What is Desktop Wallpaper?

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  • Written By: R. Kayne
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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Desktop wallpaper is the image that fills the background of your computer screen when all programs are closed. Some people choose to leave the desktop blank, filling it only with a color. Others use one of the default backgrounds provided by the operating system, such as a logo, a stock photograph, or an abstract design. But many people prefer to make custom desktop wallpaper from personal pictures or images found online.

In Windows™ operating systems, a right-click on the desktop will activate a pop-up menu. By choosing Properties then clicking on the Desktop tab, one can cycle through the various wallpapers that are provided by Windows. A small preview window allows a view of the wallpaper before applying the change to the desktop. You might see many familiar pictures here as these backgrounds are often displayed on computer systems at retail stores.

To customize your computer you can make your own desktop wallpaper from personal photographs. Navigate to the folder where your digital photographs are stored and right-click on any graphics file to see a pop-up menu. Choose Preview for a slide-show window to cycle through the photographs in the folder. When you find the picture you want to use as your desktop wallpaper, right-click on it and choose set as desktop background.


If you aren’t much of a shutterbug but would still like customized desktop wallpaper, the answer is as close as the Internet. Virtually any image found online can be used as a background image, providing it is of sufficient resolution. Normally, larger photographs and pictures work very nicely. Just right-click on the image, choose Save image as and give the file a name. It’s handiest to keep all images that you might like to use as desktop wallpaper in a single folder.

Small images are normally unsuitable for purpose use as they are typically taken at low resolutions. If a low-resolution image is expanded to fill the desktop it will look “blocky.” Small images can be tiled across the desktop in a repeated pattern, but this often doesn’t produce the best result. A small image can also be retained as is and simply centered on the desktop rather than expanded to fill it. This preserves clarity but leaves the rest of the desktop blank. A background color such as black might help to set the picture off.

Another option for jazzing up your desktop wallpaper is to visit websites that specialize in providing free background images. Stunning photographs and imagery are available for the taking. Have a favorite television show? Network websites often offer themed-based desktop wallpaper. If art is your passion you might consider visiting some online museums and using famous paintings for your desktop wallpaper. The possibilities are endless to keep your desktop fresh and inspiring. A change of pace is just a click away.


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Post 2

This was very helpful to a serious non-geek!

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