Microsoft's final Windows 7 update kills desktop wallpaper

Users say recent Windows 7 update has removed wallpapers – a bug or a conspiracy to push Windows 10?
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft has thrown a curveball at Windows 7 PCs after delivering its final patch this Patch Tuesday. Not only will be there no more free security updates, but the company's last update has reportedly blacked out the Windows 7 screen's background, meaning unsupported PCs no longer have wallpapers. 

Windows 7 users on Reddit have reported that recent Windows 7 updates have removed wallpapers, giving them instead an empty black image, as per MSPoweruser. The switch occurred after Windows 7 updates were released on January 14. 

Microsoft also noted in articles for the January 14 updates that Windows 7 screens would be hit with an interstitial detailing security risks.

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)    

"Starting on January 15, 2020, a full-screen notification will appear that describes the risk of continuing to use Windows 7 Service Pack 1 after it reaches end of support on January 14, 2020. The notification will remain on the screen until you interact with it," Microsoft warned

It's not known whether killing off wallpapers was an intentional strategy by Microsoft to push users off Windows 7 or merely a bug in the updates.

While most of the complaints about vanishing wallpapers by users on Reddit and the Microsoft Community Forum are from Windows 7 users, some Windows 10 users have also reported similar problems, suggesting it is a bug rather than a Microsoft conspiracy to nudge users off Windows 7. 

As for the intended Windows 7 security warning, Microsoft is offering users three options: Remind me later; Learn more; or Don't remind me again. The warnings will persist if users don't click on the 'Don't remind me again' button. 

Some users on Reddit have reported that rolling back the system to a point prior to the January 14 updates will restore the wallpaper. 

Others point to a Stretch configuration in settings as a potential source. 

SEE: After the Windows 10 rush, here's where the PC goes next

"I just had the same problem. However not all images seem to be affected. My main monitor is running at 1,920x1,080. A 2,560x1,440 image does not work for me while at least a 1,920x1,200 does," Reddit user Rusher0 said.  

"I did not check more resolutions. Also it turned out that different Picture positions (mine was set to "Stretch") work for said 2,560x1,440 picture."

ZDNet has contacted Microsoft for comment and will update this article if it receives a response.

Editorial standards