A copy of the current wallpaper can be found by entering one of the below paths in Windows File Explorer address bar.
Path 1 -
If you don’t find a copy of your current desktop background image at the above location, try the path below 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 1.
Path 3 [default Windows wallpapers] -
Check in one of the below folders -
- "4K" for 4K wallpapers,
- "Screen" for lock screen backgrounds,
- "touchkeyboard" for colorful abstract backdrops in Windows 11 2
- "Wallpapers" for default Windows wallpapers
Path 4 [wallpapers from installed themes (Aero, etc.)] -
Path 5 [wallpapers from per-user installed themes (including pre-installed from OEM)] -
Path 6 [if Windows Photo Viewer was used to set desktop wallpaper] -
%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows Photo Viewer\
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 (if set by the app itself). Follow below steps -
- 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).
- 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