Where is the current wallpaper in Windows 7, 8 and 10?

Occasionally, you want to know where the current Windows wallpaper is stored – for example, when you use the slideshow function and don’t know where the image you’re currently showing actually came from.

windows wallpaper

But the source file is not always found at the first go. Where is the path to the current image stored? And, how exactly does the wallpaper management work under Windows 7, 8, and 10?

Wallpaper on Windows 10

Default Windows wallpapers

If you are looking for one of the background wallpapers that come with Windows by default, your search will quickly come to an end; the images are located in the folder.


Usually, however, you are looking for an image that you (or a colleague) have selected. Here it gets a bit more complicated.

Location of your own Windows Wallpapers

No matter if photo or slideshow, the current photo is only copied from the source folder when selected. This copy, i.e., the active background image, is then stored in


You can copy the path like this and paste it into the search box in the start menu Ctrl + R.

The current copy of the windows wallpaper has the file name TranscodedWallpaper. Even though this file has no file extension, you can open it with almost any image viewer.

windows wallpaper loation

Even without a file extension, you can open the file with any common image viewer.

You can also find the respective previously displayed wallpapers here; they have the names Transcoded_00X.

If a program changes the desktop background, it is also possible that a bitmap file is located here.

In the registry, the path to the current copy is also noted.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\Wallpaper

By the way, these transcoded wallpaper files are created automatically by Windows – whenever you select a new background.

background settings

The moment you select the background folder of the slide show and the first picture is load, Windows 10 creates a copy of the picture. This is saved in the folder path % HOMEPATH% \ AppData \ Roaming \ Microsoft \ Windows \ Themes \

Wallpaper on Windows 8 (8.1)

Under Windows 8, the path is identical


As a rule, this is a normal jpg image. Therefore, you can simply copy the file and rename it.

Wallpaper under Windows 7

Last but not least, here is the folder where Windows 7 stores the current wallpaper:


So over the years, the path has not changed. Only in Windows XP, the image was still in the folder C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Application Data\.

Where is the original wallpaper in Windows?

But the paths still do not reveal where the current image came from. Of course, you can right-click on the desktop and select “Customize” – “Background” to find out the folder and its contents where the photos come from.

Unfortunately, all images are marked here – and not the one that is currently displayed. In a folder with more than 100 or even 1,000 photos, a certain photo is like a needle in a haystack. Fortunately, the registry once again provides a remedy. At

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Desktop\General\WallpaperSource

You can finally find the path to the currently displayed original wallpaper.

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