Fix problems when changing desktop background in Windows

Changing the wallpaper of our desktop in Windows is one of the most typical actions that any user performs, either when starting the operating system for the first time or when we must reinstall it. It is a simple change, which any user can make quickly and which allows us to give a touch of personalization to our computer.

How to set a picture as the background

Setting an image as the desktop background is a really easy task to perform in Windows, as you just have to click the right mouse button on an image to set it as the desktop background. Within the contextual menu that appears, it is enough to select the option “Set as Wallpaper” and it should be applied immediately.

It is also possible to carry out this same action from the Windows Settings section. To do this, press the keyboard shortcut “Windows + I”, so that the Settings menu appears. Subsequently, click on “Personalization” and “Background”. Now we just have to click on the “Browse” button and choose the desired image from our hard drive. Along with the possibility of inserting an image, we can also choose to choose a solid color as the background or a presentation of images that will follow one another.

Although the process is quite simple and should not present any problem, there are occasions where some users are seeing how in one way or another, they find an error message that prevents them from establishing the photo or image they want as the background of your screen. If that is our case, we will propose some actions to take to solve it.

Fix issues when changing background

Next, we are going to show you a series of actions that we can carry out to try to solve the problem that prevents us from being able to put an image or photo as a wallpaper. We will only have to follow step by step the checks that we are going to show you below that will finally allow us to customize our desktop background.

Basic solutions

If it is the first time that we face this type of error on our computer, we must start by trying with a simple system reboot. In the vast majority of cases, restarting the system may be more than enough to help us solve the problem. This feature can be a great outlet when there is something in the system that is not working as it should. When you restart the operating system, it will erase all the programs and actions that are running in memory, making it possible for them to work again when it is run again.

We must also check if we have any windows update pending. If so, we proceed to install it and then check if that has allowed us to change the wallpaper on our desktop. To check if there are updates pending to be installed, click the Windows + I shortcut that takes us to the Settings screen and click on Update and security. Here we will see if there are pending updates and if so, we will install them to see if they solve the problem.

Check Windows activation status

The first solution that we present is to check the activation status of Windows 10, since if our copy of the system is not activated it will not be possible to change the wallpaper on our desktop. To do this, we are going to access the «Settings» menu by pressing the keyboard shortcut «Windows + I». Subsequently, we click on the “Update and security” section. On the next screen, in the left column, click on “Activation”. On the right side of the screen we can see the version of Windows that we have and in the Activation section it should appear if it is activated or not. In this case we can see that it says Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account.

Windows Activation Settings

If everything is correct or we have activated Windows 10 but we still cannot change the desktop background, we must check that the change of wallpaper is enabled in the system. This is something that we can do either from the registry or from the Group Policy Editor.

Enable changing the wallpaper in Group Policy Editor

In the case that we have a Pro or Enterprise version, we can use the Group Policy to enable the change of the wallpaper. To do this we are going to execute the keyboard shortcut “Windows + R”, which will make the Execute command appear, where we will write gpedit.msc and press Enter or the OK button.

Once the Windows Group Policy Editor is open, we must follow the following route:

Configuración de usuario / Plantillas administrativas / Panel de Control / Personalización

Group policy editor prevent changing wallpaper

Once here, we must double click on the policy “Prevent changing the wallpaper”. In the new window we must make sure that the Enabled option is not checked. Otherwise, we must disable it to allow us to change the wallpaper on our desktop. We can check both the “Disable” and “Not configured” boxes. Finally, click on «Apply» and «OK».

Use the Registry Editor

Another option that we have to enable the change of wallpaper is to use the Windows Registry Editor, something especially indicated for those who have the Home version of Windows 10. To do this, we will use the keyboard shortcut Windows + R to launch the Run command where we will write regedit and we will press Enter.

Later we must navigate to the following route:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER / SOFTWARE / Microsoft / Windows / CurrentVersion / Policies / ActiveDesktop


Once here we must locate the entry in the right panel “NoChangingWallPaper” and we will double click on it. In the new window we must make sure that the value is “0” so that it allows us to make changes to the desktop background. Click on Ok and proceed to close the Registry Editor. With this change we should not have problems to be able to change the wallpaper of our desktop.

Use the Ease of Access Center

It is also possible to use the Windows Ease of Access Center to solve the problem of not being able to set a picture or photo as the desktop background. To do this, we will enter the «Control Panel» and later in the «Accessibility Center» section.

Accessibility center to facilitate the use of the equipment

Once here, we scroll to the bottom and click on «Facilitate the use of the equipment». In the new screen we must make sure that the option “Remove background images” (when possible) is unchecked. If we are, we remove it, click on “Apply” and “OK” so that the changes are saved.

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