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Windows degrades Desktop Background images

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  1. #11



    Junior Member

    Join Date : Oct 2012
    Posts : 7
    Windows 8


    Okay guys, I fixed the issue with some help. Here's what's happening. Windows 8 is definitely downgrading the quality of all of our backgrounds. I believe this is in an effort to speed up the system by working with smaller files and using less memory. When you set an image as your desktop background in Widows 8, Windows saves an extremely lossy JPEG from your chosen image and puts it in a designated folder. This is the image used as your background, and it is a highly compressed duplicate of the file you chose. In my opinion, it looks bad, but if it's not bothering you, then I wouldn't worry about it, it may effectively serve a purpose (but I can't imagine how).

    To get the wallpaper to look good again, you'll have to trick Windows (who doesn't love fooling machines?) into thinking it is using it's compressed file by finding that file and replacing it with a file of the same name and extension, only at a minimum compression setting. Refresh the display by right clicking the background to see if you were successful. In some instances apparently the display will revert after a reboot, but mine has not. To learn where that file is located, look here: Windows 8 Compresses Wallpaper - OverclockersClub Forums Let me mention that to perform this fix, hidden files and folders must be visible.

    Find fredknex's post and follow his instructions. It seems he refutes his own findings by the edit he posted, but it worked for me and I have rebooted and refreshed multiple times since then. Windows 8 may or may not fix this issue in the future, but if it's bothering you as much as it bothered me, you can easily fix it yourself now.
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  2. #12
    Joga's Avatar

    Junior Member

    Join Date : Sep 2012
    Posts : 8
    Windows 8 Pro 64-bit


    I've noticed the compression too. I wrote a post about it on Neowin here. The TL;DR version: to get uncompressed wallpaper in Windows 8, just convert it to a .png and then right-click -> set as wallpaper from File Explorer. (for Windows 7 it's a bit different - convert to .png, open it in Firefox and set as wallpaper from there)
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  3. #13



    Junior Member

    Join Date : Oct 2012
    Posts : 7
    Windows 8


    I swear, I thought I'd tried PNGs to no avail, but I tried again and that worked. PSDs on the other hand did not. Still, I could have sworn I'd tried using a dozen PNGs

    Unfortunately, though, in any event, the colors on your background image will be significantly dulled in comparison to your PNG source. At least, they are on mine.

    EDIT: Ooookay, I had in fact tried PNGs just as I thought... which did not work when set through Irfanview. However, when set through Irfanview, the colors do remain accurate. If you have Irfanview installed, open a PNG in it and set it as the wallpaper through the options button in the Irfanview browser window. It looks garbled, but color accurate. Then, with the PNG file placed on your desktop, right click that and set as wall paper. The background instantly sharpens but also becomes under saturated.
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  4. #14
    Joga's Avatar

    Junior Member

    Join Date : Sep 2012
    Posts : 8
    Windows 8 Pro 64-bit


    Quote Originally Posted by CamWitt View Post
    I swear, I thought I'd tried PNGs to no avail, but I tried again and that worked. PSDs on the other hand did not. Still, I could have sworn I'd tried using a dozen PNGs

    Unfortunately, though, in any event, the colors on your background image will be significantly dulled in comparison to your PNG source. At least, they are on mine.

    EDIT: Ooookay, I had in fact tried PNGs just as I thought... which did not work when set through Irfanview. However, when set through Irfanview, the colors do remain accurate. If you have Irfanview installed, open a PNG in it and set it as the wallpaper through the options button in the Irfanview browser window. It looks garbled, but color accurate. Then, with the PNG file placed on your desktop, right click that and set as wall paper. The background instantly sharpens but also becomes under saturated.
    Huh, that's interesting. I don't see that on my end. I made a comparison photo showing the original image, set via irfanview, and set via explorer: http://goo.gl/JsvYk

    Admittedly, I only have a TN monitor so there might be some color subtleties that I can't see, but they all look the same to me, color-wise. Just the one set via irfanview (or Firefox, or Windows Photo viewer) shows obvious jpeg compression artifacts, whereas the one set via the desktop is a perfect copy of the source image.
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  6. #15



    Member

    Join Date : Oct 2012
    Posts : 50
    Windows 8
    USA us south dakota


    No compression on my end either..
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  7. #16



