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I had a nice background, a photo from the internet. It had been there for quite awhile. Then I tried to set it to a different one, another picture from the internet, by right-clicking and doing "Set as desktop background...", but it instead set my background to blue. And now I can't change it.

I also tried downloading this photo (and a number of others, all jpegs) but when I tried to open them to set as background directly from the downloaded file, it just said it couldn't, because the file was damaged or had an unrecognized format. JPEG?? Now the Mac can't open JPEGS?

This is the photo I was using.

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The photo was probably saved to a temporary location when you set it as the background originally. But when you changed it to a new file, it lost its reference address and essentially 'forgot' what the previous image was. As for why you can't load a new file, I'm not sure. – OghmaOsiris Aug 23 '12 at 17:35
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Go into System Preferences->Desktop & Screen Saver. Change the desktop to one of the defaults. Then drag the image file into the window. That should fix it.

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This is exactly how I change my background. – OghmaOsiris Aug 23 '12 at 23:39

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