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Dual Monitors: Use a Different Wallpaper on Each Desktop in Windows 7, Vista or XP

One of the most popular articles around here has been the article I wrote a year ago about using different wallpapers on each desktop using Active Desktop in Windows XP. The problem with that article is that it didn’t work in Windows Vista… but now we have a great solution that is also free.

Instead of paying money for software to use separate wallpapers, or creating a wallpaper in Photoshop, Jon Tackabury has created a Free piece of software that lets you easily set separate wallpapers for each desktop.

Once the software is installed, you’ll notice a new tray icon. Clicking the Desktop Wallpaper item from the menu will open up the dialog where you can set the wallpaper.

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You can click on each desktop in the display, and set display settings differently for each monitor, or span the wallpaper across the two.

image

Or you can even load wallpaper from Flickr, which is an incredibly cool feature. Type in “vista wallpaper” for some really nice images.

image

If you chose the Settings from the tray icon popup menu, you’ll notice that this application also adds a set of shortcut keys that can be used to move windows from one monitor to the other.

image

This is now a must-have application for my multi-monitor configuration. This application is donationware, which means you don’t have to donate anything, but you really should consider it.

Download DisplayFusion from Binaryfortress (Vista/XP/Win7)

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/7/07

Comments (67)

  1. Edwin

    Now if only we can find a wallpaper changer that does different wallpapers for each monitor. I’m still using this one that hasn’t been updated since 2002.

    http://www.wallpaperchanger.de/

  2. michael

    thank you thank you thank you

    ive been looking how to do this since ive had vista

    i love my vista even more now

  3. Mark

    is there a way for Vista Ultimate to have a DreamScene video on one monitor and an image on the other?

  4. New to Vista

    When my windows Vista computer is locked then it shows background (wallpaper) on one of two monitors (main monitor). 2nd monitors just show blank screen. Is there any way to show background on both screen?

  5. Kulrak

    This saved me a LOT of time. I think you so very much.

  6. cherryottis

    does this product have support with dreamscene? and if not will it in the future?

  7. Tyson

    Thank you for this page, I have been trying to fix my dual monitor setup for months!
    Now I need to figure out how to make the taskbar streach across to the other monitor like it did in xp.

  8. Dev Ashish Khaitan

    Thank you so very much, awesome article!!! awesome program!!!

  9. Simon

    Would also like to know if this will support Dreamscene?? I use Ultramon for the same thing at the moment, but it doesn’t allow Mpgs. I would like to have dreamscene on monitor using dual sli and have a normal wallpaper on 2nd monitor using ATI card???

  10. M. J. Driscoll

    This helped do exactly what I wanted to do. Thank you.

  11. David

    This has really helped me out. I’m loving my dual-monitor setup now.

    Thank you SO much!

  12. George Costanza

    2 Words.. Awsome

  13. Steven

    I have a slightly different problem (screensaver not wallpaper). I have identical monitors on Vista Home Premium and use Webshots as my screensaver. As I have 2k+ gorgeous photos in the program that change every five seconds, I would like to be able to either have both screens display one image or each display the same. Right now it’s the screensaver on one and wallpaper on the other. Any great ideas here?

    BTW….ditto on duplicating the tool or task bar to the second monitor!

  14. Ramesh

    How to connect two LCD Monitors in One System, Is there any dual output VGA Cable

  15. Dan

    Works perfect!! God Bless! :)

  16. Seagull

    Thank you for this page, I have been trying to fix my dual monitor setup for months!
    Now I need to figure out how to make the taskbar streach across to the other monitor like it did in xp.

    Ultramon will do that for you.

  17. Luis

    Thanks!!!!

  18. Kishar Ahmed

    I was so happy about this…. I was waiting for this option… so let as use it… Thank you….

  19. Nick

    Wow… this is awsome, I have been traying to do this ever since I got two 28inch monitors. THANKS so much

  20. Jeff

    Check out Johns Background Switcher instead. It is free (yes free, not trial ware) and does a lot more than this tool… I dont work for the guy, but I really love the product.

    http://www.johnsadventures.com/software/backgroundswitcher

  21. Brandon W.

    OMG…. :D Kudos for you! I’m so in love with Vista now I think I’ll take it on a date. Thanks for the help now my 22inch ViewSonics look better than ever.

