Relocate wallpaper files

Wallpaper graphics are a great way to customise your desktop. Unfortunately, Windows drops wallpaper files into the Windows folder, amid the million other files located there. In IE 4 and Windows 98, Microsoft has added a folder just for wallpaper files (the Web\Wallpaper folder in your Windows folder). But if you already have your wallpaper files stored elsewhere, or for space reasons would prefer to keep them on another drive, you can designate a different folder for those image and HTML files. Prepare to fudge with the Windows Registry to do it, though.

Here's what to do. First, back up the following files in your Windows folder: user.dat, system.dat, user.da0, and system.da0. Next, choose Start-Run, type regedit, and press to launch the Registry Editor. Travel down the folder tree in the left pane until you come to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion. With the CurrentVersion folder selected in the left pane, look in the right pane for an icon labelled WallPaperDir. Double-click it and edit the path in the Value data box to reflect your preferred wallpaper folder. Then click OK and exit the Registry Editor.

To see the effect, just right-click the desktop and choose Properties. With the Background tab in front, the list of wallpapers you see should include all wallpaper-compatible files (.bmp, .gif, .jpg, and .html) in the Windows folder and in the folder you designated. And if you click Browse, you'll see the contents of the folder containing the currently selected file in the list. Happy decorating!

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