Where does Windows 7 store background images?

I love having different background images, especially the fantastic images that come with the various Bing themes that you can download for free. As of this post, there are three Bing themes you can download. However, I just want the images all collected together so I can make one big Bing theme. Where does the theme installer store these images*?

To locate the images, right-click an empty part of your desktop and click Personalize. This will open the Windows 7 Personalization window, displaying all your themes. Now, click one one of your installed themes, then, at the bottom of the window, click on Desktop Background. There you will see the path to the image files (see yellow highlighted area; click image to enlarge):

However, Microsoft has chosen to make this location hidden from you if you were to try and use Windows Explorer to follow the path shown. To override this setting, open Windows Explorer from the taskbar and click on Tools>Folder Options and then go to the View tab. There you will see an option to ‘Show hidden files, folders and drives’. Put a dot in the circle beside it.

Click OK and now you will be able to navigate to the folder path shown in the Personalization window. Once there, copy all the images you want to a new location (in your Pictures folder, for example). Label it Bing Images or something similar. To create a new folder, right-click an empty space within the Pictures window and select New>Folder, or click the New Folder button along the top of the window.

Once you have copied all the images, go back to your Personalization window, and browse to the new folder you created to select it for the source of your background images. Then, change the window colour and sounds to suit your taste. Once you are happy with your custom theme, don’t forget to save it!

*Note: if you are looking for the images from the themes that come preinstalled in Windows 7 (Characters, Landscapes, etc) they can be found under C:/Windows/Web/Wallpaper. This is not a hidden folder.