Can’t Change Background on Windows 11/10: 11 Ways to Fix it

Apply these solutions if you can't change background on Windows 10 PC

by Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about technology ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. He's a PC enthusiast and he... read more
Reviewed by Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Editor-in-Chief
Passionate about technology, Windows, and everything that has a power button, he spent most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. Coming... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Customizing Windows based on your preferences is one of the ways to make the PC your own.
  • You can not only change the color palette of the taskbar but also apply different wallpapers perfect to your mood.
  • However, there are several users' reports claiming that because of an error, they aren't able to change the background on their Windows 10 PCs.
  • This guide lists down some of the effective solutions that you can apply to fix the problem.

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If you cannot change your desktop background on your Windows 10 computer, it could be the setting is disabled, or there’s another underlying cause.

Several users have reported not being able to change the background on their Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs, ultimately not allowing them to customize their PCs as per their requirements.

If you’ve tried all the basic fixes you know and nothing seems to work, then you can check out some of the workarounds below and see if one of these does the trick for you.

Why can’t I change my background on Windows 10?

Here are some common reasons you can’t change the background on your Windows 10 PC.

  • Check if your copy of Windows 10 is activated.
  • Some critical system files might be corrupted or missing.
  • There is a presence of a virus or malware.
  • The wallpaper that you are trying to set is not supported.
  • The TranscodedWallpaper file might have gone corrupt.
  • Prevent changing desktop background group policy might be enabled.
  • There is some issue with your registry settings.
  • The power options have some issues.

What do I do if I can’t change the background on Windows 10?

  1. Preliminary fixes
  2. Check that your Windows 10 is activated
  3. Create a new user profile with admin rights
  4. Delete TranscodedWallpaper or slideshow file in Registry editor
  5. Use Registry Editor
  6. Perform a clean boot
  7. Disable the video driver
  8. Use Ease of Access center
  9. Check that Plugged In option in desktop background settings is available
  10. Use Group Policy Editor
  11. Activate ‘Show Windows Background’

1. Preliminary fixes

  1. Turn off Show Windows background.
  2. Check if you have installed a third-party customization software, as it could restrict you from changing the desktop background. If so, uninstall it and restart your computer, then try to change the background again.
  3. Reinstall Windows again from your recovery key.

2. Check that your Windows 10 is activated

  1. Press Win + R to open the Run dialogue.
  2. Type explorer shell:::{D555645E-D4F8-4C29-A827-D93C859C4F2A}\pageEasierToSee and press Enter.
  3. Go to the Make the computer easier to see option.
  4. Uncheck the Remove background images (where available) checkbox.
  5. Click OK when done.
  6. Reboot your computer and try changing the background again.

3. Create a new user profile with admin rights

  1. Press the Win + I buttons to open Settings.
  2. Click Family and Other people.
  3. Select Accounts.
  4. Click Add someone else to this PC.
  5. Fill in the form with the username and password. Your new user account will be created.
  6. Click on Change account type.
  7. Click the drop-down arrow and choose Administrator to set the account to administrator level.
  8. Restart your computer.

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Login to your new account and set the desktop background again.

4. Delete TranscodedWallpaper or slideshow file in Registry editor

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Paste this path in the address bar: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Themes
  3. Double-click the slideshow.ini file and open it in Notepad.
  4. Empty the contents of that file in Notepad by selecting all the text and deleting it.
  5. Save the changes and close File Explorer.
  6. Try and change the background again.

5. Use Registry Editor

  1. Right-click Start and select Run.
  2. Expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
  3. Click Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies.
  4. Right-click on Policies.
  5. Click New.
  6. Click KEY and name it as ActiveDesktop.
  7. On the right side, right-click New.
  8. Select DWORD and name it as NoChangingWallPaper. The DWORD value 1 will restrict change in desktop wallpaper. To allow change give it a value of 0.
  9. Restart your computer.

6. Perform a clean boot

  1. Log on as an administrator, and type msconfig in the search box.
  2. Select System Configuration.
  3. Find Services tab.
  4. Select Hide all Microsoft services box.
  5. Click Disable all.
  6. Go to the Startup tab.
  7. Click Open Task Manager.
  8. Close Task manager, then click OK.
  9. Reboot your computer.

7. Disable the video driver

  1. Right-click Start and select Device manager.
  2. Right-click your graphics card.
  3. Select Disable device.
  4. Restart your computer.
  5. Try to change the background image again.

8. Use Ease of Access center

  1. Press the Win + I buttons to open Settings.
  2. Select Ease of Access.
  3. Click Optimize Visual Display.
  4. Scroll down and find Make the computer easier to see section.
  5. Make sure that Remove background images (where available) are unchecked.
  6. Click Save, Apply, and Exit.

9. Check that Plugged In option in desktop background settings is available

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Click Hardware and Sound.
  3. Click Power Options.
  4. Select your power plan.
  5. Click Change plan settings.
  6. Click Change advanced power settings.
  7. Select Expand the desktop background settings.
  8. Click Expand slideshow.
  9. Set the Plugged In option to Available.

10. Use Group Policy Editor

  1. Right-click Start and select Run.
  2. Type gpedit.msc and press Enter.
  3. Go to User configuration.
  4. Select Administrative Templates.
  5. Double click Control Panel.
  6. Double Click Personalization.
  7. Look for the policy Prevent changing desktop background.
  8. Double-click on it to access its properties.
  9. Select Not Configured or Disabled to enable changing desktop background. If it is enabled, disable it.

11. Activate the Show Windows Background option

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Ease of Access.
  3. Click More Options.
  4. There’s a slider that reads Show Windows Background.
  5. Activate it and change the background again to see if it works.

What do I do if I can’t change the background on Windows 11?

You can also apply all the solutions mentioned above for Windows 11 PC, where you cannot change the desktop background.

However, if nothing works, we suggest you perform a clean install. Not only will this eliminate all the bugs, glitches, viruses, or malware that might be present on your PC, but it will also replace the corrupt or missing system files.

How do I reset my desktop background?

  1. Press the Win + R keys to open the Run dialogue.
  2. Type regedit and hit Enter.Run regedit and click ok.
  3. Navigate to the below path. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Wallpapers
  4. On the right side, select the BackgroundHistoryPath0, BackgroundHistoryPath1, BackgroundHistoryPath2, BackgroundHistoryPath3, and BackgroundHistoryPath4 string values, right-click on them and select Delete.
  5. Click Yes to confirm the changes.
  6. Close the Registry Editor.

Did any of these solutions help you restore the change background feature? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below.

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