On Windows Guides, we feature lots of desktop wallpaper packs, which you can browse to find the perfect wallpaper for your website. In this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about wallpaper. Specifically:

  • What is screen/display resolution?
  • How to find and change your desktop resolution.
  • How to view fonts at high resolution.
  • Where to get wallpaper.
  • How to manipulate your wallpaper & background.
  • How to automatically rotate wallpaper in a slideshow.

What is Screen/Display Resolution?

In its simplest form, screen resolution is the number of pixels wide by the number of pixels high displayed on the screen. A pixel is the smallest representation of detail on your scren. So, 1920×1080 (Full HD) resolution is 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels high.) All monitors handle different resolutions (there are standards) so Windows detects which your monitor can display and usually defaults to the maximum (or highest) it can display.

Why is Resolution Important? We’re Talking About Wallpaper

When you download a wallpaper, the site or tool will ask you what resolution you want. The higher the true resolution, the higher the quality of the image and stretched (or compressed) images can look awful so it’s important to know what resolution you’re using.

How to Find and Change Your Desktop Resolution

You may not be running your resolution at its maximum settings. This may be because if you do, fonts become small (more about that in the next section) or because you haven’t checked.

To see the resolution your screen is displaying:

1. Right click your desktop and click Screen resolution.

2. Under Change the appearance of your display, click next to Resolution to see all available resolutions. Try the highest resolution first and see how it looks. If everything is too small or your screen goes black, wait a few seconds and it will return to what you were using.

HINT: If it all goes wrong and your screen stays black, follow this guide.

How to View Fonts at High Resolution

If text on the screen is too small, but you enjoy your new, crisp resolution, follow this guide and then increase your resolution.

Where to Get Wallpaper

Here are a few sources of good, high-quality wallpaper:

How to Manipulate Your Wallpaper & Background

Once you’ve picked a wallpaper, you may need to manipulate it to get it to fix (i.e. you couldn’t find your exact screen resolution.

To make the best of the ill-fitting wallpaper:

1. Right click the desktop and click Personalize.

2. Click Desktop Background.

3. Here you can choose a solid color (preview below) or move to step 4 for other, more attractive options.

4. Next to Picture location, click the drop down list and select any of the following options:

Windows Desktop Backgrounds

Windows Desktop Backgrounds come with Windows 7 and include those shown below (categorized.)

Regional Desktop Backgrounds

Depending on where you are in the world, you’ll have access to backgrounds that reflect the region in which you live. If you want other regional backgrounds, follow this guide.

Use a Downloaded Desktop Background

To use a downloaded custom desktop background:

1. Right click the desktop and click Personalize.

2. Click Desktop Background.

3. Click Browse and locate the downloaded image.

If the image does not look right (i.e. you didn’t download the right resolution and it looks blurry):

Manipulate the image to make it fit. There are different options:

  • Fill: This fills the image by the shortest side so you may lose the sides or top of the image.
  • Fit: This filles the image by the longest side so you may have colored lines at the top/bottom or sides.
  • Stretch: This stretches the image to fit in all directions and usually looks awful.
  • Tile: This tiles the image and keeps the image’s native resolution. Also mostly awful.
  • Center: This keeps the images native resolutiona and puts it in the middle of the screen and leaves a colored frame around the image.

How to Automatically Rotate Wallpaper in a Slideshow

Maybe you don’t want to display only one picture for your background. In Windows 7, you can easily create a slideshow. Just check the pictures you want to include in your slideshow and select the interval you’d like between transitions.

I’m sure this isn’t everything you need to know (the title is a little pious don’t you think?) What did I miss?

About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix them.

Free PC tips by email

Search Windows Guides


2 thoughts on “Windows 7 Backgrounds & Desktop Wallpaper — All You Need to Know”

  1. Sungsam79 says:

    You can add the additional wallpapers that come with Windows 7 for Australia, Canada, UK, US, and South Africa as you require, by doing the following:
    1. Open regedit
    2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerWallpapersKnownFoldersWindows WallpapersMergeFolders
    3. Right click the right hand pane
    4. Select -> New -> String Value
    5. Paste in the following folder location:
    6. Repeat steps 3 – 5 with the following folder locations:
    7. Reboot.
    8. Right click your desktop
    9. Select Personalize
    10. Click Desktop Background
    11. You should now see all the available regional wallpapers that came with Windows 7.

  2. Roy12291997 says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comments are closed.

Computer tips in your inbox
Sign up for the Windows Guides newsletter to get PC tips and access to free Windows books (More details)

Subscribe now
Popular Guides

See which sites have been visited on your PC (even if private browsing mode is used)

Create a Windows 7 System Repair Disc

Best Free Anti-malware

Hibernate vs. Sleep vs. Shut-Down

i3, i5, and i7; Dual, Quad, Hexa Core Processors. How to they Differ?

Intel's Ivy Bridge Processor: new Features

Windows Guides on Facebook