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Windows 7: How to center a picture for desktop wallpaper in Windows 7

18 Jul 2014   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit (version 6.1.7601 Service Pack 1 Build 7601)
How to center a picture for desktop wallpaper in Windows 7

Hello all,

I was a long-time XP user and just switched over to Windows 7 a couple months ago. I like to change my desktop wallpaper every week or so, usually to funny things I find online. Some pictures look great filling the whole screen. Others are better centered as a smaller picture in the middle of the screen (e.g., the full screen version results in a warped picture or causes part of the picture to be cut off, or it's just too "in your face" for full screen, etc.). I was able to switch back and forth from "stretch" to "center" in XP without a problem. I'm not having success in Windows 7.

Here is what I've done: select a picture from my Pictures folder, open it (default viewer is Windows Photo Viewer), right click on the image, select "set as desktop background," and presto, the desktop background becomes a full-screen version of the picture. However, it's blurry and cut off in full screen. So I went to Control Panel, Change Desktop Background, and it displays my picture with a drop-down menu that has options for fill, fit, stretch, tile, and center. It's already set to center even though the picture is filling the screen. I tried each of the other options, hitting "save changes" each time, and none of the options changed the display at all. Where am I going wrong?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jul 2014   #2


When you select an image and set it as desktop background from its context menu as you are doing now, the image will be automatically sized for full screen. If the image is smaller it will be enlarged before Windows uses it and this enlarged copy saved as background.

To get what you want to you must select the background image in Control Panel > Change Desktop Background:
How to center a picture for desktop wallpaper in Windows 7-2014-07-19_02h00_41.png
Now if you select Center, the image will not be resized but will instead be shown in the middle of the desktop in its original size.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jul 2014   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit (version 6.1.7601 Service Pack 1 Build 7601)

Hi Kari,

Thanks so much for your quick reply! The method you described is the method I used to change the desktop wallpaper when I had XP. The reason I started doing it differently when I switched to Windows 7 is because the control panel doesn't seem to "see" the pictures. I have a folder entitled "My Pictures." It contains lots of pictures (mostly JPEG) as well as numerous subfolders folders full of pictures (e.g., "Camping Trip 7-14-13"). It sees the folders, but not the individual pictures. I tried copying a picture to a different folder on my desktop, tried to navigate to it through the control panel, and again it couldn't see the JPEG image.

I've found a couple of work-arounds, but they suck. The control panel can see folders full of pictures, just not individual pictures in the My Pictures file that aren't filed in subfolders. As an experiment, I used the control panel to navigate to My Pictures and selected a random file (Camping Trip 7-14-13). It then opened up all 6 pictures in that file; all were pre-selected with checkmarks (I assume this is for the slideshow option). So, I went back into the My Pictures file, created a folder called "Potential Wallpapers," and moved a good 30 images or so into it. Then I used the control panel to navigate to that folder, selected it, and the control panel showed all of the images, pre-selected with checkmarks. I chose "unselect all," found the image I wanted, selected it, and SUCCESS! The image is now centered. Why this sucks: the control panel shows thumbnails of the images without titles. I didn't see any way to change that. Sifting through 30-plus tiny thumbnails to find the picture I wanted was painstaking.

So then I tried something else, and it sucked less. I went to My Pictures, created a new folder (I just left it named New Folder), and then moved the image I wanted into that folder. I then used the control panel to navigate to My Pictures, selected New Folder, and it popped up with just that picture. So I can move the picture I want for my desktop background into that file prior to selecting it via the control panel every week. That's less of a hassle than sifting through tiny thumbnails with no titles, but it's still an extra step. Never had this problem with XP. Is this a quirk of Windows 7 or just some setting that I'm unaware of?

THANKS!! It's nice at least to be able to center desktop wallpapers again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

18 Jul 2014   #4


I do not understand your reason for that workaround but if it works for you I'm happy.

Personally I just browse to an image folder and zoom thumbnails bigger. From this:
How to center a picture for desktop wallpaper in Windows 7-2014-07-19_02h45_09.png
... to this:
How to center a picture for desktop wallpaper in Windows 7-2014-07-19_02h48_06.png

My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jul 2014   #5
A Guy

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1

See Option Three on this tutorial to add locations to the drop down menu

Desktop Background - Remove Picture Location History

A Guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How to center a picture for desktop wallpaper in Windows 7

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