Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Can't Change Desktop Background

  1. #1


    Posts : 18
    Windows 8.1 x64

    Can't Change Desktop Background


    Windows 8 isn't letting me change my desktop background for some unknown reason. I've already searched around for solutions and everything seems to say "Activate Windows 8." However, my copy already is activated. Here's what's going on:

    When I go into the Personalize window and click the option to change the background, this appears:

    Click image for larger version

    Looks pretty typical. However, if I change the picture location to something else, this happens:

    Click image for larger version

    The pictures don't change to reflect the change in the picture location. If I click cancel and then try to change the desktop background again, this happens:

    Click image for larger version


    I have no idea what's going on here. Does anyone else have an idea?
    Last edited by Brink; 23 Jul 2013 at 18:16. Reason: embedded images

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 1,093
    Windows 8 Pro Windows 8.1 Preview


    You seem to have done your homework but just to be sure:

    Click image for larger version
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 18
    Windows 8.1 x64


    Yep, I've activated Windows.

    Proof:
    Click image for larger version
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 22,573
    64-bit Windows 10


    Hello Klaw, and welcome to Eight Forums.

    Does closing and reopening this window OR signing out and in allow you to afterwards?

    For now, you might run a sfc /scannow command to see if it may help if you have any corrupt system files.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 1,093
    Windows 8 Pro Windows 8.1 Preview


    Being the curious sort that I am, I went in search of an alternative strategy just in case Brink's suggestion doesn't work (but I'm sure it will). Anyway, I found several instances where people regained their ability to change their themes after performing this operation. Please note that I have just tested it on my rig without issue:

    Copy and paste the following path into the run box and press OK:

    %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Themes\

    Click image for larger version

    Once there, delete (or rename) theTranscodedWallpaper.jpg file, and then try to change your theme again.

    I have no idea if this will fix your issue but it might be worth a try if all else fails. Good luck.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 18
    Windows 8.1 x64


    Thanks for the help guys and thanks for the welcome, Brink, but neither of these methods helped. It's weird too since I thought for sure that sfc /scannow and Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth would work, but they didn't even after finding and fixing all corrupt files.

    Unless anyone else has any possible methods, I think I'll just wait until Windows 8.1 comes out and then do a clean install (hopefully that won't take too much life out of my SSD). It's not like this is harming anything.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 22,573
    64-bit Windows 10


    Klaw,

    Just to check, do you have any other files (ex: videos) saved in the C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper\Windows folder other than images?

    As a test, clear the thumbnail cache to see if there may be an issue with loading the images of the files.
    Do you have this issue while signed in any other user account?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 18
    Windows 8.1 x64


    Nothing out of the ordinary in the folder you mentioned, clearing the thumbnail cache didn't work, and the issue remains when signed into another account.

    This seems like a very bizarre error.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 22,573
    64-bit Windows 10


    Klaw,

    In addition to what JustATest posted above, close the personalization window, and double check this below again, then try changing the desktop background.

    Method 2: Corrupted TranscodedWallpaper.jpg

    If the TranscodedWallpaper.jpg file has become corrupted, you may be unable to change the desktop background picture. To resolve this issue, delete the TranscodedWallpaper.jpg file. To delete the TranscodedWallpaper.jpg file, follow these steps.

    1. Click Start, paste the following text into the search box, and then press Enter

      %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Themes\

    2. Right-click the TranscodedWallpaper.jpg file, and then click Rename.
    3. Change the file name to TranscodedWallpaper.old, and then click Yes when you are prompted.
    4. If slideshow.ini is listed, double-click this file. Slideshow.ini should open in Notepad. Select all the text in slideshow.ini if any exists, and then press Delete on the keyboard.
    5. On the File menu, click Save.
    6. Close Notepad.
    7. Close the File Explorer window, and then browse to the picture that will be set as the background image.
    8. Try to apply a background picture again.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 18
    Windows 8.1 x64


    Perhaps I should've pointed this out.

    I don't know if there was ever a problem with selecting a background by browsing for the picture, right-clicking on it, and selecting the option to make it the background. That's currently working now, but I never used that option before, so I don't know if it was broken before. I was more preoccupied with why the Personalization window was working.

    That being said, I've noticed that selecting the picture folders in the Personalization window partially works at the moment. First, here's a screenshot that I'll be referencing in this post:
    Click image for larger version

    In the default themes, the picture location is "Windows Desktop Backgrounds." What I kept doing before was selecting "Pictures Library" to find my other backgrounds and that kept messing it up, but I have no idea why. The only locations that don't screw it up are the two "Wallpaper" options (the same folder ended up being listed twice because I think I accessed it once with the "Browse" button and another time by right-clicking on a picture inside and selecting the option to use it as a background), "Windows Desktop Backgrounds," and "Solid Colors." If I click on any other locations, my original problem will resurface.

    I changed my background when trying to follow the last step of Brink's solution, but it was through right-clicking on it and selecting the appropriate option. That caused the picture location in the Personalization window to default to the Wallpapers folder. I decided to mess around and see if I could change the location. I could, but again, it was only to the four locations listed above. All the other ones caused the problem to resurface. Then, just to see what would happen, I switched back to a default theme and tried to see if I could change the location to any of the other folders. Again, it only worked on the folders mentioned above. I don't know if this was the case before I tried any of the solutions since before, I kept trying to click on the "Pictures Library" location, which caused the error. I only started messing around after following the last step of Brink's solution, which had me change my profile picture. If I click on one of the bad locations and screw up the window, closing the window and reopening it will get rid of the screw-up, but if I click on one of the bad locations again, the screw-up will arise again.

    I don't know if this actually helps anyone figure out what's going on. Like I said, this seems like a very odd error. I'll try to elaborate if you don't understand what I'm saying.

    On a side note, does anyone know how to get rid of one of the duplicate "Wallpapers" locations or why the "DesktopBackgrounds" location doesn't exist according to an error that pops up?

    Again, if this error seems too odd for anyone to find a solution, I can just wait to do a clean install once Windows 8.1 comes out.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Can't Change Desktop Background
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