5 Fixes to Try If Windows Displays a Black Wallpaper

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Are you frustrated with your Windows system randomly showing a black wallpaper instead of your chosen background image? Not only does this issue affect the aesthetics of your system, but it can also impact your productivity. In this article, we’ll discuss the causes of this problem and provide you with some effective troubleshooting solutions to fix it for good.

Before we dive into the specific solutions, let’s make sure you’ve covered some basics. First, check if you have updated your display drivers. Outdated or corrupt drivers can interfere with the proper display of images and cause issues like the black wallpaper you’re experiencing. Additionally, running the SFC (System File Checker) and DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) scans can help identify and replace any faulty system files on your PC.

If those simple fixes don’t do the trick, let’s move on to the solutions below:

1. Modify Display Settings

Windows has default display settings that manage the desktop background, and it’s important to ensure they are properly configured. Here’s how you can do it:

Windows 10

  1. Press Windows + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to “Ease of Access -> Display.”
  3. Scroll down in the right pane and toggle on the “Show desktop background image” option.
  4. Restart your computer and check if the problem has been resolved.

Windows 11

Windows 11 offers different types of desktop backgrounds, such as Picture, Solid color, Slideshow, and Windows spotlight. You can try setting the background type to Picture:

  1. Press the Windows+ I keys to open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to “Personalization -> Background.”
  3. In the “Personalize your background” section, expand the drop-down and select “Picture.”
  4. Set a new desktop background and check if the error has been resolved.

2. Manually Set the Wallpaper

Try setting the wallpaper manually to override any corrupted or missing system files that may be causing the black wallpaper:

  1. Open the File Explorer and navigate to the location of the image you want to set as your wallpaper.
  2. Right-click on the image and choose “Set as desktop background” from the context menu.

3. Perform a Registry Fix

Repairing any corrupt or misconfigured registry entries related to display settings can also resolve the issue. Remember to create a registry backup before proceeding:

  1. Press the Windows + R keys together to open the Run window.
  2. Type “regedit” in the text field of Run and click “OK.”
  3. Click “Yes” in the User Account Control prompt.
  4. In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following location:
  5. Double-click on the “Wallpaper” entry in the right pane.
  6. Check if the path entered for the wallpaper is accurate under the “Value data” field.
  7. If necessary, change the path by copying the desired wallpaper file’s location in File Explorer and pasting it in the “Value data” field.
  8. Click “OK,” close the Registry Editor, and restart your computer.

4. Restart the File Explorer

The File Explorer utility is responsible for managing the Windows user interface, including background images. Restarting File Explorer can resolve any temporary bugs or glitches that may be affecting it:

  1. Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys simultaneously to open the Task Manager.
  2. Click on the “More details” option at the bottom.
  3. Locate “Windows Explorer” in the list, right-click on it, and choose “Restart” from the context menu.
  4. Once the process restarts, close the Task Manager window and check if the issue has been fixed.

5. Clean Boot Your Device

A third-party background process can interfere with Windows Explorer, causing it to fail in displaying the background image properly. Performing a clean boot can help identify if this is the case:

Here’s how:

  1. Press the Windows + R keys together to open the Run window.
  2. Type “msconfig” in the text field of Run and click “OK.”
  3. In the System Configuration window, go to the “Services” tab and check the box that says “Hide all Microsoft services.”
  4. Click on “Disable all” to disable all the remaining services.
  5. Go to the “Startup” tab and click on “Open Task Manager.”
  6. In Task Manager, disable all the startup programs one by one.
  7. Restart your computer.

If the problem doesn’t occur in the clean boot state, it means a third-party program running in the background is causing the issue. You can then remove the faulty program from your system or perform a system restore to a previous state where the black wallpaper issue was not present.

Now that you’ve resolved the black wallpaper issue, it’s time to customize your desktop again. You can use the Bing wallpaper app or try different Windows themes to make your desktop more appealing.

Image credit: Pexels

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