Yes, the Windows 7 beta wallpaper was a picture of a betta fish

It wasn't long before people realized that the fish in the default wallpaper for the Windows 7 beta was a betta fish. This was intended to be a cute little pun, though some people took the semiotics to an extreme,

Dude, this is Windows, not The Da Vinci Code. It's not like the people who chose the wallpaper are using a backchannel to pass secret messages to you like "I know I'm not supposed to tell you, but here's the Windows product schedule" or "Help, I'm trapped in a wallpaper factory!" They're just having a bit of fun.

I have yet to see anybody point out that the fish was blowing seven bubbles. And no, I don't know what it "signifies".

(I always wonder about the people who claim that the government embeds subtle messages about their complex conspiracies in plain sight. If you want to keep a secret, you don't run around talking about it!)

Comments (26)
  1. Obi-Wan says:

    Well, you should just have used a bigga fish (there's always one).

  2. RobertWrayUK says:

    The first comment on the linked article is "There's also seven bubbles on the screen.". No mention of a wallpaper factory though! ;)

  3. Jules says:

    That Betta looks as though it's seen better days, judging by how ragged its fins are.

  4. Alex Grigoriev says:

    The RTM also includes an assortment of totally trippy wallpapers.

  5. Xenophon Fenderson, KSC says:

    It's no wonder that Microsoft featured the betta in their wallpaper.  Everyone knows that the Siamese fighting fish is, milligram for milligram, the fiercest creature on the planet!

  6. Pierre B. says:

    The amount of red scales and its distribution over the fish body reflect code coverage test results and their relative position in the code base.

    The light streaming down is the reflected light off the Win7 DVD. If properly processed, you can recreate the ISO and burn your own special version of the Win7 DVD, which includes the master plan for the take-over of the world by the illuminate running the secret government from the basement of the UN.

  7. ben says:

    Well, this is just a standard interpretation of an artist's work.

    And it is not even a deep analysis, there is much more to notice:

    • The vastness of the ocean, it is not full, containing only a lonely fish and it bubbles. Likewise it is not a full Windows version.
    • The fish looking/swimming upwards, the version will improve, and get better. But it will be only a small change, since the fish deviates only slightly from the horizontal.

    • Its tail is hanging down, the fish is sad, perhaps because the changes are too slow for it.

    • It's looking up to the sun. Admiringly? A subtle l´hint that .net hasn't reached java so far?

    • 8 rays of the sun and 7 bubbles, the rays from left to right, the bubbles from right to left. The RTL support is still not as good at the LTR support?

    • Almost nothing on the right side of the image, software developer tend to use mostly the left side of their brain, and neglect the right, artist side.

    • … …

    Honestly, a scholar of the arts/humanities could write BOOKS about the interpretation of such an image (and they do, just go in the next library).

  8. sukru says:

    Or it might contain the code to finally decipher the Microsoft Bob installation on Windows DVDs:…/2008.07.windowsconfidential.aspx

  9. Tim Lesher says:

    Right.  No conspiracy there.  

    Next you'll be telling us that Windows XP wasn't really Windows Chi-Rho, aka Cairo!

    I'll be in the corner, knitting myself a tinfoil beanie for the upcoming winter.

  10. Fan of Mick says:

    quote: Nothing to do with fierce territoriality then?

  11. Andrew Grant says:

    It's a shame the RTM wallpaper didn't have a Goldfish. Probably too geeky a joke for marketing types to approve though.

  12. Bob Stein says:

    They used a Betta fish instead of being Coi about the release features.

  13. Marquess says:

    Well, I don't give a carp about the wallpapers that come with Windows.

  14. peterchen says:

    "you don't run around talking about it!"

    But that's the trick – similar to "Big Lie" working better than the small one, you have to be so blatantly obvious about your nefarious plans that it would be crazy to believe you are revealing so much.

  15. Jeff says:

    What's amazing about conspiracy theories is that it overestimates the intelligence, capacity and time of the supposed conspirators. No group in the world had the manpower nor extra time to execute all these crazy conspiracies, let alone the intelligence to pull it off.

  16. Jeremy N says:

    @Jeff, plus consider the precarious nature of out-in-the-open secrets. Suppose a group really were trying to put the conspiracy together, with all the effort that entails, and were using public backchannels to pass information. All that hard work would go down the drain once one clever agent cracked the code. It's much more secure (and in some cases, easier) to coordinate traditional secret message passing.

  17. Mike Dunn says:

    Check out these Channel 9 interviews with Denise Trabona. She talks about the fish wallpaper, as well as others that have hidden 7's in them (7 light rays, for example).…/A-Look-Behind-the-Backgrounds-of-Windows-7…/Progression-of-the-Iconic-Background

  18. R. Bemrose says:

    7 Bubbles clearly meant that it was originally intended for a July release and got delayed!

    *puts on tin foil hat*

  19. Skyborne says:

    > (I always wonder about the people who claim that the government embeds subtle messages about their complex conspiracies in plain sight. If you want to keep a secret, you don't run around talking about it!)

    This reminds me of the final panel of this XKCD:

    I used to work with someone who was into conspiracies, who explained that embedding secret messages into TV, film, the Federal Reserve System, etc. served to let people who weren't in the know disregard the theories as crazy: "Dude, you've been watching too much TV."  It's *ALL* part of the conspiracy, man!

  20. I always thought the conspiracy was that "Windows 7" was NT 6.1 instead of NT 7.0

    Which raises the question… are we going to have to skip from 6.x to 8.x?

  21. MC says:

    @Maurits: No, next version will be Windows 7 R2 which will be NT 7.0

  22. Mark says:

    Xenophon Fenderson: thank you, that made my day

  23. Kevin Eshbach says:

    Come on that fish was secretly chosen to distract the pirates so they would stop and stare imaging the fish swimming around in an aquarium.

  24. mh says:

    The fish was cool and it's a shame that it wasn't retained, at least as an option among the available wallpapers.  Is it too late to request for it to be snuck into SP1?

  25. steveg says:

    It was a Russian spy cell within Microsoft that put the image there… a secret message is hidden in it.

  26. GrandFather says:

    Illuminati is behind this subliminal message.

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