    Junior Member

    Join Date : Oct 2012
    Posts : 7
    Windows 8


    So, I am VERY confused. I decided to take a screenshot of my wallpaper with the Irfanview window of the same image open to display the contrast between the color in the two images. Success. However, strangely, if I set the screenshot as the wallpaper, the colors are unaltered. The dulled image gets no more dulled while the vibrant image in the shot stays vibrant. My monitor is calibrated with a Spyder 3 Elite, and as such there could possibly be some wonky stuff going on with the software. But I really have no idea. The original PNG from the PSD is still dulled, but when I take a screenshot of the vibrant version on the desktop, it comes out correctly. All I can gather really is that photoshop is attaching a different color profile to the file or something, which is discarded when the screen is taken. No idea. Here is a digital painting I have been working on.

    The PNG that shows the color difference that I am experiencing (this should not be affecting you guys, dunno what it is with mine... )
    Untitled | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    ...and that same PNG actually se as the wallpaper, now presented perfectly accurately.
    Untitled2 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Well, that is somewhat perplexing. Oh well, some experimentation will be needed.
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  8. #17
    FuturDreamz's Avatar

    Spacemonaut

    Join Date : Jan 2010
    Posts : 688
    Windows 8 Pro
    ca alberta


    Do you have desktop syncing enabled? I have a slideshow set as my background and I've discovered I had to disable syncing otherwise some of the pictures are cached elsewhere for other computers.

    perhaps the default settings caches the picture at a lower resolution.
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  9. #18
    Joga's Avatar

    Junior Member

    Join Date : Sep 2012
    Posts : 8
    Windows 8 Pro 64-bit


    Quote Originally Posted by CamWitt View Post
    So, I am VERY confused. I decided to take a screenshot of my wallpaper with the Irfanview window of the same image open to display the contrast between the color in the two images. Success. However, strangely, if I set the screenshot as the wallpaper, the colors are unaltered. The dulled image gets no more dulled while the vibrant image in the shot stays vibrant. My monitor is calibrated with a Spyder 3 Elite, and as such there could possibly be some wonky stuff going on with the software. But I really have no idea. The original PNG from the PSD is still dulled, but when I take a screenshot of the vibrant version on the desktop, it comes out correctly. All I can gather really is that photoshop is attaching a different color profile to the file or something, which is discarded when the screen is taken. No idea. Here is a digital painting I have been working on.

    The PNG that shows the color difference that I am experiencing (this should not be affecting you guys, dunno what it is with mine... )
    Untitled | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    ...and that same PNG actually se as the wallpaper, now presented perfectly accurately.
    Untitled2 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Well, that is somewhat perplexing. Oh well, some experimentation will be needed.
    Huh, that's weird. Yeah, I can see the difference in vibrancy between the two images. It might have something to do with your Windows color profile. I know sometimes photos viewed in Windows Photo Viewer will have a yellow tinge to them, and I have to reset the color profile to the sRGB default.

    It may be that the color profile set by your Spyder 3 Elite is getting applied to image viewers like irfanview, but not to the desktop.
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  10. #19
    xankazo's Avatar

    Member

    Join Date : Jun 2012
    Santo Domingo
    Posts : 19
    Windows 8 Enterprise x64 Evaluation
    Dominican rep


    Quote Originally Posted by Joga View Post
    I've noticed the compression too. I wrote a post about it on Neowin here. The TL;DR version: to get uncompressed wallpaper in Windows 8, just convert it to a .png and then right-click -> set as wallpaper from File Explorer. (for Windows 7 it's a bit different - convert to .png, open it in Firefox and set as wallpaper from there)
    Thank you!!!!
    This definitely works and it was something that was bugging me since Windows 8 came out!
    In Windows 7 setting the wallpaper from Faststone Image Viewer was perfect. I was shocked to see the degraded results from this method in Windows 8.
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  11. #20



    New Member

    Join Date : Jul 2013
    Posts : 1
    Windows8
    USA us texas


    I am trying to resize some personal pictures in my Library/My Pictures. They are pictures of my new grandbaby but some are too big. I have tried Paint resizing and other apps but none seem o work. I saw where someone used the snipping tool and I will try that. Some pictures fit perfectly while others are just way too big and I notice resolutions are different. What is best way to fix this on a permanent basis when I upload pics from my smart phone?
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