How to Change the Desktop Background in Windows 11

Try out Microsoft's latest wallpaper options

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, and Settings is how you access all of them.

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

    Or, if you'd rather use Settings, type WIN+I (that's an uppercase i) and then go to Personalization.

    Personalization highlighted from Windows 11 settings
  2. Ensure Background is chosen from the left panel, and then select the drop-down menu under Background on the right side.

  3. Choose Picture, Solid color, or Slideshow.

    Background options in Windows 11 settings
  4. If you chose Picture, select one of them from the list, or choose Browse to select a different picture.

    The color option instead shows a table of colors and a Custom color button you can use to find the exact color you want the wallpaper to be. This is how you change the desktop background from black to white, or from any other color into a different one.

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

    Blue wallpaper chosen as desktop background in Windows 11

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 of an image. Instead of opening Settings and navigating through the menus, you can apply the desktop wallpaper directly from the image you're wanting to use.

After downloading the picture you want to use, or locating one already saved to your computer, there are two methods for getting that picture to be 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 right), and then go to Set as > Set as background.
Set as desktop background option in Windows 11

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:

C:\Windows\Web\

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 web folder in Windows 11

Lock Screen vs Desktop 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. You even get a unique option not available for the desktop background.

  1. Open Settings by searching for it or using the WIN+I shortcut.

  2. Go to Personalization > Lock screen.

  3. Choose an option from the Background 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.
    Lock screen background settings
FAQ
  • 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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