Occasionally, my desktop background image will disappear and be replaced with a standard blue screen. The only fix I currently know of is to either pick another image to set as the background, or reset my computer. It also happens (sometimes) when I attempt to open an application as an administrator and at the prompt that asks "Do you want to allow this app to make changes to this device," the background image disappears.

I saw this question, but it's for Windows XP, and it also appears to be happening to them only when they try setting a background. I tried refreshing the desktop, but the image did not restore.

My graphics driver is up to date. I have two monitors, one 4k one as my main display, and a smaller 1080p one as my secondary. Is there a system setting that can be altered that may be doing this?


First, be sure a high-contrast theme isn't being set in Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Personalization. This may happen, for example, is Ease of Access is started by a key-press combination.

Second, check if it's due to Windows Explorer crashing and restarting. To test this, with no application running, open Task Manager (Ctrl-Shift-Esc) and on the Details tab right-click on explorer.exe and End task. The background will revert to blank and the Task Bar will disappear.

In Task Manager, now select File | Run new task and enter "explorer.exe". If all is well, in a few seconds the screen should revert to your selected background image and the Task Bar, populated with all normal icons, should reappear. If not, then there is an issue with Explorer configuration. Check the Windows Event Log and use the command line utilities DISM and SFC to check system files.

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    Closing and restarting explorer.exe brings back the image. That's a good temporary fix at least instead of having to restart my computer or selecting a new image. I wonder if it's crashing and restarting real fast when this happens. Is there anyway to know if that's the case? – Tim G. May 28 '17 at 16:08
  • Check the Windows Event Logs for Explorer errors. Glad that restarting Explorer works. If you use SysInternals Process Explorer instead of Task Manager, you can choose to Restart a process -- one step less. Again, MS tools DISM and SFC should repair errors in Explorer. – DrMoishe Pippik May 28 '17 at 22:51

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