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!

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Scott Dunn

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?