How to Change the Desktop Background in Windows

Add some flair to your Windows desktop

Computer screen showing greenery
Tetra Images / Getty Images

Some people like to use pre-installed themes for their computer backgrounds. Others prefer a single, personal image, while some (depending on your version of Windows) opt for a slideshow-style background that constantly changes. Whatever your preference, here's how to change your desktop background.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

How to Change Your Desktop Background

There are several ways to change the desktop background on your computer, and the way you choose may depend on which version of Windows you have.

Right-Click on an Open Digital Image

Screenshot of Set As > Set as Background

The easiest way to make the change on any version of Windows is to open your favorite digital image, right-click on it, and from the context menu choose Set as desktop background.

In Windows 10, this process is slightly different, since you can set an image as more than just your desktop background. Double-click on an image to open it in the built-in Photos app. Just as with other versions of Windows, right-click on the image, then choose Set as > Set as background.

Right-Click on an Image File

Screenshot of Set As > Set as Background

Even if the image is not open you can still make it your background. From File Explorer (aka Windows Explorer in Windows 7), right-click on the file you want to use, then from the context menu select Set as desktop background.

Personalize Your Desktop

Screenshot of Personalize on desktop right-click menu

Another way to set your background is to right-click an empty area on the desktop and select Personalize from the context menu.

Alternatively you could go to Start Settings > Personalization > Background

In Windows 8 or Windows 7, select the Desktop Button background at the bottom of the Settings window, then continue.

From here, you can select the image you want from the ones offered under Choose your picture or you can choose Browse to find an image saved to your PC. 

How to Create a Windows 10 Slideshow

Screenshot of slideshow in background settings

Some people prefer to see a number of rotating images on their desktop instead of a single, static image. If you want to create a slideshow for your own desktop:

  1. Navigate to Start Settings > Personalization > Background. 

  2. Select Slideshow from the drop-down menu. 

    Screenshot of the Windows 10 Background settings options with
  3. A new option will appear directly below the drop-down menu called Choose albums for your slideshow. By default, Windows 10 will choose your Pictures album. If you'd like to change that, select the Browse button and navigate to your folder of choice via File Explorer. Once you've found what you want, select Choose this folder.

Once you create your slideshow, you can set how often it changes. You can choose to swap pictures every minute or just once a day. The default is every 30 minutes. Look for the drop-down menu under Change picture every to adjust this setting. 

A little lower down in the same settings window you'll also see options to shuffle your pictures, and to allow slideshows while on battery power—the default is to turn desktop background slideshows off in order to conserve power.