Where are the desktop wallpapers located in Windows 11?

Apr 21, 2023
Updated • Apr 21, 2023
Windows 11 Help

When Windows 10 was released, Microsoft shipped it with a modern home screen background. With Windows 11, the company took it to a level further with multiple abstract wallpapers.

Microsoft also packed 6 themes in the operating system, including some really cool dark themes.

Where are the desktop wallpapers located in Windows 11?

The folder is sort of hidden, it is not located in the Pictures folder like common sense would have you believe. Instead, you can find the Windows 11 wallpapers in the following directory: C:\Windows\Web\

Tip: Windows 10 users can find the wallpapers in the same folder, read about it here.


You can read about the Bloom design on Microsoft's blog.

How to find the default wallpapers in Windows 11

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the following folder: C:\Windows\Web\
  3. It has 4 sub directories: 4K, Screen, touchkeyboard, and Wallpaper. Navigate to each folder to find the ones that you may like.

Each sub-folder in this directory, contains a few pictures in various sizes and resolutions. The primary wallpaper, which is called Bloom (it was inspired by flowers), and its dark mode variant are placed in the following folder: C:\Windows\Web\4K\Wallpaper\Windows

The Screen folder has 6 wallpapers, though one of these is just a solid color background. The Touch Keyboard directory is home to even more colorful abstract backdrops. The C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper is sort of a mixed bag and contains several images, some of which are Nature-themed ones, if that tickles your fancy. There are a couple of image sets with different colored versions of the same wallpaper, you can set the operating system to switch between them by enabling the slideshow option. But I should warn you, toggling the setting can have an adverse result in that it can cause screen flickering issues.

Tip: If you have a laptop or an OEM desktop that included Windows 10 or 11, the manufacturer's default wallpaper can be found in the C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper directory.

Spotlight does not save images that are downloaded from the internet in the Windows wallpapers folder. If you're interested in those, here's what you need to do.

How to find the Spotlight wallpapers in Windows 11

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Copy the following path and paste it in the file manager's address bar: C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Assets
  3. You should see a bunch of files in this folder with random alphanumeric names. Some of them may display a thumbnail preview, but most of them will not. These are the wallpapers that Windows Spotlight downloads occasionally.
  4. Copy the files to a different folder on your computer.
  5. The files won't be in a usable state, i.e. you won't be able to open them in Windows Photo Viewer or other apps. There is a simple fix for this issue.
  6. Rename the files by adding the .jpg suffix to the names. e.g. This will mark them as images, that you can view in any program of your choice.

Note: Windows also saves the icons for apps downloaded from the Microsoft Store in the Content Delivery Manager's folder, so may have to discard those images.

What is the big deal about the Windows 11 wallpapers folder? Why is this important?

Windows 11 only lists the 5 recent backgrounds that you used in the Settings > Personalization screen. So, if you changed wallpapers several times, the Settings app will not display the default backgrounds of the operating system. You will need to browse for them manually, and the folder is not exactly easy to find if you didn't already know about it. That being said, there is a simple way to restore the default backgrounds. All you have to do is to change the theme, and you will get its corresponding image set as your desktop background.

As I mentioned earlier, Windows 11 comes with 6 themes, each of which has its own wallpaper. But keep in mind that there are more backdrops available in the wallpapers folders, so you actually get some extra customization options. By manually changing the wallpaper, you can mix and match the images (including the hidden ones), with the built-in themes of your choice, to keep things fresh.

Having access to the official wallpapers has a few advantages. Let's say that Microsoft decided to remove the wallpapers and replace them with new ones, or edits the current version. You can simply revert to the original backgrounds quite easily. If you have some skill with image editors, you could modify the wallpapers to suit your needs and spruce up your desktop. You may even use the backdrops on your other devices.

If you don't have Windows 11 on your computer but want the wallpapers from it, head over to our previous coverage to download them. Do you like Bing Wallpapers? You can have your desktop wallpaper refreshed every day with the official Bing Wallpapers app from Microsoft, or the third-party program, Bingsnap. If you have an Android phone, you can use a combination of the Muzei Live Wallpaper app, and the Bing Image of the Day add-on, to get a new home screen image every day.

Do you like Windows 11's wallpapers? Which one is your favorite?

Article Name
Where are the desktop wallpapers located in Windows 11?
We show you where to find the default wallpapers in Windows 11.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 2:38 pm

    There is not still W11 23H2 and these instructions are nonsense by now. :[

    1. James said on August 21, 2023 at 8:48 pm

      It worked for me just fine. You’re probably not following the instructions clearly.

      1. Katrina Thompson said on August 30, 2023 at 3:25 am

        Just tried the password option and the OOBE option and didnt work.

    2. Anonymous said on September 7, 2023 at 10:33 am

      Worked perfectly. Thank OP.

    3. Anonymous said on September 15, 2023 at 11:26 am

      Worked perfectly for me just now. Specifically, the regedit option.

  2. 45 RPM said on August 22, 2023 at 9:02 am

    Is this cut and paste from a Microsoft PR paper, because it 1000% BS:

    “By listening to user insights, Microsoft has demonstrated its commitment to refining the Windows experience based on real-world needs.”

    Windows 11 is proof they don’t give a s*it.

    1. elong45 said on August 23, 2023 at 12:25 am

      Worked for me just now

    2. Robert N said on August 28, 2023 at 10:55 pm

      I agree! Windows 11 was a downgrade to me and I kept all 8 computers in our family on Windows 10 as a result. They didn’t listen to any customers. The taskbar was THE main reason I stayed away from Windows 11. With 6 monitors, it is impossible to navigate so many browser tabs, without the feature. I will try the new version in the virtual box to see if it is worth it yet.