  22. Nick

    I am wondering if this will work with more then two monitors? If it does I am going all crazy with a with quad monitor display.

  23. Veneet

    New to Vista
    When my windows Vista computer is locked then it shows background (wallpaper) on one of two monitors (main monitor). 2nd monitors just show blank screen. Is there any way to show background on both screen?

  24. Jack Shankle

    Your explanation for putting different wallpapers on dual monitors in Vista doesn’t work for
    me. I have a Nvidia card and can set up the 2 monitors ok. I have installed Display Fusion.
    When I try to run Display Fusion it changes the resolution on the main monitor making
    it so big I can’t see the bottom half of the window. The binary fortress site won’t respond
    to the problem.
    Your thoughts would be appreciated.

  25. Jack Shankle

    The Version 2.1.1.0 of Display Fusion still doesn’t work on Vista Business.
    I have done the above and it doesn’t work.
    I have installed Microsoft.net 3.0 and that doesn’t make any difference.

  26. phenix

    Thank you Jeff,
    I now have Switchwesetup35.exe on my Puter running Vista business.
    This is a program that can be found on http://www.johnsadventure.com.
    It’s working fine on two monitors with different resolutions

    Good by Display Fusion.

  27. whlooi

    Thanks for sharing this Jeff.
    It works fantastically. ^^;

  28. kaoru

    This is awesome!., this is exactly what i want it to be.,
    Thanks though i hope it won’t give me a problem in the future.

  29. vincenzo

    thanks. dope program what i was looking for. but i was wondering is there anyway u could have one huge background mine usually separates into 2 of the same one but now i can have 2 different ones thanks to you :] but i still want one huge background think u can help me out

  30. mike

    hi, i have bought a samsung 32 inch lcd monitor and i spent 2 weeks searching for a cable that connects it to my hp laptop(vista preinstalled) because not any cable works (don;t know why) and finnaly i found one that works but the problem now is that the lcd won;t works under VISTAAAA ..it displays(mode not supported). is there any solution plz, if i installed the xp will it solve this problem beside there is this software from microsoft called “microsoft virtual mahcine” will this resolve the issue and the lcd monitor will recognise my laptop OS as an xp ??

  31. toan

    It’s sad that we have to download all these after market plug-ins / apps / software, just to get simple things going on Vista. None the less, I love you geek guys! LOVE YOU LOVE YOU LOVE YOU!

  32. Madhan

    It’s an amazing article.It helped me a lot to customize the desktop with diffrent wallpapers..this is exactly what i want …
    Thanks a lot

  33. GeorgeC

    Was wondering. I have a new Vista machine, and thinking about hooking up my HDTV as a display so I can put my Vista display on it, too. I’ve tried it before with an XP machine but with the resolution on the TV the monitor display did not fit into the HDTV display, all 4 edges overlapped.

    HP Pavilion Elite d5000z ATX, Vista Ultimate w/SP 1 (64-bit) and all updates, AMD Phenom 9650 quad-core 2.3GHz, 4GB DDR2-800MHz dual channel SDRAM (4×1024), 1GB NVIDIA GeForce 9800GT, 750GB and 500GB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive, LightScribe 16X max. DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti drive, 22″ WS Westinghouse monitor, HP 160GB Pocket Media Drive.

  34. Lary

    One question please , why does the program need to connect to the internet?

  35. kELVIN ` Kelvin

    Exactly what I have been looking for. Thanks for this. =)

  36. Alan

    Thanks so much. Now my dual monitor desktops will look much cooler!

  37. Evan

    Exactly what I wanted to do!!

  38. Alessandro Petrone

    It would be great if the Print Screen key worked for the second monitor.

  39. Karl

    Hey, thanks for this, I just bought a second 24″ monitor and was wondering how to get different backgrounds. Works perfectly. Cheers.

