At the turn of the century, Microsoft released Windows XP, an all-time great operating system that served as many a teenager’s first taste of modern personal computing. One thing that I just learned, however, is that it had a banging music track that users only ever heard once, upon installation.
Located on XP computers in the C:\Windows\system32\oobe\images folder lurks a file named title.wma. It’s five minutes and 25 seconds of new-age bliss. (Conveniently enough, “Bliss” is also the name of the Windows XP default wallpaper.)
Apparently, title.wma played when users finished installing Windows XP and then had to go through all of the options, setup, and license agreements that come at the end of the process. That is the only time the system was programmed to play it, meaning that it remained in relative obscurity save for forum threads and Tumblr posts about the track that have accumulated over the years, started by people who either like digging through system files or were passed the track by word of mouth.
In fact, someone asked about the track on Quora in 2011 and got a response from someone who worked on Windows XP. Wes Miller wrote at the time:
I was on the team that built the setup and deployment technologies for Windows XP. The OOBE (Out Of Box Experience) team was responsible for the first user experience on Windows — getting final configuration and legal mumbo-jumbo out of the way. As I recall it, the Group Program Manager over our team (and theirs) had that song “lying around” from an earlier project that it had been cut from (I think it may have been a version of IE or a Windows prototype) — he had had the song commissioned for Microsoft during the 1990’s. Relatively late in the game it became part of the OOBE experience, and though some people didn’t like it (there were a few on the team responsible for Windows’ overall look and feel that I understand weren’t elated by it being a change they hadn’t approved), most Windows team members, senior management and testers really liked it, and it lived on through release, to become a bit of an FAQ.
Anyway, please enjoy title.wma, which I am now retroactively declaring to be this year’s song of summer.
If you know anything else about the creation of this track, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.