How do I adjust the Windows background?

Updated: 06/22/2018 by Computer Hope

Windows logoBelow we have listed various questions that relate to the Microsoft Windows background.

How do I change the Windows background?

The Microsoft Windows background can be adjusted by opening the background display properties. Follow the steps below for your version of Windows.

Windows 10

  1. Open the Start Menu and select the Settings option (gear icon) on the lower left-hand side.
  2. In the Settings window, click on the Personalization option.
  3. Click on the Background option.
  4. In the Background window, in the Background section, make sure Picture is selected in the drop-down list.

Note: If preferred, you can change the Windows background to a solid color by selecting Solid color in the Background section.

  1. In the Choose your picture section, click the Browse button to select a picture from your computer to use as the desktop background.
  2. In the Choose a fit section, select an option for how to display the background.

Windows Vista, 7, and 8

  1. Right-click any open part of the desktop screen.
  2. Click Personalize.
  3. Click Desktop Background.
  4. Click Browse.
  5. Find the location of the picture you want to use and click OK.
  6. Put a check mark in the picture you want to set as the Windows background.
  7. Choose from Center, Tile, Fit, Fill or Stretch for the Picture position option, to select how the picture is displayed as the background on the desktop.
  8. To do a picture slideshow on your desktop, either choose 'Select all', or hold down Ctrl and choose each picture you want to use. Also, you need to choose how often the picture changes. The time range can be anywhere from 10 seconds to 1 day.
  9. Click Save changes to set your selected picture(s) as the new Windows desktop background.

Note: If you have Windows 7 Home Basic or Windows 8 Basic on your computer, the "Personalize" option may be greyed out or not available at all. To change the desktop background, click the Start Menu button and type change desktop background in the Search box. In the returned search results, click the "Change desktop background" option. You can then use the steps above, starting with step 3, to change the Windows background.

Windows XP and earlier versions

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Open Display Properties in the Control Panel.
  3. Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000 users click the Background tab. Windows XP users click the Desktop tab.
  4. After selecting a new background picture, click OK to save the changes.

By default, Microsoft Windows has a listing of default Windows backgrounds. If you want to change the background to a different picture, such as a family picture, click the browse button and browse to the directory of the picture.

Note: Windows 95 users can only set BMP images as their desktop background. Therefore, if you have a different format of image, you need to convert it to a .BMP image before setting it as the background. All other Windows users should be able to set a .BMP, .JPG, or .GIF image as their background.

Why do I have no background image?

Within the listing of the available backgrounds, the first background is None. Selecting this option will disable any background image on your computer desktop. However, it is important to realize that when you change the background to None, your background will be a solid color instead.

Windows XP users can change this color from the same window as where they change their desktop. All other users need to change the color of their desktop through the Appearance tab.

How do I make a small image tiled across the background?

Within the desktop or background properties window, a user will be able to customize the layout of their image by selecting Center, Tile, or Stretch. Below is a brief explanation of each of these settings.

  • Center - Centers the image in the middle of the desktop. Doing this enables the user to only have one image set as their background instead of having the image tiled. If the image is smaller than your computer resolution, then you may have a solid color border around the image.
  • Tile - Tiling an image takes a smaller image and duplicates it multiple times across the Desktop.
  • Stretch - Stretching an image sets a single image across the whole screen. The smaller the image size, the more distortion you will notice when stretching an image. It may also result in pixelation of that image.

How do I make the background as only one small image and not tiled?

See above explanation.

Why am I unable to see my background?

Your desktop background might not display if the image file has been deleted or if active desktop has been enabled on the computer.

  1. Verify the image being used as the background is still available on the computer and can be viewed.
  2. Disable Active Desktop.