Cannot change desktop background in Windows 10/8/7

Most of us enjoy displaying out favorite Desktop Background or Wallpaper on our Windows Desktop. But, if you find for some reason that you cannot change the desktop background or wallpaper in Windows 10 or Windows 10/8/7, you may try some of these troubleshooting steps.

Cannot change desktop background

Before you begin, please check if you have installed and third-party customization software and if it is restricting you from changing the desktop background. If so uninstall it and restart your Windows PC.

1] Open Control Panel and select ‘Ease of Access’ Center. Then, click on ‘Optimize Visual display’ link. Scroll down until you find ‘Make the computer easier to see’ section. Once found, make sure that Remove background images (where available) is unchecked. Save, Apply, Exit.

make things easier to see

This should help!

2] Open you Power Setting in Control Panel. Open Power Options > Select your power plan  > Change plan settings > Change advanced power settings > Expand the Desktop background settings option > Expand Slide show.

Cannot change desktop background

Ensure that the Plugged in option is set to Available.

3] If the above option too fails, maybe your TranscodedWallpaper.jpg file has become corrupted.

Open explorer and type the following in the address bar and hit Enter:


Here, rename TranscodedWallpaper.jpg to TranscodedWallpaper.old.

Next, double-click slideshow.ini file and open it with Notepad. Empty its contents. That is, select all the text and delete it. Save the changes. Close explorer windows.

4] If not, try this. Run regedit and navigate to the following key in the Registry Editor:


Cannot change desktop background

Right click on Policies > New > KEY > name it as ActiveDesktop.

Next in the right side, right-click > New > DWORD > name it as NoChangingWallPaper.

The DWORD value 1 will restrict change in desktop wallpaper. To allow change give it value as 0.


5] Alternatively, you could open the Group Policy Editor, by typing gpedit.msc in Run box and hitting Enter.


Navigate to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Desktop. Click Desktop again. Double-click Desktop Wallpaper.

Ensure that the Not Configured option is selected. This will enable the option to change the desktop background.

Hope something helps!

Go here if your Windows 7 slideshow feature for desktop background does not work. This post will show how to change wallpaper in Windows 7 Starter edition. See this post if you want to prevent Users from changing the Screensaver.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.