Q: Change Your Wallpaper and Screensaver (Windows XP)

Microsoft Windows allows you to customize the look and feel of the operating system, below you will learn how to change the desktop wallpaper and screensaver.

Video Tutorial

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How to Change Your Desktop Wallpaper

  • Right click on the Desktop and Select “Properties”
  • Click the “Desktop” tab along the top of the “Display Properties” Dialog window
  • This tab is separated into two sections, the upper section shows a preview of a selected wallpaper. The lower section is a list of built-in wallpapers and selected items from your My Pictures Folder.
  • There are two ways to change the wallpaper, the first way is to just select one from the list of wallpapers. The second method is to use a custom background.
    • To use a custom background, click “Browse…” on the right hand side of the Display Properties dialog.
    • An Open File dialog window will open, now navigate to the folder which contains the image you wish to use as a background. E.g. My Documents\Cool Backgrounds\My Awesome Background.jpg
    • Once you have navigated to the folder that contains your background image, double click the image. The File Dialog window will close and your selected image should be selected in the list of backgrounds and a preview should be available in the upper preview area.
    • You may wish to change how the image is displayed; you may set the image to Stretched to fill the screen, titled (works great for patterns, or centered which will center the image on the screen and maintain the image size. These options are right below the “Browse…” button.
  • Once you have a new background selected that you like, just click the “OK” button to apply and close the Display Properties Dialog.

How to Change Your Screensaver

  • Right click on the Desktop and Select “Properties”
  • Click the “Screen Saver” tab along the top of the “Display Properties” Dialog window
  • On the “Screen Saver” tab you have three sections; the Screen Saver Preview, the available screen savers and options, and a link to the power saving options (See Changing Your Power Saving Setting – Windows XP).
  • To change the screen saver select one from the dropdown list in the middle of the dialog window. If you would like to preview the selected screen saver click the preview button to the left of the dropdown list. Remember when previewing a screen saver if you move the mouse, the screen saver will exit.
  • Some screen savers have additional options, you may change these settings by clicking “Settings”
  • Below the dropdown list of screen savers, you can change the idle time before the computer will start the screen saver
  • If you would like your computer to ask for your password after waking the computer from the screen saver, click the mark for “On resume, display logon screen.”
  • Once you have the settings changed to your liking, click “OK” and your done.
  • Warning: Downloading new screen savers from the web can be very dangerous! Most screen savers available on the web are spyware and viruses in disguise.
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  1. Bruce Doucette says:


    when I right click onto my start panel and click on properties I only see taskbar and startmenu come up on top of the window.How do I get the other tabs?

    Please e-mail me with any helpfull info.as I wish to change my background image and set it up to change like a slide show.Hope you can solve this for me.


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