This guide explains everything you need to know about changing the desktop wallpaper and lock screen wallpaper in Windows 11.
The Waiting is over, Windows 11 is finally here. The Windows 11 comes with new and improved visual aesthetics and usability. Windows 11 is also bundled with a collection of new wallpaper and themes. When you log in for the first time, it starts with a new default wallpaper – a blue abstract flower shape that pays homage to the Royal Blue color scheme of Windows 10.
However beautiful the new default wallpapers are, you cannot keep staring at the same wallpapers forever, you would want to change your desktop background to a wallpaper you’re fond of at some point. Windows 11 allows you to set custom wallpaper, solid color, or slideshow for your desktop background. There are several different easy ways to change your desktop background in Windows 11. Let us see them one by one.
Change Your Wallpaper on Windows 11 via Settings
You can easily change your Windows 11 desktop background through the settings app.
To start with, click the ‘Start’ icon or press the Windows button and select the ‘Settings’ icon. Alternatively, you can press Windows+I shortcut to open the Settings app.
When Settings launches, go to ‘Personalization’ from the left panel and click the ‘Background’ option on the right.
Alternatively, you can go to ‘Personalization’ settings straight from the desktop by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting the ‘Personalize’ option from the context menu.
On the ‘Background’ settings page, you can easily change wallpaper by selecting any of the already available images under Recent images.
If you want to set a different picture as background, follow the below instructions:
You can change the type of background you want to set using the drop-down menu (Picture) next to the ‘Personalize your background’ section.
Setting Custom Picture as Background
If you want to set custom wallpaper with an image from your local storage, make sure the ‘Picture’ option is selected from the drop-down and click the ‘Browse’ button.
Then, navigate to the image you would like to set as the desktop background and select the image. Then, click the ‘Choose picture’ button or double-click on the image.
After you selected the image, you can also choose how the image will fit on your screen. To do that, click the dropdown menu next to ‘Choose a fit for your desktop image’ to tweak how it should look on your desktop.
Now, the chosen picture will be set as your new desktop background on Windows 11.
Setting Solid color as Background
You can also set a plain solid color as your background if that’s what you prefer. First, select ‘Solid color’ from the ‘Personalize your background’ drop-down list.
Then, choose the color you wish to set as background from the table of colors. If you to set more exact custom colors as your background, click the ‘View colors’ button.
Click on your desired color on the color picker and select ‘Done’.
You can also click on the ‘More’ button and set custom ‘RGB’ or ‘HSV’ color values to get the required color.
Setting Slideshow as Background
If you want to set slideshow as your background to cycle through the images from your desired folder, select ‘Slideshow’ from the Personalize your background drop-down list.
If you selected Slideshow from the drop-down, you will see a different set of options under it. To choose a folder or album for the slideshow, click the ‘Browse’ button.
Then, select the folder with all the images you wish to use for your background slideshow and click the ‘Choose this folder’ button.
Once you select the folder, the slideshow will start from the first image of the folder. By default, the picture will change every ’30 minutes. To change the frequency of picture change for your background slideshow, click the drop-down next to ‘Change picture every’ and select any frequency (from 1 minute to 1 day).
You can also turn on the toggle for ‘Shuffle the picture order’ if you want to shuffle your picture collection and change the wallpaper randomly at the selected time interval.
Slideshow background consumes more energy than static wallpaper. But if you want the PC to keep changing the wallpaper even when you are running on battery, then turn on the toggle for ‘Let slideshow run even if I’m on battery power’.
You can also choose a fit type for your slideshow backgrounds using the last drop-down menu. Now, the selected folder of pictures will be applied as a slideshow background for all your desktops.
If you want quickly change the background to the next image in the slideshow before it changes automatically, right-click on the desktop and select the ‘Next desktop background’ option.
The background will change to the next image in the slideshow.
