Weekly Computer Tip # 247
19 October 2008

Use a picture as your desktop background

For over a year now I've been living out of a suitcase in Frankfurt, trying to make staff fall in love with Livelink. So I'm turning into a homesick larger version of myself, which is why I've joined the client's gym (my halo is choking me) and put a picture of one of the squirrels stealing food from the bird house in our garden in Cambridge as my desktop background. That last bit might sound easier than you think. Normally you can simply right-click a picture and choose "Set as Desktop Background". But the client's system administrator had clearly enabled a setting preventing the user to change the desktop wallpaper. Nothing happened either when I used the Browse functionality in the Desktop Display Properties window. (Right-click the desktop, and click Properties. On the Desktop tab use Browse to add your favourite picture.) But perseverance (and a quick google) showed a way that works, even though the Computer Police don't want me to.

Here's how:

  1. Navigate to the folder containing your picture. (If it is in your My Pictures folder, click Start, and then click My Pictures.)
  2. If the picture isn't shown in Thumbnails view right-click the picture icon and select Preview or switch to Thumbnails view by selecting the View, Thumbnails command.
  3. Right-click the picture and select Set as Desktop Background.

If you want to change the way the picture is displayed on your desktop, right-click the desktop, and then click Properties. On the Desktop tab, in the Position box, select a different display option.