  40. Markus

    Thanks a lot!
    And it has a lot of other features which I really think are useful! Really worth Pro too.

  41. Alec

    I just wanted to say thank you very much. This is exactly what I was looking for.

  42. AleX Gontijo

    Thank you, awesome work! This software is perfect!

  43. Stephen

    Thank you so much, I’m using Windows 7 and downloaded this app. and it works like a charm! Now I can have one picture each of my kids on two monitors.

  44. dcj2

    Ahhh, sometimes its the simple things that make life sweet. Now I have the cold, soulless eye of the HAL9000 staring out at me from one monitor and Dave Bowman’s pensive, worried mein gazing at me from the other. When I get bored, I just point the monitors at each other and watch the tension build. I tell ya, it’s as much fun as “Zombie Baseball”. Thanks Geek!

  45. Ravenh

    There is a program called Ultramon it will let u run wallpapers and screen savers on 2 monitors u could get it free off Piratebay or isohunt.com. This is good 2.

  46. patricia niña m. chanliongco

    its very good this google cause the students she/he can find the truth words or wht nice

  47. Chip

    Had this program for quite a while and then one day, has a problem and shuts down. Now it won’t work no matter what I try. Worked great while I had it…..

  48. camilo

    buenisimo, facil de usar y funciona perfecto

  49. mike

    thanks a ton…..

  50. whitney

    I figgured out how to do it without any additional software. You have to do a bit of image processing but it worked perfect for me. Here is the run down:
    Figure out what the resolution of your monitor is: mine is 1680X1050 (two of them)
    Modify an existing picture, or make a new one with resolution of 3360X1050
    Set the new picture as your desktop background using the “tiled” option. This will make the image continuous across both monitors. Good luck!

    I used Matlab to put two images together, but you could probably use photoshop or even paint. I then used microsoft office picture manager to resize and crop the pic to the correct resolution.

  51. Wallace Storey

    I am running 2 gtx 260 cards using 4 monitors, 3 42 inch 1080p’s and 1 19 “, the 19 ” is the main desk top and is where the taskbar is located. Some times i just want to watch something on one of the 42″ display’s and still keep the main desktop 19″ monitor on, so turning off or blanking the other 42″ displays is perfered. What would be nice is to see a program that would allow me to put icons on the main 19″ display that would allow me click a display on/off or blank or active

  52. Larry

    thats a great program thanks for posting a article on it, however it would be better if i could use dreamscene on one display.

  53. Rob

    This has just made my whole world different. Thank you much for the tip.

  54. Chris

    Anything that helps me get through increasingly tedious days at work is welcome, cheers.

  55. Ravaged

    Thank you, that’s what i searched ;)

  56. Chook

    Simple and easy. thanks :)

  57. Lis

    Thank Youuuuuuuuuuuuis all I can say!!!!! you are the best guys!

  58. MageWrite

    OMFG this is like soooo FTW
    my monitors have such an awesome affect now tyvm

    i cannot belive i was living without this =)

  59. Alfred

    DisplayFusion is nice but on my computer (XP 32-bits) it seems to have a memory leak (not big, increases 4k every few seconds)

  60. devil x

    what is vista,bloody vista……..i love windows 8

  61. Otto

    Working splendifly! Thank you!!

  62. Mani

    I tested several apps for dual monitor display, including Display Fusion and UltraMon. From what I can see, UltaMon is somewhat better, though both are quite similar. I would presume that both the apps are essentially accessing and changing pre-existing default registry settings for display drivers etc, Would someone know what are the key registry entries for doing things related to multiple display? Then, one does not have to use these programs, and probaly will be able to customize even more. Most likely, it will be inconvenient to do it manually, but I am just curious to know.

  63. RemoRamos

    trust me, you dont need any software to do this… all you need is MS Paint and Print Screen !!! and it worked well for me :)

  64. hater

    screw this, use mac instead

  65. Mrowrasraw

    Thanks alot! :D

  66. Baby

    Awesome! really user friendly guidelines

  67. chaubey pushpend

    Marwana hai

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