Four example Windows 11 wallpapers

If you’d like to change your desktop wallpaper in Windows 11 to a different built-in background image, a solid color, or a custom picture, it’s easy to do in Windows Settings. Here’s how.

Getting Started

To change your desktop background, you’ll first need to open the Windows Settings app. Luckily, Microsoft left us a quick shortcut to use: Right-click the desktop and select “Personalize” in the menu that appears.

Right-click the desktop and select "Personalize."

Windows Settings will open to the “Personalization” category. In the main settings list on the right side of the window, select “Background.”

In Windows 11 personalization settings, click "Background."

In Background settings, locate the “Personalize Your Background” option. In the drop-down menu beside it, you can select one of three options:

  • Picture: This lets you select an image or photograph (an image file) to use as a desktop wallpaper.
  • Solid: This lets you pick a solid color for your desktop.
  • Slideshow: This option allows you to select a folder of pictures to use as desktop backgrounds that change automatically over time.

In the "Personalize Your Background" drop-down menu, select "Picture," "Solid Color," or "Slideshow."

It’s worth noting that the “Picture” option applies only to the current desktop that is active. If you’re using multiple desktops through the virtual desktops feature in Windows 11, you can set a different picture for each virtual desktop. In contrast, the “Solid” and “Slideshow” options apply to all of your virtual desktops at once.

RELATED: How to Set Different Wallpapers for Virtual Desktops on Windows 11

Choosing a Picture as Your Desktop Background

If you choose “Picture” in the “Personalize Your Background” menu, you have two main options. You can either select from a group of “Recent Images” by clicking a thumbnail, or click “Browse Folders” and select an image you’d like to use that is stored on your PC.

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(In case you get lost while browsing for an image, Windows 11 stores its built-in wallpapers in C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper by default.)

With the "Picture" option, choose a recent image or browse for one.

Under the “Choose a fit for your desktop image” drop-down menu, select the option that suits you best.

  • Fill: This stretches or compresses the image to fit the width of your screen while keeping the proper aspect ratio.
  • Fit: This stretches or compresses the image to fit the height of your screen while keeping the proper aspect ratio.
  • Stretch: This stretches or compresses the image you select to fit within the dimensions of the screen without preserving the image’s original aspect ratio.
  • Tile: This repeats the image as a tile from left-to-right starting in the upper-left corner until it fills the entire desktop screen space.
  • Center: This displays the image centered on your screen at its original size and aspect ratio.
  • Span: This option will display an image across desktops on multiple monitors, spanning them.

Choosing a Solid Color as Your Desktop Background

If you select “Solid Color” in the “Personalize Your Background,” you can either choose one of the pre-selected background colors from the grid of colored squares, or you can select a custom color by clicking “View Colors.”

With the "Solid Color" option, click a color in the grid.

Remember that this “Solid Color” option will apply to all of your virtual desktops at the same time.

Setting a Slideshow as Your Desktop Background

If you select “Slideshow” in the “Personalize Your Background” drop-down menu, you’ll see options that let you browse for a folder that contains images you want to cycle through over time. After selecting the folder, you can set how often the picture changes with the “Change Picture Every” drop-down menu. You can also shuffle the picture order, disable slideshow on battery power, and choose a fit using the Fill, Fit, Stretch (and so on) options described above.

With the "Slideshow" option, click "Browse" to locate a folder of images you'd like to display.

Once you have the desktop set how you like it, close Settings, and your desktop wallpaper or background will stay that way until you change it again it Settings. Windows 11 includes lots of fun new wallpapers to explore, so have fun!

RELATED: Here's What Windows 11's New Wallpapers Look Like

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Benj Edwards is an Associate Editor for How-To Geek. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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