  3. Anonymous said on August 23, 2023 at 11:33 pm

    Microsoft did a terrible job with this implementation.

    They simply need to employ the creator of StartAllBack to fix Windows. He is smarter and more talented than the entire campus of Microsoft employees.

    1. Anonymous said on September 4, 2023 at 11:36 pm


  4. Joe Mama said on August 24, 2023 at 12:10 am

    Thank you so much! I work in IT and this is extremely useful information!

  5. Anonymous said on August 27, 2023 at 9:34 pm

    Thanks man. The second method worked great!

  6. Anonymous said on August 28, 2023 at 1:16 pm

    I used the second method, and i got exactly what i expected.

  7. adrian said on September 1, 2023 at 12:52 am

    Using the Bypass 2: Use a banned email address email worked fantastically as I had gone to far to use the bypass 1.
    I will be back when I next have a problem.
    Keep you the great work

  8. John G. said on September 4, 2023 at 6:15 pm

    W11 File Explorer is the worst crap ever done. W11 is the biggest shame ever.

  9. MarineRecon said on September 4, 2023 at 9:14 pm

    Just one more reason for me to go to Linux when Windows 10 ages out.

    1. TelV said on September 19, 2023 at 11:46 am

      @ MarineRecon,

      Be careful which Linux distro you choose. Some of them don’t include the Wayland protocol which is a security issue i.e. apps can copy, paste and inject data without user interaction.

      It’s included in Fedora: https://docs.fedoraproject.org/en-US/fedora/latest/system-administrators-guide/Wayland/

  10. Dustyn said on September 4, 2023 at 9:28 pm

    How about a DARK MODE for your website? That would be oh so nice.

    1. Tom Hawack said on September 5, 2023 at 12:55 am

      Something like this : [https://img.justpaste.me/image/8617] maybe?
      Done with ‘Dark Reader Extension for ? Firefox’ [https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/darkreader/]

      This comment was written on [https://www.ghacks.net/windows-11-installation-has-failed-how-to-fix-this-upgrade-error/#comment-4573155}

    2. TelV said on September 19, 2023 at 11:49 am

      Definitely NOT! Once you get older and your eyesight starts to fail you’ll positively loathe dark mode.

      1. Mycroft1325 said on September 25, 2023 at 11:48 pm

        Not sure what eye problems *you’re* having, but for me the exact opposite is true. Dark Mode is MUCH easier on my Eyes.

        BTW- I’m 52, and have worked in IT all my life. Been staring at monitors for hours each day, most days of the week since the late 1980’s.

  11. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 2:05 am

    Microsoft completely ruined File Explorer by converting to XAML/WinUI/whatever new bloated modern garbage. Its worse than it ever was.

  12. Invoker said on September 5, 2023 at 3:32 pm

    i tested it on win10 current edition. speeds up explorer like a charm

  13. LOEL LARZELERE said on September 13, 2023 at 8:07 am

    SO what is the priority numbers to give preference to ethernet over wireless?

  14. christop_bader said on September 14, 2023 at 1:50 am

    Worked very well happy to have Windows Photo Viewer back in action in Windows-11

  15. Anonymous said on September 16, 2023 at 4:29 am

    Worked for me (registry option) thank god, I can use the search option to find things on my computer again. Thank you so much!

    1. TelV said on September 19, 2023 at 11:54 am

      Install Everything Search and dispense with Microsoft’s crappy search tool. https://www.voidtools.com/

      Martin wrote an article on it: https://www.ghacks.net/2020/10/09/add-everything-search-to-the-windows-taskbar-for-even-faster-searches/

  16. said on September 17, 2023 at 6:39 pm

    I presume the text “WindowsCopilot,,” is a typographical error (2023/09/17/how-to-disable-windows-copilot-in-windows/). The broken comment system unfortunately looks like it is populating itself via AI autopilot.

  17. Anonymous said on September 17, 2023 at 10:37 pm

    Hopefully, this Windows Copilot nonsense fails even more spectacularly than Cortana. Who requested this? We want all of the UX features removed back in 11, not this copilot nonsense.

  18. Anonymous said on September 17, 2023 at 10:51 pm

    I really don’t mind all of these Windows enhancement but Microsoft get one thing very wrong. ‘Opt in’, is far better than seek information and work to disable.

  19. ilev said on September 18, 2023 at 7:13 am

    Turn off Windows Copilot entirely is not good enough.

    How to uninstall Copilot entirely ?

    1. TelV said on September 19, 2023 at 11:57 am

      @ ilev,

      Use Gpedit or the registry. Explained in this article: https://www.ghacks.net/2023/09/17/how-to-disable-windows-copilot-in-windows/

  20. WilliamGatesTheight said on September 21, 2023 at 2:13 pm

    With that snake oil salesman Panos gone, hopefully Windows can return to a normal desktop operating system without all the insanity it has right now in Windows 11.

  21. Tachy said on September 21, 2023 at 3:19 pm

    Can we please stop being ‘politically correct’ (lying) and call them ads again instead of ‘suggestions’?

  22. TelV said on September 25, 2023 at 4:05 pm

    @ Martin,

    Does your gpedit hack also turn off all the other “subscribed content” shown in the registry screenshot? Do you happen to know what all those are?

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