Home and Learn: Windows 10 Tutorials

How to change your Desktop background image in Windows 10

One of the first thing you might want to do with Windows 10 is to change the desktop picture, which tends to be quite awful by default. To do that, click with your right mouse button anywhere on the desktop, except the taskbar at the bottom, or an icon. You'll then see the following menu:

Select Personalize from the list and you'll see a screen appear like this one:

Make sure Background is selected on the left hand side.

The Background dropdown menu is showing "Solid Colour" for us. If you like a solid colour for your desktop background, select one of the available colours. If you prefer to have an image, click the dropdown to some choices:

The choices are Picture, Solid Colour, and Slideshow. If you select Picture, you'll see some images and options appear underneath the dropdown box:

If your picture is not big enough for your screen, click the dropdown beneath Choose a fit:

You have lots of options on the list. Try each one in turn to see what it does.

Browsing for images on your computer

To select your own pictures, click on the Browse button, the one just above Chose a fit. You'll see an open file dialogue box appear. This one:

The Open File Dialog Box in Windows 10

These types of screen are call dialogue boxes. You'll see a similar dialogue box when you want to save some work. The idea is that you place individual pieces of work (files) inside of folders. The area on your left is for navigating your own computer, and whatever storage devices you have attached to your computer. The area on the left is really a list of folders. Under the Quick Access heading, you'll see folders for: Desktop, Downloads, Documents, and Pictures. Click on the Pictures folder to see if you have any suitable background images there. If you're not sure where you saved your pictures or files to, try the Documents folder first, as this is the default location when you save things. If you have download images from the internet, then try the Downloads folder.

The Camera and Photos items on the list (at the bottom, in the image above) are interesting ones. If you plug your camera or phone into your computer with a USB cable, and then click the Camera icon, you will be able to view all the images on your camera or phone. You can then use one of these for your desktop background. The Photos item lets you select folders on your computer where you have saved images to. You can then access them all from one location by clicking the Photos icon.

Once you have found a suitable image, click the Choose Picture button at the bottom right of the dialogue box. You'll then see your desktop background change.

Ways to Search for Pictures on your computer

At the top of the Open File Dialogue Box, you may have noticed a breadcrumb trail:

Open File Dialogue Box  breadcrumb trail

This breadcrumb trail is telling us that we're in the Pictures folder of This PC. Click the arrows to see a list of places you can go to:

A list of locations on This PC

You can also click the arrows to the left. Clicking the UP arrow will take you one folder up from the Pictures folder, which is This PC.

You may also have noticed a search box, to the right of the breadcrumb trail:

Searching for a Picture in Windows 10

Where it says Search Pictures in the image above, it means "Search the Pictures folder". If you were in the Documents folder, it would say "Search Documents". However, you can search for any images by typing the following:


Don't forget the colon between the words kind and images. Click the magnifying glass to search, or just press the enter key on your keyboard. If no images are found, you may get a suggestion to search other areas of your computer:

The kind:image search

Clicking on Libraries gives us this:

A list of images found in a search

Rather than displaying the images as a boring list, you can display them as icons. Click the down arrow on the More Options list in the top right:

More Option dropdown

You'll then see a menu appear:

Windows 10 menu showing ways to display a thumbnail image

You can select an icon size from the list. We've gone for Large Icons. The dialogue box will then look like this:

A dialogue box showing found images

This is a lot better for being able to see and choose an image from your computer!

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