If you’re using the 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 10/11.
This post tells you how to find the current wallpaper file name and path in Windows 8, Windows 10, and Windows 11.
Find the current wallpaper (desktop background) file:
How to Find the Current Desktop Wallpaper
Here are five different methods to find the current desktop background (wallpaper) file name, starting with the easiest option.
When you set a wallpaper of any image 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 the 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 is 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’ve set the desktop background wallpaper via Windows Photo Viewer, then the transcoded JPEG file is 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 the 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 the current desktop wallpaper may exist in one or 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 10/11
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 on the Personalize background settings page in Windows 10.
We have an article that determines the Wallpaper source in Windows 7 (Refer: 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.
Our reader “raveren” came up with a script for Windows 8 and Windows 10. Check out the following link:
Note that Unicode isn’t supported by VBScripts. These scripts won’t function correctly if the Wallpaper path contains non-English characters.
You can use PowerShell to decode the
TranscodedImageCache wallpaper filename. Here’s the command-line that does the job:
$TIC=(Get-ItemProperty 'HKCU:\Control Panel\Desktop' TranscodedImageCache -ErrorAction Stop).TranscodedImageCache [System.Text.Encoding]::Unicode.GetString($TIC) -replace '(.+)([A-Z]:[0-9a-zA-Z\\])+','$2'
Thanks to John Dangerbrooks for the following PowerShell script (supports Unicode) that helps you decode the
TransCodedImageCache registry value and locate/select the wallpaper file in File Explorer. The script works in Windows 7 through Windows 11. You may also read John’s blog post Finding wallpaper location in Windows | Confidential Files!.
TranscodedImageCache registry value shows the original/source image file name in the following cases:
- Set the desktop background via the image file’s right-click menu.
- Set the desktop background via Personalize settings.
- Set the desktop background via the 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.
Context Menu (optional)
You can also add a “Find Current Wallpaper” command to the Desktop right-click menu using the .reg file below.
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\DesktopBackgroundFileLocation] "icon"="shell32.dll,324" @="Find Current Wallpaper" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\DesktopBackgroundFileLocation\command] @="powershell.exe -nologo -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -command find_current_wallpaper.ps1"
Copy the above contents to Notepad and save the file with the .reg extension. Then double-click the .reg file to run it.
Then, copy John’s PowerShell script file “
find_current_wallpaper.ps1” (mentioned earlier in this article) to the
Clicking on the option will start the PowerShell script which in turn locates the current desktop wallpaper for you quickly.
One small request: If you liked this post, please share this?One "tiny" share from you would seriously help a lot with the growth of this blog. Some great suggestions:
- Pin it!
- Share it to your favorite blog + Facebook, Reddit
- Tweet it!