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How to stop "My Pictures" files from automatic inclusion in Wallpapers cache?

By vinaya_pande · 57 replies
Feb 29, 2008
  1. pacific-guy

    pacific-guy TS Rookie

    Are/were you having this kind of problem with Desktop Display Properties?

    FYI: The pictures do not have to duplicate. It is the duplicate folder that is the problem.

    In the sandboxed My Pictures folder, there was only ONE picture while in my original My Pictures folder there were hundreds of pictures.

    By moving the sandboxed picture to my original folder and deleting the sandboxed folder, the problem was solved (for me). I checked right before/after doing this, and it made a big difference in Desktop Display Properties.

    In your case, you have TWO folders named My Pictures so if you are still having this problem, then Windows might be automatically listing all your pictures from My Pictures in Desktop Display Properties due to there being two My Pictures folders.

    You need to reduce it to only one My Pictures folder.

    To test this and be absolutely sure of what I'm saying, you'd ideally want to imitate exactly what I did by moving your personal pictures elsewhere (to different named folder or original My Pictures folder) -and- deleting the alternate My Pictures folder (you can retrieve it from the recycle bin anytime) which is located on your D drive.

    But another approach (although I'm not sure it could work this way), you can rename your My Pictures folder (on D drive) to MyPhotos. You can change it back later if you want. Also use the search function to find any other folders named My Pictures to make sure you, as profile user, are using only one My Pictures folder.

    Keep doing the renaming of My Pictures folders (except the original) until you are all the way down to only the original. Keep track of those folders so you can come back and rename them later if you want.

    See if this fixes the problem, if the Desktop Display Properties issue is/was even a problem for you. I am addressing the fact that you have at least two My Pictures folders - irregardless of files not matching in both folders.

    If this does not work for you, it could be something else. I am just stating what has worked for me as the issue was exactly the same others were having. My solution fixed the problem (for me), and it might help others.
  2. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    I'm Happy

    You have an individual personal problem,
    I don't.
    Where you want to investigate is C:/Documents and settings.
    How many users are listed ?
    How many times is Desktop/"User"/My Documents folder there containing
    My Pictures folder ? I have 4 users and 1 My Pictures folder,
    I use for Forum pictures etc.
    I have my personal "My Pictures" that are not duplicates on my D: partition.
    I could create a My Pictures folder on E: if i wanted to.It would be empty unless
    I added pictures,not an OS mistake.
  3. pacific-guy

    pacific-guy TS Rookie

    I know about those C:/Documents and Settings user folders. This was kept in mind even as I wrote the last message. I am not referring to duplicate Shell folders -- I am referring to duplicate non-Shell folders, especially the ones you have access to based on your user profile. If you are a limited user with permission restrictions, your account will not detect the duplicate non-Shell folders.

    I am not sure you ever had this problem of "My Pictures" files being automatically included in Wallpapers cache. Is this what you mean by not having an individual personal problem? That you never had this problem?

    I resolved this problem already by doing the following:

    1. Using Start > Search > All Files and Folders function to locate any My Pictures folders (non-Shell)
    2. Finding duplicate My Pictures folder (non-Shell) located under Sandbox directory (in my case, not yours)
    3. Only one picture file in that sandboxed My Pictures folder, but hundreds in my original My Documents/My Pictures folder
    4. Checking Desktop Display Properties (still seeing 100s of pictures available to be chosen as desktop background)
    5. Moving that one picture file from sandboxed folder to the original My Documents/My Pictures folder
    6. Deleting the sandboxed My Pictures folder
    7. Re-checking Desktop Display Properties (and saw only 30-35 pictures available) - problem solved

    I did nothing else between each of 1-7, and notice how 4 and 7 came out different. Why would this happen unless the system wasn't somehow confusing Shell and non-shell My Picture folders? What else could explain this? Do you have a better answer?

    I can find no other explanation. There seems to be a solid correlation based on 4-7 when it comes to either moving the picture file or deleting the non-Shell folder (most likely deleting being the correlation) and the problem disappearing immediately afterwards.

    Although what I do not understand is why there does not seem to be a correlation if I did things in reverse (creating a non-Shell My Pictures folder under the exact same directory the deleted folder was in). This did not cause the problem to come back -- and this is what makes no sense.