Settings Different Wallpaper on Different Desktops on Windows 11
If you change your background to a picture background when you are using multiple virtual desktops on your Windows 11, the wallpaper change will only apply to the current desktop. But if you open a new desktop after you set the wallpaper, the background will apply to the new desktop as well.
However, when you set your background as a solid color or slideshow wallpaper, it will apply to all the desktops despite when it’s opened.
So you can only set a different wallpaper for different desktops when the ‘Personalize your background’ option is set to ‘Picture’.
Then, right-click one of the recently added pictures under the Recent image section, hover over ‘Set for desktop’, and select the desktop (Desktop 1/2/3 or any other number) for which you want to set this image as background.
Alternatively, you can left-click the ‘virtual desktop’ icon on the taskbar and right-click on the desktop for which you want to change the wallpaper, and then select ‘Choose background’.
This will take you to the Background settings page. There, choose one of the images from the Recent images for the background or click the ‘Browse photos’ button to choose an image from the local storage.
Change Wallpaper on Windows 11 via Right-click Context Menu
The easiest and quickest way to change the wallpaper on Windows 11 (or any other Windows), is by using the right-click context menu.
First, locate the image of your choice on your computer whether it’s in the File Explorer or on the desktop, and right-click on it. Then, simply select the ‘Set as desktop background’ option from the context menu.
Note: This method is only for images formats that are supported by Windows. When you right-click on the image file with the unrecognized format, the ‘Set as desktop background’ option won’t be available on the context menu.
Using the Photos Viewer to Set Background
You can also access the Set as background option from the right-click context menu of Microsoft’s Photo app.
When you’re going through your favorite photos in the in-built Photo app, right-click anywhere on the Photos app, hover over ‘Set as’, and then select ‘Set as background’.
Change Wallpaper from File Explorer in Windows 11
Another quickest way to set a background in Windows 11 is through File Explorer. You can directly change Windows 11 wallpaper from the file explorer without the need to navigate through the Settings app. Here’s how you do this:
Open the File Explorer and navigate to the picture that you would like to set as your Windows 11 desktop background. Then, simply select the picture by clicking on it and then click the ‘Set as background’ button in the toolbar at the top.
Remember, this ‘Set as background’ option will only be visible in the toolbar after you select the image.
Set Desktop Background from Web Browser in Windows 11
Some of the Web browsers (like Firefox) allow you to set an image as desktop background straight from the browser without saving or downloading the image. This is useful when you are browsing through pictures on your browser, if you find a picture you like, you can easily set it as your desktop wallpaper. Here’s how you do it:
When you’re browsing the internet on your browser, if you find a picture that you would like to set as your desktop background, right-click on the picture and then select the ‘Set image as desktop background’ option to set that image as your desktop wallpaper.
But, first, you need to open the image in full resolution and then use this option. Otherwise, you’ll only be setting the preview image as the desktop background (which will be in much less resolution and poor quality).
For example, when you’re looking at the pictures of ‘Lofoten Islands, Norway’ in Google, you should not right-click on the image and select ‘Set image as desktop background’ right away.
If you do, this will only set the preview image as the background which will have poor quality and wrong fit for background. It would look something like this:
So, you should click on the image to open the image or website that contains the image. Then, right-click on the image on the website as select the ‘Open image in New Tab’ option.
Once the picture opens in full resolution on the full screen of the browser as shown below, then right-click anywhere on the picture and select ‘Set Image as Desktop Background…’.
If you want to save the image to your computer and set it as background later, select the ‘Save Image As..’ option.
As you can see the wallpaper looks much better with the full resolution image:
Set Windows 11 Default Wallpapers
Windows 11 has a collection of new preloaded wallpapers which are of 4K resolution (3840×2400) and do not include any wallpapers from its predecessors. The new Default wallpapers are aesthetically designed to match the applied theme and to ensure that they are well in contrast with the theme text.
You can find the default wallpapers under the Recent images in the Background Settings. However, if you already changed the background to images of your own many times, the default wallpapers won’t be accessible from the Settings.
