamed Windows 2000.jpg. Build 2423 changed the default wallpaper to Red moon desert, which would remain until build 2465. Testers allegedly compared Red moon desert's appearance to buttocks,[1] although it was more likely that the wallpaper was set as a decoy and that Bliss was intended as the default wallpaper from the beginning.

The installation of Lab06 build 2415 shown at CES 2001 shows Bliss set as the wallpaper, possibly as the default.

Name Original filename Licensed from Originates from Photographer/artist Notes
Azul 60131 Corbis Westlight Bill Ross
Bliss 71810 Corbis Westlight Charles O'Rear Not the default wallpaper at this point during the development
Follow me 57025 Corbis Westlight Warren Morgan Renamed to Follow in build 2465 onwards
Moon flower imagery_1 Corbis (original image) contracted by Microsoft
Corbis (original image)
Richard Hamilton Smith (original image)
Heavily altered from the original image
Red moon desert OR006712 Corbis Corbis Charles O'Rear Default wallpaper from builds 2423 to 2464
Vortec space 60054 Corbis Westlight Digital Art (Tim Alt)
Watercolor unknown N/A Microsoft unknown Default wallpaper of builds 2410 to 2419; removed in 2423
Windows 2000 unknown N/A Microsoft unknown Filenamed "Windows 2000", although first used in Windows Me

Build 2465 onwards

Build 2465 introduced all of the wallpapers that appear in the final release of XP. Bliss became the new default wallpaper. It also introduced a branding wallpaper, featuring a blue-white radial gradient background with the XP logo in the center. Unlike the rest it is at 1024x768 as opposed to 800x600. Starting with build 2485, the branding wallpaper was replaced with one featuring a CGI Windows logo. Between this build and 2532, it was set as the default wallpaper; however, builds 2535 onwards revert it back to Bliss. This could imply that Microsoft had second thoughts about using Bliss as the default wallpaper.

A similar wallpaper is featured in a screenshot of build 2446 by Paul Thurrott.[2] This one features a smaller logo with a transparent skewed “xp” in the center behind the logo, while the radial gradient is in the center left and the background is overall darker compared to the wallpaper introduced in build 2465. However, this wallpaper is not known to actually appear in any build, making it most likely that it was a promotional wallpaper Microsoft provided Thurrott themselves, although the file has surfaced, meaning it was either publically available or it leaked.

Another version of this wallpaper, with the same gradient as Thurrott's screenshot but with the logo being a similar size to the wallpaper in builds, is shown in screenshots on Microsoft's website[3] and showcased at an event on February 28, 2001 at the Westin Seattle hotel (where the 2001 Nisqually earthquake interrupted the event),[4] and the Windows XP Expert Zone event.[5]

Sample pictures

Five sample pictures at 480x336 were added in build 2474, with Orange canyon (which was at 336x480 instead) being replaced with Sail in build 2481. With the exception of Winter forest (renamed to Winter), none of these were included in builds 2486 onwards, where sample pictures are at 800x600 instead.

All of the sample pictures here (except Sail, which was introduced later) appear on the Plus! My Pictures screensaver graphic shown in Microsoft Plus! for Windows XP's launcher. Additionally a dog picture is shown, which is currently not known to have appeared in any builds. No information regarding the original image has been found, although it was likely licensed from Corbis like the rest here.

Name Original filename Licensed from Originates from Photographer/artist Notes
Crew crew Corbis Westlight Warren Morgan
Mountain vista mountainvista Corbis Corbis unknown
Orange canyon orangecanyon Corbis Corbis Danny Lehman At 336x480 instead of 480x336
Removed in build 2481
Sail sail Corbis Corbis unknown Added in build 2481
Surfer unknown Corbis Westlight Craig Aurness
Winter forest winterforest Corbis Corbis Mark Karrass The only sample picture included in the final release, although renamed to Winter

User account pictures

Build 2419 introduced a small selection of user account pictures, compared to the final release. At this point, none of them are licensed from PhotoDisc; ones with known origins are licensed from Corbis, making it likely the unknown ones came from there too.

Name Licensed from Originates from Photographer/artist Notes
airplane Corbis Corbis Clark Dunbar
astronaut Corbis
NASA Robert L. Gibson
ball Corbis Westlight Michael Neveux
butterfly Corbis Westlight Kurt Stier
cat Corbis Corbis Aaron Horowitz
chess (builds 2475 and 2486 only) unknown Microsoft unknown Originally a wallpaper from Windows 3.0; replaced the regular chess user account picture in two known builds
fish Corbis Westlight Warren Morgan
flower Corbis Corbis unknown Later renamed to pink flower
guitar Corbis Corbis Bob Jacobson Background was originally blue; recolored to grey in Whistler
The guitar has added drop shadow
snowflake Corbis Westlight Jim Zuckerman

Setup backgrounds

The setup background varies depending on edition.