    Computers are strange sometimes. But at least my problem is gone, and I am hoping this information can help others because I did not find a direct solution on other message boards.
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,499   +2,294

    IMHO....The "My Pictures" Folder Concept is Way, Way, Overrated......

    I store my pictures in folders on a volume drive. The folders are arranged by type of photo, or download location, specific person, event, airplanes, flowers , whatever.

    Basically, no folders are nested. Right click on the drive, click "explore" and you will find my photos in folders which you could browse.

    I don't let Windows take care of any editing work, and my storage and organization is taken care of by Photoshop Elements 5.0.

    Any Wallpaper I have is stored in a folder on said volume drive. These are edited and optimized files and sized for whichever monitor I am using at the time. All of the wallpaper files are stored as ".jpg" (jpeg), and never, ever ".bmp" (bitmap)

    So, one wallpaper folder might be called "Wallpaper 1680 X 1050" and would only contain wallpapers of 1680 X 1050.

    Now, when I mount any of these files to the desktop, it then appears in the available wallpapers list in desktop properties. When I change the picture, it goes away.

    That said, NEVER click the APPLY button, only click OK to change the wallpaper.

    You can call this post oversimplified, impractical, or just plain stupid, but I don't have any of the problems that have been described in this thread, and I don't use the "My Pictures" folder for storing my photos either.
  5. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    My recent files

    I am user SCW.
    This is how they get duplicated.I forgot how to stop it though.
    Every file you use gets copied here.I just scanned a picture and it was save twice.
    I just delete the contents once and a while.

    Attached Files:

  6. pacific-guy

    pacific-guy TS Rookie

    Post count of 5 or greater is required for link to be posted... #4 here.
  7. pacific-guy

    pacific-guy TS Rookie

    #5 here. Would not let me post links, again.
  8. pacific-guy

    pacific-guy TS Rookie

    captaincranky, nothing wrong with being organized and oversimplified at times. Personally, I tend to be a very organized kind of person. Good idea how you utilize Photoshop Elements 5.0 for organization purposes. I'll have to look at that.

    I already have resolved this enumeration problem -- I was simply trying to understand why it happened, so that if it happened in the future I'd know exactly what to do. I had some correspondences on enumeration at this thread: http://aumha.net/viewtopic.php?f=62&t=32756&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

    I discussed the enumeration issue with a guy named Bill who knows quite a bit. It is hard to know for sure the inner mechanism of (1) what caused enumeration to suddenly occur for about 1,200 of my pictures in My Pictures/subdirectories, and (2) why enumeration of the normal directory went away after I deleted that sandboxed directory.

    But there is a cutoff limit. The # of matching picture types that defines cutoff limit may vary by picture file type. I am not sure on this.

    Your suggestion on the separated Wallpaper folders by size is interesting. I like different and I may try something like that sometimes.

    zipperman, I'm not sure that shortcut My Pictures folders count. I did see a similar "Recent" My Pictures shortcut when I did the search prior to deleting the sandboxed My Pictures folder. I did not have to delete the "Recent" My Pictures shortcut - the only folder I deleted was that sandboxed My Pictures folder.

    The timeframe between my before-and-after comparsions prior to deleting that sandbox directory was only two minutes. One minute the enumeration was there, and the next minute it was gone.

    I don't believe there is anything to worry about with the "Recent" My Pictures shortcut, since that shortcut is not a folder of its own. Shortcuts are simply references to folders. Shortcuts and folders work differently in several ways.

    My guess is I'm probably wasting my time trying to figure this out. I've resolved my enumeration issue already, but I hope this information helps others.
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,499   +2,294

    Cosmic Rays Did It......

    Once upon a time, many years ago, I read an article about transistor pathways becoming so miniscule that is was being hypothesized that cosmic rays could possibly knock out a a bit of data. I was in awe of this deep thinking paranoia. It added higher education with the extreme hysteria of the mob mentality.

    So much for the anecdotal portion of the program. Well, almost.

    A while back Firefox decided to stop displaying images (!) or (?) So I googled the problem. What I found out was, that somewhere in the bowels of "about:config" was a number setting that needs to be "1" for Firefox to load images. I in my muddled thinking wondered why the possibility needed to exist for it to be otherwise. I suppose it just goes to show I know very little about computers. Lo and behold the number was "3", so I changed it to one and FF has been happily loading images ever since. I suppose one could speculate that the setting exists so that a system administrator could prevent employees from browsing porn sites during working hours. No images, no fun, elegant yes?

