How to Change the Desktop Background in Windows 11

Use Settings to make any photo or color your wallpaper, or to create a slideshow

What to Know

  • Right-click desktop > Personalize > Background.
  • Select a single picture, a color, or a folder of photos.
  • Default Windows 11 wallpapers are stored in C:\Windows\Web\.

This article explains how to change the desktop background in Windows 11. You can pick from preloaded wallpapers, pictures of your own, or a solid color.

How Do I Change My Desktop Wallpaper?

There are three kinds of desktop wallpapers supported in Windows 11. You can change your wallpaper through the personalization settings.

  1. Right-click an empty area of the desktop and select Personalize.

    Alternatively, go to Start > Settings > Personalization.

    Personalize highlighted on the Windows 11 desktop
  2. Select Background.

    Personalize and Background in Windows 11 settings
  3. Select the Personalize Your Background drop-down menu and choose Picture, Solid color, Slideshow, or Windows spotlight.

    Personalize your background options in Windows 11 Settings
  4. If you chose Picture, select one of them from the list, or choose Browse photos to select a different picture. You can also right-click an image to pick which monitors to use it on.

    The Solid color option instead shows a table of colors and a View colors button you can use to find the exact color you want the wallpaper to be.

    For a slideshow, Windows will automatically cycle through images in your Pictures folder, but there is a button there that lets you choose any folder on your computer. There are also settings you can edit, like defining a schedule to automatically change the background and a shuffle toggle.

    Windows Spotlight cycles through Microsoft-provided backgrounds.

    View Colors in Windows 11 Settings

An Easier Method for Picture Backgrounds

The steps described above are easy enough to understand, but there's a much quicker way to change the desktop background if you want it to be an image. Instead of opening Settings and navigating through the menus, you can apply the desktop wallpaper directly from the image itself.

After downloading the picture you want to use, or locating one already saved to your computer, there are two methods for making it your desktop background:

  • Right-click the file (don't open it) and choose Set as desktop background.
  • Open the image, right-click it (or open the menu at the top), and then go to Set as > Background.
Set as and Background highlighted in Windows Photos

Where Windows 11 Stores Its Default Wallpapers

There are brand-new wallpapers in Windows 11. If you change the background to a picture of your own too many times, you might lose track of where Microsoft's images are within Settings. To use a default Windows 11 wallpaper if you don't see it in the settings, go into this folder:


From there, you can right-click the picture you want to use and follow the steps above to use it as the desktop background.

Windows 11 web folder path in Windows File Explorer

How to Change Your Lock Screen Background

You might notice, after changing the desktop background, it doesn't affect the lock screen background. The lock screen is where you enter your password to log in, so you see it before you sign in to Windows, before you even see the desktop background.

The lock screen background is controlled by an entirely separate setting, but it's still easy to change.

  1. Right-click an empty area of the desktop and select Personalize, or go to Start > Settings > Personalization.

    Personalize highlighted on the Windows 11 desktop
  2. Select Lock screen.

    Lock screen highlighted in Windows 11 Settings
  3. Choose an option from the Personalize your lock screen menu:

    • Windows spotlight automatically changes the background to pictures chosen by Microsoft.
    • Picture makes the background any picture you select from your computer.
    • Slideshow cycles through photos of your choosing based on the folders you pick.
    Personalize your lock screen options in windows 11 Settings
  • How do I remove a background from the desktop background list in Windows 11?

    Go to the Wallpaper folder as outlined above, right-click the background you want to remove, and select Delete. To remove a custom picture, locate the image file and follow the same steps. If you'd like to delete a Windows theme, right-click the theme from Settings > Personalization > Themes and select Delete.

  • How do I change the desktop background on Windows 10?

    To change the desktop background in Windows 10, follow the same steps outlined above to set your background by opening or right-clicking the file or from Settings > Personalization > Background. To change the background on multiple monitors, right-click the wallpaper and assign it to a particular display.

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