If you can’t find the Windows 11 wallpapers in the Settings, go to the following location, which contains the entire collection of Windows 11 wallpapers:
Open Windows File Explorer by clicking on the icon on the taskbar. Then, you can either enter the above path in the File Explorer search bar and press Enter or navigate to
Local Disk (C:) > Windows > Web. This is where Windows 11 Stores its default Wallpapers including the touch keyboard backgrounds:
The 4K Folder has two default pictures (light and dark theme pictures) and the Screen folder has some random wallpapers. And the ‘touchkeyboard’ folder has some pictures in the resolution of 2736×1539, which are meant for your Touch Keyboard. If you want to view the entire collection, open the ‘Wallpaper’ folder.
The Wallpaper folder has 5 categories of wallpapers as shown in the screenshot:
- Captured Motion
Now browse through the pictures and when you find the picture you want to set as your desktop wallpaper, select it. Then, you can either right-click the picture and select ‘Set as desktop background’ from the context menu or click the ‘Set as background’ button in the toolbar.
Either way, the selected default wallpaper will be set as your background. All of these wallpapers except the touchkeyboard folder pictures are in 4K resolution.
Change Windows 11 Wallpaper with Wallpaper Changer App
You can also use the wallpaper changer app to automatically change wallpaper periodically. There are various third-party apps that allow you to change wallpaper from a huge collection of beautiful wallpaper. Some of these apps include:
You can also use Microsoft’s own Bing Wallpaper app which automatically updates wallpaper daily from a huge collection of amazing photos taken from all around the globe.
Check out: Best Windows 11 Themes
How to Change the Windows 11 Lock Screen Wallpaper
If you came here to learn how to change your Windows 11 desktop wallpaper, you probably would want to know how to change your lock screen wallpaper too. We might as well see how to do that.
The lock screen is shown before the sign-in screen which is where you enter your password or PIN to log in to your PC. It’s the first screen that shows time, date, network, battery, and maybe notifications on top of the wallpaper.
By default Windows 11 lock screen shows Windows Spotlight images. Windows Spotlight is a feature in Windows 11 that automatically downloads images from Bing and displays a different high-quality image as wallpaper on the lock screen every day. But you can also set your own background image for the Lock screen. Let’s see how to do that.
First, open the Settings app and go to the ‘Personalization’ section. Then, select ‘Lock screen’ settings on the right.
To change the lock screen background, click the drop-down next to ‘Personalize your lock screen’ and choose one of the three options.
Windows Spotlight. As we mentioned earlier, this option automatically updates the background with beautiful sceneries from around the globe.
Picture. This option lets you pick a picture from Windows default wallpapers or a photo from your computer.
If you select the ‘Picture’ option, you can either select one of the default pictures or click the ‘Browse photos’ button to choose your own photo from the local drive.
Slideshow. This option lets you pick a folder with pictures and cycle through them at regular intervals.
The Slideshow option has some advanced settings which let you customize the lock screen slideshow. All of these settings are self-explanatory. These include options like whether including camera roll folders to the slideshow, using only pictures that fit the screen, playing slideshow on battery, showing slideshow when PC is inactive, and turning off-screen after the slideshow is over. When you want to enable a particular setting, check the box next to it.
No matter what lock screen type you choose in the ‘Personalize your lock screen’ drop-down, there are two more options in the Lock screen settings. You can change which app notification or status you want to see on the lock screen. To do that, click the menu next to the ‘Lock screen status’ option and choose an app. If you don’t want any notification or status on the lock screen, choose ‘None’.
When you turn on, lock, or sign out of your Windows 11 PC, it goes to the lock screen. Only when you press a key on the keyboard, click the mouse, or swipe up on a touchscreen, it moves to the sign-in screen.
If you want to see the lock screen background on the sign-in screen too, leave the – ‘Show the lock screen background picture on the sign-in screen’ toggle On. If you want to disable this option and show a black screen instead, turn off the toggle.