Standard computer wallpaper sizes are always changing because they are relative to the current popular monitor resolutions. Ideally, a computer's wallpaper will share the same resolution as the screen, which provides the best possible picture quality while using the least amount of computer resources possible. The standard wallpaper sizes are determined by the most popular resolutions of the time. For example, most computer monitors ran the 1024x768 resolution for years until widescreen monitors grew in popularity, making 1366x768 the most popular resolution.
The Most Common Resolution
The 1366x768 resolution works as a standard wallpaper size because of its large userbase. According to Microsoft, over 40 percent of Windows 7 users were running the 1366x768 resolution at the time of Windows 8's release. According to web analytic tracker StatCounter, 27 percent of all active computer monitors were running the 1366x768 screen resolution. The 1366x768 resolution overtook 1024x768 as the most popularly used screen resolution in March 2012. While the 1366x768 resolution is the most popular, wallpapers made using the standard do not scale up well to higher resolution monitors, making the standard weak for cross-resolution support.
Full HD Screen Resolution
The 1920x1080 resolution is a popular choice for computer wallpaper because it is found in both computer monitors and HDTV sets. As of January 2014, 9 percent of computer users ran the 1920x1080 screen resolution, making it a close contender for the second most popular size. The 1920x1080 resolution is popular because it can scale down well for other screens that use the 16:9 aspect ratio, including the common monitor 1366x768 and 1600x900 WSXGA resolutions. Full HD-formatted wallpapers also scale down well for 1280x720 HD screens; however, the format is uncommon on monitors.
Common 16:10 Aspect Ratio Screens
The 1920x1200 standard wallpaper size covers all the bases for screens running in a 16:10 aspect ratio. While 16:10 screens make up a large share of computer monitors, the devices are spread out between four different resolutions: 1920x1200, 1680x1050, 1440x900 and 1200x800. While 1200x800 is the most popular resolution within the group, it is also the lowest and the worst for scaling in the group. However, all four screen resolutions are considered standard wallpaper sizes.
The Last of the 4:3 Screens
The 1280x1024 and 1024x768 standard wallpaper sizes work well on screens running the 4:3 aspect ratio.While the 1024x768 resolution still held the second most popular ranking as of 2014, the standard is on a downward market share trend. Wallpapers designed for screens with 16:9 and 16:10 aspect ratios do not scale well on screens with 4:3 resolutions. However, 1280x1024 wallpapers scale down well for 1024x768 screens. Microsoft recommends developing for 1024x768 as a minimum accepted screen resolution.