If you’re using desktop background slideshow or third-party wallpaper changer software and want to find the file name of the currently displayed desktop wallpaper, then this article is for you. The current wallpaper path is are stored in the registry but is not displayed in the modern Personalize settings page in Windows 10.
This post tells you how to find the current wallpaper file name and path in Windows 8 and Windows 10.
Find the current wallpaper (desktop background) file name:
How to Find the Current Desktop Background File Name in Windows 10
Here are five different methods to find the current desktop background (wallpaper) file name, starting with the easiest option.
When you set wallpaper image of any format, Windows converts that file to JPEG format and also sometimes reduces its quality. The converted wallpaper image may exist in one of the three different locations mentioned below, depending upon the method you used to set the wallpaper.
When you right-click on an image file and choose Set as desktop background in the context menu, a copy of the image file is converted and stored as
TranscodedWallpaper without file extension. The transcoded wallpaper is stored here:
Type the above folder path in Run dialog or Explorer address bar to access the location.
All you need to do is copy the transcoded image from the above to a different location, add the
.jpg extension and use it.
If you used the Browse.. option in Personalize settings to set the desktop background, then the converted and up-scaled (matching your display resolution) version of the image is stored in the following directory.
The file naming convention may be like
CachedImage_1920_1080_POS0.jpg where the numbers indicate the current display resolution of 1920 x 1080. POS0 may indicate the monitor number (if using multiple monitors.)
In case you used neither methods above, but set the desktop background wallpaper via Windows Photo Viewer, then the transcoded JPEG file stored in the following folder as
Windows Photo Viewer Wallpaper.jpg, and the file path is written to the registry.
%AppData%\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows Photo Viewer
Note that the quality of the transcoded and converted (to JPEG) wallpaper may not be exactly the same as the original.
The registry value
TranscodedImageCache is updated in all of the above cases.
The classic Desktop Background applet in Windows 10 shows the currently selected desktop background file name with full path.
- Right-click Start, and click Run to bring up the Run dialog.
- Type the following command and press ENTER
In Windows 10 this opens the classic desktop background applet, showing the current wallpaper image file and the folder path.
The reference to current desktop wallpaper may exist in one of more locations in the registry.
Open the Registry Editor (
In the Registry Editor, there are the keys you need to check.
Look for the value named
Wallpaper (Type: REG_SZ).
Look for the value named
TranscodedImageCache (Type: REG_BINARY)
TranscodedImageCache is a binary value, but you can easily make out the file path by double-clicking the value and reading the data.
Another history location in Windows 10
Go to the following registry key which stores your desktop background history.
The BackgroundHistoryPath0 value lists the current wallpaper.
The values BackgroundHistoryPath1, BackgroundHistoryPath2, BackgroundHistoryPath3, BackgroundHistoryPath4 refer to the previous 4 wallpapers you used. The wallpaper history thumbnail images are shown in the Personalize background settings page in Windows 10.
We have an article that determines the Wallpaper source in Windows 7 (REF: Add “Desktop Background File Location” Context Menu in Windows 7) but that script doesn’t work in Windows 8 and 10. This is because in Windows 8 and 10 the current Wallpaper source path is stored in a different registry branch. Moreover, in Windows 8 (and in early versions of Windows 10) Microsoft decided not to store the Wallpaper source path in plain-text.
You can open PowerShell and run the following command(s) to decode the TranscodedImageCache registry value and display the output in the console:
$TIC=(Get-ItemProperty 'HKCU:\Control Panel\Desktop' TranscodedImageCache -ErrorAction Stop).TranscodedImageCache [System.Text.Encoding]::Unicode.GetString($TIC) -replace '(.+)([A-Z]:[0-9a-zA-Z\\])+','$2'
The following script methods are especially useful for Windows 8. This is because the previously discussed registry values don’t exist in Windows 8, except the TranscodedImageCache binary value.
The scripts below can decode the TranscodedImageCache binary value for you. Thanks to Dwight Grant for his VBScript, and John Dangerbrooks for the PowerShell script (to support Unicode).
The scripts read the Wallpaper path/filename from the following registry branch, stored in a REG_BINARY value named TranscodedImageCache:
Download Win8_WP_Curr_Image_Name.zip, extract and run the enclosed script file.
Note that Unicode isn’t supported by the above VBScript (nor does my earlier script for Windows 7). These scripts won’t function correctly if the Wallpaper path contains non-English characters.
Thanks to John Dangerbrooks for the PowerShell script that helps you find the wallpaper location in Windows 7, 8 and 10. You may check them out in his blog post Finding wallpaper location in Windows | Confidential Files!.
I’ve added John’s PowerShell script and other files in a zip file.
- Download Find_current_wallpaper.zip (for Windows 8 and 10) unzip and extract the contents to a folder.
- Move the files Find_current_wallpaper.ps1 & Find_current_wallpaper.vbs to the C:\Windows directory.
- Double-click the file Find_current_wallpaper.reg to add Desktop Background File Location option to the Desktop context menu.
This option runs the PowerShell script which inturn gets the current Wallpaper name and displays it. It then offers to launch File Explorer with the current Wallpaper image selected.
- To launch the folder containing the current Wallpaper, click Yes.
The TranscodedImageCache registry value shows the original/source image file name in the following cases:
- Set the desktop background via the image file right-click menu.
- Set the desktop background via Personalize settings.
- Set the desktop background via classic Desktop Background applet.
There are several different ways to set the desktop background wallpaper in Windows. For all other methods (e.g., setting the desktop background via your web browser, Windows Photo Viewer, Photos app, etc.,), the TranscodedImageCache only stores the path of the converted (BMP or JPEG format) file path.
About the author
Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in Windows — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP (2003-2012) who contributes to various Windows support forums.