Path to current desktop backgrounds in Windows 10?

A copy of the current wallpaper can be found by typing the below path in Windows File Explorer address bar.

Path 1 -

If you don’t find a copy of your current desktop background image here, try below path instead.

Path 2 -

Note: The file TranscodedWallpaper in Path 2 does not have a file extension. Use "Open With" or "How do you want to open this file?" dialogue box and select any image viewer, such as, "Windows Photo Viewer", "Honeyview" or the "Photos" app.

Note for Windows 10: The above locations have limitations. For example, if the wallpaper you’re looking for is no longer visible in the ‘Background’ tab in the Settings app, you can’t recover it. It will work for your last five wallpapers but nothing older. (Source)

Default Windows wallpapers can be found in


You will see 3 folders

  • "4K" for 4K wallpapers,
  • "Screen" for lock screen backgrounds, &
  • "Wallpapers" for Default Windows wallpapers

Installed themes (Aero, etc):


Per-user installed themes (including pre-installed from OEM):


If you are looking for the location of Lock Screen images - visit this SuperUser question.

Personally, I use John's Background Switcher to manage my desktop background.

John's Background Switcher has an option to view the current/previous desktop background (set by the app itself). Follow below steps -

  1. Right click on the tray icon and select View Current Picture and the current desktop background opens in Windows Photo Viewer (or your default image viewer).
  2. In Windows Photo Viewer, you can right click on the image & select Open File Location to view the original location of current desktop background in windows File Explorer.

To activate Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10 visit this article on HowToGeek

I have Windows 10, version 1709. One of the other answers got me looking in the registry and I found exactly what I needed in clear text at

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WallPaper

No decoding needed.

Windows 8 and 10 still store the original path of the current background image - rather than the cached / transcoded file as in xypha's answer:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\TranscodedImageCache

Microsoft doesn't want things to be easy though: this isn't plain text so you have to decode it from binary.

The Winhelponline website has compiled a couple of scripts (VBA and PowerShell) which can print the image name, and launch Explorer to point to the image file.


Windows 10