A good HD display or 4K monitor deserves a good HD wallpaper to go with it. Displays, even if they aren’t HD, UHD, or 4K displays have excellent picture quality and you probably try and find good, high quality wallpapers for you desktop. Unlike macOS which sells itself on how visually stunning it is, Windows 10 leans more towards practicality. In an attempt to optimize system performance, Windows 10 compresses wallpapers which means you’re probably not getting your HD wallpaper’s best quality. Here’s how you can disable wallpaper compression on Windows 10.
In order to disable wallpaper compression on Windows 10, you will need to edit the Windows Registry. This requires administrative rights. It’s a good idea to backup the registry before you make any changes to it. There’s no way to reset the registry to default without resetting Windows and you don’t want to have to go through all that.
Disable Wallpaper Compression
Use the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run dialog. Type regedit and tap the Enter key to open the Windows Registry. Navigate to the following location (use the search bar at the top if you’re on the Fall Creators Update or later).
Right-click the Desktop key and select NewDWORD (32-bit) Value. Name it;
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Double-click the new string and in the Value data field enter ‘100’. Change the base value from Hexadecimal to Decimal, and click OK.
Close the Windows Registry and restart your system. Now, apply your wallpaper again from the Settings app. To undo this change, simply delete the DWORD value you added.
Impact On System
As mentioned, Windows 10 compresses the wallpaper image to make sure your system runs smooth. Visual enhancements of any sort generally slow a system down. With graphic intensive apps like games, the dedicated GPU can handle rendering but the same can’t work for something like your desktop wallpaper. Your GPU isn’t going to render your desktop. It’s always going to be handled by the on-board graphics card.
This begs the questions as to what impact an uncompressed wallpaper will have on your system. If you have even a modest bit of RAM, and a fairly recent graphics card, you won’t notice much of a difference. If you have an SSD, you probably won’t see any difference in performance at all.
If you have an HD or 4K display, it’s safe to assume your system specs are more than capable of rendering an uncompressed wallpaper for your desktop. Microsoft intended Windows 10 to be able to run on old, low spec systems and it has features that make that possible. Disabling some of those features on a more capable system will not necessarily slow it down.