    I only relay this story, to say that somewhere deep in the bowels of Windows, your "1" could have changed to "3" in a manner of speaking. It may be an obscure file configuration issue that none of us has actually experienced. Since I don't allow Windows to actually manage my picture files my "1" could be a "3" or pick a number from 1 to 10.

    It appears that Windows is automatically "backing up" your pictures. You might try checking out your backup settings, but I know that's a stretch.

    M$ throws in a lot of "feel good" software with Windows, "Paint", "Windows Movie Maker" and the like. But, it has to be said that M$ is trying to be all things to all people. And so the saying goes, "jack of all trades, master of none".

    I recommend looking into Photoshop Elements if you're really interested in editing your pictures. It has a fairly steep learning curve, but it will do photo editing and organizing work that Bill Gates could only m********* about. I wish I could...., I wish I could.... I wish I could.......so to speak.

    PSE >3.0< has become a freebie in many printers and other photographic hadrware, and is very, very serviceable. PSE 5.0 is probably the best to use with XP, but it's not included with any hardware that I'm aware of. IMHO, stay away from PSE 4.0, it's sort of the "Millenium Edition".

    PSE 6 is optimized for Vista, but I think Adobe is gravitating towards activated products. I'm not certain of that, but PSE 5.0 and below are just type in the serial number and you're good to go kinda products.
  10. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    My Desktops

    Pictures arn't system files.You can delete any or all you want,or just learn how
    to create folders to store pictures.You can only have 1 My Pictures folder in My Documents.Whats ends up there is your doing.Right click 1 to make it your desktop.
    These are my custom made desktops and how i choose 1.
    Created with Paint Shop Pro.

    Attached Files:

  11. fallendeatheate

    fallendeatheate TS Rookie

    Quick and easy solution to the problem.

    I had the same problem, here's how I fixed it.

    Instead of moving all your pics as everyone suggests, move your wallpaper to your MY PICTURES folder.

    Create a folder in M YPICTURES called WALLPAPER, put all your wallpaper images from c:\windows\web\wallpaper into this folder.

    Run REGEDIT go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion doubleclick on wallpaperdir and change path to the new WALLPAPER folder in your MY PICTURES folder. This stopped my pictures being in the list. Hope this helps.

  12. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    That fixes the past

    Heres how to fix the future.
    Right click a picture,select save as,then scroll to the location you have prepared.
    It defaults as My Pictures,but doesn't have to go there.
    As you see mine is Movies/Pictures .
    Test it with my Avitar.
  13. timwest16

    timwest16 TS Rookie Posts: 20

    Just to let you know. None of the solutions posted yet have worked.
  14. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Delete this (yes I said Delete)

    Run this:
    ”RUNDLL32.EXE user32.dll,UpdatePerUserSystemParameters”

    Note: I have not tested this.
    So make registry and System Restore backups

    Reply back if it worked


    And remove the system files thumbs.db from your entire computer
  15. timwest16

    timwest16 TS Rookie Posts: 20

    No idea what that was supposed to do. But still didn't work.
  16. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    So presently thumbs.db do not exist on your computer?
    And WallPaperDir is removed?

    And you still can see all your pics in My Pictures in Desktop Wallpaper properties?

    Please elaaborate more in future too
  17. timwest16

    timwest16 TS Rookie Posts: 20

    Kimsland, there is nothing to elaborate on. I have explained my problem a number of times in this thread right down to the tiniest detail.

    I followed your instructions. It didn't work. I don't know what else i can say.
  18. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    I usually spend hours on hours on something I just don't know, until I do know!

    But my computer does not do this fault
    Yes I have seen this before, and agree that it can happen, and is presently to you.

    I mentioned about Explorer.exe (editing) in one of my first threads (to the original poster) I still believe that Explorer.exe is the highest possibility.

