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I was wondering if there is a specific file location for all the Windows 8 start screen backgrounds. I'm not interested in modifying the wallpapers, but I want to make an app with these wallpapers available.

  • Is there an available file location, and where can I find it?
  • Are the images copyrighted so that I cannot use them in my app?
  • If all fails, is there a website for Windows 8 resources?

Any help would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

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how about if I want to use a different image on my "start" screen background than on my desktop? how do I enter my image that I want to use? –  user269488 Nov 5 '13 at 0:05

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted
  • Is there an available file location, and where can I find it?

    The Login Screen Wallpaper is stored at (before you log on)
    C:\Windows\System32\oobe\background.bmp

    Desktop Wallpapers are stored at (after you have logged on)
    C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper\

  • Are the images copyrighted so that I cannot use them in my app?
    Yes, they have a copyright. You can't use them in your app even if its a free app.

    These desktop background (wallpaper) images contain the intellectual property of Microsoft and other third parties. They are offered for download solely for your own personal use. Any other use, including the redistribution of the desktop backgrounds, or any other conduct in contravention of the applicable Terms of Use or Microsoft Software License Terms, is prohibited.

  • If all fails, is there a website for Windows 8 resources?
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/wallpaper

Source
(scroll down for copyright paragraph)

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Wow. Thank you so much. It is a shame Microsoft is so greedy about their stuff, hehe, just kidding. I completely understand that. Thanks again! :-) –  user Dec 28 '12 at 18:06
1  
It should be noted that, although the wallpapers are copyrighted, there's nothing that should prevent you from checking the directory on the client's computer. Thus, the images would still be 'available' in your app, even if you didn't distribute them. Note that I recommend copying the contents (silently), if they can somehow be edited. –  Clockwork-Muse Dec 28 '12 at 21:40
    
I don't see any backgrounds for the start screen at that location. We are talking about the start screen right? –  Seth Mar 5 '13 at 4:04
    
I'm sorry but your answer is completely incorrect, when it comes to the location of the START screen wallpaper. The folder mentioned by you stores only the default wallpaper for the DESKTOP (completely different thing). Also, the wallpapers used for the desktop are actually stored in C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper. There you will find several folders with wallpapers used by some of the Windows themes available. –  Corporate Geek Aug 13 '13 at 11:20
    
@CorporateGeek Corrected. Since he was talking about wallpapers in plural (for his app, plus he accepted it O.o) I was in the mood he was looking for normal desktop wallpapers. After re-reading it you could be right. Maybe he was only after the login screen wallpaper –  nixda Aug 13 '13 at 11:45

Check C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper\Windows

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This is the location where you can find the default wallpaper for the Desktop, not the Start screen. –  Corporate Geek Aug 13 '13 at 11:21

I've done some research and testing on my own and found the correct answer:

The Start screen patterns/wallpapers are not stored in the location shared in previous answers. They are stored as resources inside one .dll file: C:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll.

For each pattern, there are five versions:

  • The mini preview of the pattern displayed in PC Settings.
  • Background image for devices with low resolutions.
  • Background image for devices with medium-resolutions.
  • Background image for devices with high resolution.
  • Large preview of how the Start screen will look when using the selected pattern, shown in PC Settings.

To extract these images, you need to use a special tool named Resource Hacker.

Regarding the copyright - what has been shared previously is correct. You can't use them in your app even if its a free app.

Complete information, including a step by step guide on how to extract these patterns from the imageres.dll file, can be found here: Where are the Start Screen Patterns Located & How to Extract Them?.

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