Microsoft’s ugly sweater for 2023 is Windows XP’s iconic default wallpaper

Microsoft’s ugly sweater for 2023 is Windows XP’s iconic default wallpaper


Windows XP was an actively supported Microsoft product for 13 years, including five years where it was the newest version available and another three years where it was vastly more popular than its successor. That longevity—plus Microsoft’s total domination of personal computing in the pre-iPhone, pre-Android world—helped make its default wallpaper one of the most recognizable images on the planet.

Microsoft is returning to the Bliss hill once again with this year’s entry in its now-traditional ugly retro-computing sweater series. Blue hemming at the bottom and on the sleeves evokes Windows XP’s bright-blue taskbar, and in case people don’t immediately recognize Bliss as “a computer thing,” there’s also a giant mouse pointer hovering over it.

Past ugly sweaters have included a Minesweeper motif, MS Paint, the Windows logo, and the immortal Clippy. Microsoft’s ugly sweater site also has wallpapers and a few other retro Easter eggs for people with some time on their hands.

Microsoft says that sales of the limited-edition Bliss sweater will benefit The Nature Conservancy and its “initiatives to combat the climate and biodiversity crisis.”

For people who can’t get enough of Bliss or other ’90s- and 2000s-era Microsoft stuff, the company has also released a few retro-themed high-resolution wallpapers on its Microsoft Design site. Among the images on that site is a 4K rendering of the Bliss wallpaper.

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