Cannot Change Desktop Wallpaper

Written by Nilpo in Windows XP | 7 Comments

“I cannot change the desktop background or wallpaper. When I select a new one in desktop properties nothing happens.” – Erin V.

Erin, I’ve been getting this question a lot recently. This is most likely due to a virus or malware. There are currently several bugs that like to make adjustments to local security settings that can result in this behavior.

You may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • The background section of the Desktop Properties dialog may be grayed out or unusable.
  • Right-clicking images and choosing Set as Desktop background has no effect.
  • You are only able to change the desktop color. Any other changes have no effect.

This can typically be resolved by making a few registry changes that reverse the unwanted security restrictions. You can use the file below to make those changes more easily.


Once you apply this registry fix, functionality should be restored. Be sure to follow this up with full ad-ware and virus scans to be sure whatever bug made the changes isn’t still present on your system.


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  • Your link to the reg file is not working…

  • Link fixed. Thank you.

  • Dear Erin,

    Tnank you very much, in fact searched many web sites to find a solution for this problem but never i found such an easy solution

  • Wow this was probably one of the most intelligent blurbs I have go over on the subject so far. I don’t know where you learn all your data but I am impressed! I am gunna send a few folks your way to read this. Fantastic, totally amazing.

  • Thank you so much! I’ve search a lot of solutions over the web. But only you can help me solve the problem! As the above bros said, it is the easiest way – few clicks only!!

    Thanks again!

  • Oh my goodness, thank you soooo sooo soooo very much!!!

  • Thank you so much! That worked. 🙂

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