    I do not expect you to edit Explorer.exe (although I have years ago, unrelated issue)

    I can only suggest to backup, and install Windows Clean (Although I wouldn't)

    Or wait, and wait for another suggestion here one day (maybe from me, when I have time)

    That's all.
  19. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    Is that so

    It's up to you to learn how to use a computer.You are posting about a very
    common everyday file useage.
    Did you not understand saveing my Avatar ?
    If so then ask.But your makeing all the mistakes.
    This isn't a Registry problem.Just basic file saveing that your complicateing.
    Did you try my Avatar example ?
    Take control of your computer.Put files where YOU want them
    not where Windows defaults .
  20. timwest16

    timwest16 TS Rookie Posts: 20

    Kimsland thank you for trying.

    Zipperman you don't seem to understand the problem. I explained the problem in depth at the beginning. I know how to use a computer and I know how to use the English language (which you seem to have a problem with). Your Avatar example is not relevant. I can save a file wherever i want. But as it happens i choose to use My Pictures.

    It is obvious that you don't understand the problem. I said right at the beginning that i don't want a work around. I want to fix the issue. The registry could be key in doing this, considering you can theoretically change the default wallpaper location, using the registry. However my computer does not do this (suggesting there is in fact an issue). I have also stated that I have a laptop which is kept constantly updated as well where the issue has not arisen. The computer one day started listing all of My Pictures in my wallpapers list. So there is clearly an issue, which given a lot of searching on Google etc other people have found.

    I thank everyone who has made useful comments and should anyone think or know of a solution please do post it here. But don't tell me I don't understand how to use a computer and that there isn't a problem.

  21. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    So theres no problem to post

    Quoteing you :
    I can save a file wherever i want. But as it happens i choose to use My Pictures.
    :rolleyes:You said it and thats where their going.Whats the point.?
    Read your Topic title and explain the above then.
    Your contradicting yourself.
    Don't reply with not (My Documents/My Pictures) too late.
    I have My Pictures folder on Drive D:
  22. timwest16

    timwest16 TS Rookie Posts: 20

    Zipperman I don't have a clue what you are talking about. My topic title doesn't contradict anything. As I said earlier you clearly don't understand what the problem is. Please read the topic from the beginning before commenting again.
  23. timwest16

    timwest16 TS Rookie Posts: 20

    I am just going to repeat the problem again, as it seems some people don't seem to understand.
    Ok guys very simply:

    1. Any photo in My Pictures is being picked up in the display properties box as a background. This is frustrating a) because of time to load display properties b) because it means that personal photos that are usually tucked away in seperate folders and sub folders are now on show c) I like to be in control of my computer d) because this is not an update to Windows XP (it has not happened on my Laptop which I keep up to date as well, nor has it happened on lots of other peoples computers).

    2. The pictures have not been duplicated, nor have they been copied into the default wallpapers folder found in C:\WINDOWS\Web. For some reason every photo contained in My Pictures even those in sub folders is now automatically detected and placed in the display properties wallpaper list. It has never done this in the 5 or even 6 years I have had my computer and I update it whenever there are updates available. And considering I have searched Google and seen people with this problem posting since 2004 it is obviously not an update,

    3. It is clearly an error with the system because you should be able to change the default folder that Windows gets its backgrounds from simply by going to registry entry below:


    And then changing WallPaperDir key to have a value of whatever location the folder is in.

    This has made absolutely no difference, no matter what folder I set it to

    4. As I said moving the photos out of My Pictures is clearly not a solution, simply a work around. If you don't know how to solve this problem, then please don't just repeat the same stuff.

    Thank you for your time, but please stop suggesting I move the pictures. A real solution to FIX the problem would be nice.
  24. zipperman

    zipperman TS Rookie Posts: 1,179   +7

    I also read this **

    Call it what you want.I don't have a clue either of what your asking.
    After you said This.

    Quoteing you : **
    I can save a file wherever i want. But as it happens i choose to use My Pictures.
    Where is this folder Called "My Pictures" "

    I have 2 My Pictures folders.
    1 in My Documents folder on the desktop.
    and 1 on My D:drive partition.
  25. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    I found an old thread here: http://phorums.com.au/archive/index.php/t-103913.html
    That states the user "Solved it" by removing one of the pics (a thumbnail? Or smaller pic I think he meant) from My Pictures.

    Note: "My Pictures" refers to "%USERPROFILE%\My Documents\My Pictures"

    Anyway, it could be related to just one pic in there causing it
    Also, do you happen to have the default Windows wallpaper pics in My Pictures?? (that might be it too)
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