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desktop wallpaper tipsDo you realize how important your desktop wallpaper is? It may not seem very significant, but it can do a lot for you. Most of all, it can make your desktop more pleasant. A cheerful wallpaper can be uplifting, you can express your creativity, and it may motivate you to keep your desktop tidy. What else it can do for you is up to your own imagination and creativity.

In this article I will show you how to go about picking the right wallpaper for your screen size, where to find the most beautiful wallpapers, how to have more than one wallpaper, and lots more. Your desktop won’t be the same!

1. Get The Right Resolution

Regardless of its artistic beauty, a wallpaper that doesn’t come in a high enough resolution and matching aspect ratio will look grainy and distorted. To avoid awkward looking background images, you should understand the specs of your monitor before you start hunting for great wallpapers.

Screen resolutions are denoted in pixels, e.g. 800 x 600. The numbers indicate how many pixels your monitor can display horizontally (800) and vertically (600). The resolution also reveals that the monitor in this example has an aspect ratio of 4 : 3 (horizontal : vertical pixels).

A perfect wallpaper has to meet two criteria:

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  1. high enough resolution
  2. matching aspect ratio

This article from CrunchGear provides a resolution chart (depicted below) that lets you pick the right wallpaper aspect ratio and resolution for your monitor. For example, if your monitor has a resolution of 1600 x 1200 you have a 4:3 aspect ratio. This ratio is color-coded red, so you can use all resolutions in red that are 1600 x 1200 or greater.

desktop wallpaper tips

So how do you find out your monitor’s native resolution and aspect ratio?

Windows 7

Right-click on the desktop and select > Screen resolution from the menu and look for the number next to > Resolution:

Windows XP

Right-click on the desktop, select > Properties from the menu and switch to the > Settings tab. You’ll see a slider under > Screen resolution in the bottom left.

2. Find the Most Beautiful Wallpapers

The amount of websites that offer free wallpapers is endless. Fortunately, you came to the right place and we have already done some weeding out for you. You can either get some fresh wallpapers from our themed compilations or find your own favorites in the resources we have covered.

Wallpaper Compilations:

Wallpaper Resources:

3. Shuffle Your Wallpapers

Now that you have skimmed through all those resources, you’re left with dozens of wallpapers you like and you cannot make up your mind. Don’t despair because you don’t have to! Rather than settling for just one wallpaper, why not use all of them?

Windows 7

If you have Windows 7 Home or up, you can personalize your computer and that includes your desktop. Right-click on the desktop and select > Personalize. In the bottom left of the window that opens click on > Desktop Background. From > Picture Location: select the folder where you stored your wallpapers or click > Browse… to add a custom folder. Select all the images you want to use, then select the > Picture position define to > Change picture every… and check > Shuffle to not see the same sequence every time. Finally click > Save Changes and enjoy.

desktop wallpaper tips tricks

Windows XP

Windows XP doesn’t offer an inbuilt tool to shuffle your wallpapers. However, there are many third party applications that can do that trick. I have been using ScrollWall and I also like John’s Background Switcher. Another super fascinating wallpaper tool with a social twist is Wallcast. All aforementioned applications and several more are described in these articles:

4. Create An Unobstructed View Of Your Wallpaper/s

So you have this fantastic wallpaper or maybe you have already set up shuffling, but what is it that you see on your desktop? Lots of icons! To really enjoy the view, you need to get rid of them! BEFORE vs AFTER IMAGE I have written two articles that will guide you to a beautifully organized and minimalist desktop:

desktop wallpaper tips tricks

5. Get An Animated Desktop Wallpaper

My final advice should be: keep it simple. However, if you have resources to spare, go ahead and get yourself an animated desktop wallpaper. In Windows 7 you can use your screensaver as a wallpaper. To use a video of your own you have to convert it to an .scr (screensaver) file.

desktop wallpaper tips

Windows 7

Windows XP

Conclusion

There is a lot you can do to your desktop with a wallpaper. Just like a physical wallpaper, it can entirely change the atmosphere and set a mood. However, if used in excess it can also exhaust your resources.

Let us know what desktop wallpaper tools you like to use and any wallpaper tips you might have.

