Your Windows 7 desktop has turned black? Microsoft has a fix on the way... and workarounds in the meantime [Updated]


Windows 7 is dead: you know this. There are no more Windows 7 updates for most people: you know this. And some believe Windows 7 should be made open source: yeah, right

Whatever the status of Windows 7, the fact of the matter is that there are plenty of people still using it, and the last update (KB4534310) caused a strange problem for some users, turning their desktops black. Microsoft has now acknowledged the issue, but says that it will only fix the bug for those who are willing to pay.

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That a fix should only be available to Windows 7 users paying for Extended Security Updates (ESU) is no surprise – Microsoft made this quite clear some time ago. But for the last ever update to be made available to all Windows 7 users to cause problems that will never be addressed is... irritating for those affected -- to say the least.

Microsoft has said that it will issue a fix for ESU customers, and until this is released next month on Patch Tuesday, it has suggested a workaround that can also be used by non-paying Windows 7 users.

The company speaks about the issue in a post on the Known Issues page for Windows 7:

Custom wallpaper displays as black

After installing KB4534310, your desktop wallpaper when set to "Stretch" might display as black.

Affected platforms:

  • Client: Windows 7 SP1
  • Server: Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

Workaround: To mitigate the issue, you can do one of the following:

  • Set your custom image to an option other than "Stretch", such as "Fill", "Fit", "Tile", or "Center", or
  • Choose a custom wallpaper that matches the resolution of your desktop.

Next steps: We are working on a resolution and estimate a solution will be available in mid-February for organizations who have purchased Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU).

While non-paying customers may well be hoping that Microsoft will relent and make this fix -- and others -- available to them, this seem extremely unlikely. The company has already confirmed that it will only fix a serious Internet Explorer bug for Windows 7 ESU customers. It will be interesting to see if 0patch decides to fix the black desktop problem with its own micropatch system.

Microsoft now says it will release a black desktop bug fix to all Windows 7 users for free

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