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Windows 10 Desktop Background Slideshow Not Seeing Subfolders

The new Settings interface in Windows 10 doesn’t allow selecting multiple files at once as the desktop slideshow. You can only select one folder at a time. Also, the images in the subfolders are not utilized for the slideshow.

As a workaround, people used the old Desktop background Control Panel interface by running one of these commands from the Run dialog:

rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL desk.cpl,,@desktop
(or)
control /name Microsoft.Personalization /page pageWallpaper

Since the Windows 10 Creators Update, those two commands will no longer launch the classic Control Panel applet. To make desktop background slideshow see the images in subfolders, follow one of these methods.

Method 1: Launch Old Background Control Panel UI using Shell: command

First, add the folder(s) containing images to the Pictures Library, and then follow these steps to configure the desktop slideshow using the old Control Panel interface.

For example, I have a folder named Camera which contains two subfolders, namely 2016 and 2017. The images are stored only in those subfolders. I added Camera to the Pictures Library.

Even on Windows 10 version 21H2, the old Control Panel interface is still functional to set up a slideshow. To launch it, right-click Start, click Run, and type:

shell:::{ED834ED6-4B5A-4bfe-8F11-A626DCB6A921} -Microsoft.Personalization\pageWallpaper

Click OK.

Select Pictures Library, and select multiple pictures from the list.

Quick Tips: You can use the Check all or Clear all option to select or deselect all files, and then enable/disable the checkbox of individual files manually. Alternately, you can click an area and drag the mouse pointer (create a selection rectangle) to multi-select files without having to click on each file.


Method 2: List all images Using Search and Set as Desktop Background

Open the parent folder that has the subfolders containing images.

Click on the search box, and type the following search query:

kind:=picture

With the “All subfolders” ribbon button selected (by default), Windows Search will list all image files from the parent folder as well as sub-folders.

Select all or required image files from the search results, right-click and select Set as desktop background.

If you open Settings → Personalize → Background, you’ll see your search query in the list.

That’s it! Desktop slideshow is now configured to use images from multiple folders and sub-folders.

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