Image credits: Arsgera

  1. Sherman
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  2. Mark
    March 22, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Great article! I always download images with max resolution here http://lafozi.com/us-en/ and it's look very nice on my laptop.

  3. Jesus Jaramillo
    February 17, 2011 at 8:23 am
  4. Jesus Jaramillo
    February 17, 2011 at 7:23 am
    • Aibek
      February 23, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      thanks for the links!

  5. Clash Uzumaki
    February 16, 2011 at 3:49 am

    Thanks.

  6. Tina
    February 16, 2011 at 1:20 am

    Great recommendation Toxteth, thank you!

    For anyone interested in trying it, Ozoko Desktop is a freeware tool that provides animated, interactive Flash-based wallpapers. Here is a link for more information and the download: http://okozo.com/

  7. drock
    February 15, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    I use WallpaperMaster to change desktop wallpapers in XP.
    It has some other cool features too.
    Nice article btw!

    • Tina
      February 16, 2011 at 12:24 am

      Thanks for the feedback and recommendation, drock!

      There is a freeware and a shareware version for WallpaperMaster. In the freeware version you can rate your wallpapers to make better ones show up more often, assign custom Global Hotkeys, create multiple wallpaper lists, and tons more. Sounds like a great tool!

      Here is a link, if anyone would like to check it out: http://jamesgart.com/wallpaperchanger/

  8. Tina
    February 16, 2011 at 1:24 am

    Thanks for the feedback and recommendation, drock!

    There is a freeware and a shareware version for WallpaperMaster. In the freeware version you can rate your wallpapers to make better ones show up more often, assign custom Global Hotkeys, create multiple wallpaper lists, and tons more. Sounds like a great tool!

    Here is a link, if anyone would like to check it out: http://jamesgart.com/wallpaper...

  9. Tina
    February 16, 2011 at 1:18 am

    Mel,

    thank you for your feedback!

    Windows 7 and Windows Vista are very similar and with a bit of common sense anyone should be able to adapt the directions provided for Windows 7 to their Windows Vista computer.

    The reason I am referring to Windows XP and Windows 7 is that these are the operating systems I have and where I can verify the directions I give. I never used Windows Vista and do not have a copy of it available.

  10. drock
    February 16, 2011 at 12:48 am

    I use WallpaperMaster to change desktop wallpapers in XP.
    It has some other cool features too.
    Nice article btw!

  11. ALeX
    February 15, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    @Mel almost everything that applies to 7 applies to Vista as well. Most notable excption would be Dreamscene (which i think can be enabled in 7 too)

    • Mel
      February 15, 2011 at 11:29 pm

      That is true as I have a Vista and 7 laptop ..... I guess I was thinking of a few people I know who'd be perplexed just because of those small differences. lol

      • Tina
        February 16, 2011 at 12:21 am

        Good point there, Mel. I will keep it in mind and point out that Windows Vista users should follow the Windows 7 instructions.

  12. Toxteth O'Grady
    February 15, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Ozoko Desktop has some nice animated wallpapers. I don't think they take up too much RAM either.

    • Tina
      February 16, 2011 at 12:20 am

      Great recommendation Toxteth, thank you!

      For anyone interested in trying it, Ozoko Desktop is a freeware tool that provides animated, interactive Flash-based wallpapers. Here is a link for more information and the download: http://okozo.com/

  13. Mel
    February 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    I've been noticing that you refer to Windows 7 and Windows XP ~ but not Vista? Why's that? For some who are not computer savvy, they may not be able to adapt the directions to Vista, cuz as we all know, each OS is a little bit different. lol Love your articles btw :)

    • Tina
      February 16, 2011 at 12:18 am

      Mel,

      thank you for your feedback!

      Windows 7 and Windows Vista are very similar and with a bit of common sense anyone should be able to adapt the directions provided for Windows 7 to their Windows Vista computer.

      The reason I am referring to Windows XP and Windows 7 is that these are the operating systems I have and where I can verify the directions I give. I never used Windows Vista and do not have a copy of it available.

  14. Pedro
    February 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    So cool. Love it!

    • Tina
      February 16, 2011 at 12:25 am

      Thank you, Pedro!

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