I recently purchased Windows 8 Pro and installed it with no problems. However, I am only able to change my wallpaper to either a solid color, or the default flowers picture. I can't use a custom image or one of the built-in images.

I can modify the theme's color, sounds, and screen saver, but when I try to change the background, it will automatically revert to the "Windows" theme. If I attempt to choose another built-in theme such as "Earth" or "Flowers", it will also revert to the "Windows" theme.

I found this thread after a quick Google search which tells me to delete a file called TranscodedWallpaper, but, after doing that, when I try to change the theme or background, it'll once again revert to the "Windows" theme and then the file I just deleted gets recreated.

This seems like a trivial problem, but nothing that I've tried has been successful. Sure, the daisies wallpaper is cute and all, but I'm more of an outer space guy.


Notice how choosing an image doesn't change the wallpaper: enter image description here However, choosing a solid color does: enter image description here

More here: https://i.sstatic.net/oqLII.jpg

  • wallpaper for desktop or for start view? Oct 29, 2012 at 1:47
  • It's for the desktop Oct 29, 2012 at 2:33
  • Probably it's better if you can post any graphic info here. Oct 29, 2012 at 16:32
  • Here are a few screenshots: imgur.com/a/sGadp notice how choosing a solid color changes the wallpaper, but choosing an image doesn't. Oct 29, 2012 at 19:51
  • 2
    I got a SOLUTION that works for me: 1. Go to: Control Panel\Ease of Access\Ease of Access Center\Make the computer easier to see 2. Disable "Remove background images (where available)" I hope that's works for you! Mar 30, 2013 at 13:44

8 Answers 8


I have experienced this problem as well and the only solution is to change from a transcoded wallpaper file by doing this:

Search for %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Themes\, then right-click the file entitled "Transcoded Wallpaper," and then select "Rename". Change the name to "transcodedwallpaper.old".

Double-click the "slideshow.ini" file. This should automatically open in Notepad. Erase all text that appears in this file (if there is any), and then click "File," followed by "Save" in Notepad. copy your background Image, and rename it "transcodedwallpaper"

Then, go to "CachedFiles" and the default image there, remove it. Paste your background image and name it "CachedImage_1440_900_POS4" or the name of the previous image.

  • Two problems: There is no slideshow.ini file, and after I've copied in the new image and given it the name of the old image, nothing happens. If I try to change the wallpaper, the new image is deleted and replaced with the old one. Thoughts?
    – Hubro
    Jan 10, 2013 at 12:33
  • OK, my bad, slideshow.ini was a hidden file, but it's already empty anyway, and my problem persists.
    – Hubro
    Jan 10, 2013 at 12:35

Have you activated Windows yet? Apparently, Windows 8 won't let you change the wallpaper until it is activated. It will not show any error message; it will just ignore your selection.

Yesterday I did a clean install and tried changing the wallpaper (before activating) and it didn't work. Same exact symptoms as you; it would automatically revert back to the "Windows" theme, no matter what I choose. Once I activated Windows and rebooted, changing the wallpaper worked perfectly.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think Windows 7 did this too.


Here is a way to change the desktop background to what you want. This has to be done the same way each time when you want to change the background, and only the "Fit screen" choice will actually work. Also, you will need to download TakeOwnership.zip, as you'll need it to eventually change the background.

  1. Right-click your desktop and select Personalize
  2. Select the Basic theme
  3. Close Personalization
  4. Go to C:\Windows\WEB\WALLPAPER\Windows, where you will find the background image - it's a file named img0.jpg (note that it's in fact a BMP)
  5. Right-click on this picture and from the context menu select "Take ownership"
  6. Copy your desired background image into this directory
  7. Rename img0.jpg to img.jpg (no need to change the file extension)
  8. Rename your own picture to img0.jpg (again no need to change the extension)
  9. Right-click on your picture and from the context menu select "Set as desktop background". The screen will turn black.
  10. Now rename your picture back to img1.jpg and rename the original picture back to img0.jpg
  11. Exit the directory and repeat steps 1-3

And there you have it, your desktop background. You can change colors etc. freely but not the image itself afterwards. Also you can not change the image position to "Fit to screen" or any other setting.


I figured this out after reading your first post: where you see the file transcodedwallpaper, open the folder 'CachedFiles', and replace the image in that folder with the image you want as your background, whilst keeping the same name.


Have you tried to assign a wallpaper outside the default windows "theming" utility? (the one you show us in screenshots).

Personally, whenever I want to assign a wallpaper, I rather open the image in some image viewer (e.g., IrfanView, FastStone Image Viewer, etc), and then choose the option of that app to set the image as wallpaper.

Another idea is trying to set an image as wallpaper directly from your browser. Simply right click any image in the browser (you can even open local images in it), and choose "Set as desktop background" or the like.

Tell me if that works.


Another possibility is that a Group Policy setting prevented wallpaper change. Try windows-R gpedit.msc, then User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Desktop. You will find Desktop wallpaper settings, it it was enabled you could try to set 'Not configured'


Go to Desktop -> Right Click -> Personalization -> Desktop Background -> Browse -> (Then choose whichever background you want) -> Profit :)

I'm assuming you're talking about the Desktop background since you mentioned daisies.

  • That doesn't work, It still reverts to the default theme. Oct 29, 2012 at 1:10

Your copy of Windows is not a final release, then. Users who downloaded their OS from torrents have been experiencing such an error. Google it. You probably own a pirated version of windows 8. Check with your distributor.

  • 4
    I bought it directly from Microsoft using their Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, and I have the receipt to prove it. Nov 7, 2012 at 3:44
  • -1 Not only is this answer inaccurate, but also prejudicing the OP about using pirated software was uncalled for. Dec 24, 2012 at 2:13
  • i agree you cant accuse somrobdy of piracy without proof
    – ben950
    Feb 7, 2013 at 14:50

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .