How to Change the Display Picture on a Computer

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The display picture, also known as the desktop background, on a computer can be altered and customized however the computer user desires. Many use display pictures to add a personal accent to their computer. Adding a display picture is easy and can be done regardless of your computer skills or experience.


Step 1

Open your computer's Control Panel. Click on the computer's Start menu. Select the Control Panel link.

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Step 2

Access the computer's customization settings. When the Control Panel screen loads, click on "Appearance and Personalization". This window will open to display a list of actions you can choose to customize the colors, pictures and appearance of your computer's display.

Step 3

Open the Personalization settings. The Personalization settings link should be the first link listed. Click on "Change Desktop Background." (Your computer's display picture is technically referred to as your desktop background.)


Step 4

Change the display picture to the one of your choice. Click on the "Browse" button to access your computer's hard drive. When the Windows Explorer dialogue screen opens, locate and select the picture you desire. Click on the "Open" action in the lower right corner of the dialogue screen. The picture will load in the display table in the Personalization window.

Step 5

Choose the position of your display picture. At the bottom of the display picture table, you will see three radio buttons with position options for your display picture. Click on the radio button to the left of the position you desire to implement this setting.


Step 6

Save the display picture changes. Click the "OK" button at the bottom of the screen to finalize your changes. Your computer will freeze for about 2 seconds to apply the display picture to your computer's desktop screen. The personalization window will close automatically and return to the initial Control Panel screen. Click on the "X" in the upper right corner to close the Control Panel screen. Your computer's desktop background should display the new picture.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer

  • Administrative access


If you need to save your picture from the Internet, right-click on the picture itself in your Internet browser, and click on the "Save Picture As" action. When your Windows Explorer opens, choose a name for the picture and click on the "Save" action in the lower right corner of the window.

If you would like to apply a display picture on your computer straight from the Internet without saving it, simply right-click over the picture and select the "Set As Desktop Background" option.


These instructions apply to all editions of the Windows Vista operating system. If you are operating on Windows XP, please click on the link listed in the Additional Resources section below for further instruction on your particular operating system.

When using a Mac computer, please be aware that the operating system navigation is different from that in Microsoft Windows. For further information on changing the display picture on a Mac computer, click on the Mac resource link below.

If you choose a picture from the Internet, be aware that if you decide to change the picture, it cannot be recovered if it is not saved to your hard drive.

It is recommended that the picture be saved to your computer's hard drive before changing it to the display picture. If it is saved on the hard drive, you will have the advantage of changing the position of the picture.


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