When I open a transparent background PNG, I see a grey-white grid.
Is the grid embedded into the file? How can I change it?
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That's there to show that it's a transparent background; it's not actually embedded since it's just the way it's displayed in Photoshop. When you drop that onto your web page / document you won't see the grid.
You can change the parameters for the grid in Photoshop → Preferences → Transparency & Gamut.
A lot of websites post "pseudo" png's which are in fact jpg's with the photoshop checkerboard to make beleive, but the file doesn't really have transparency (be weary of picturename.png.jpg for instance). Even professional stock photo websites do it, its a really annoying and pointless practice and I wish people would stop doing it.