1. Get The Right Resolution
Regardless of its artistic beauty, a wallpaper that doesn’t come in a high enough resolution and matching aspect ratio will look grainy and distorted. To avoid awkward looking background images, you should understand the specs of your monitor before you start hunting for great wallpapers.
Screen resolutions are denoted in pixels, e.g. 800 x 600. The numbers indicate how many pixels your monitor can display horizontally (800) and vertically (600). The resolution also reveals that the monitor in this example has an aspect ratio of 4 : 3 (horizontal : vertical pixels).
A perfect wallpaper has to meet two criteria:
- high enough resolution
- matching aspect ratio
This article from CrunchGear provides a resolution chart (depicted below) that lets you pick the right wallpaper aspect ratio and resolution for your monitor. For example, if your monitor has a resolution of 1600 x 1200 you have a 4:3 aspect ratio. This ratio is color-coded red, so you can use all resolutions in red that are 1600 x 1200 or greater.
So how do you find out your monitor’s native resolution and aspect ratio?
Right-click on the desktop and select > Screen resolution from the menu and look for the number next to > Resolution:
Right-click on the desktop, select > Properties from the menu and switch to the > Settings tab. You’ll see a slider under > Screen resolution in the bottom left.
2. Find the Most Beautiful Wallpapers
The amount of websites that offer free wallpapers is endless. Fortunately, you came to the right place and we have already done some weeding out for you. You can either get some fresh wallpapers from our themed compilations or find your own favorites in the resources we have covered.
- 15 Cool Facebook Wallpaper Themes For Windows/Mac/Linux
- 10 Sexy Wallpapers Your Significant Other Will Approve Of
- 10 Beautiful Green Grass Wallpapers
- Cool Windows 7 Wallpapers That You Have To Check Out
- 9 Fascinating and Cool 3D Backgrounds for Computers
- 7 Websites for Free Patriotic Wallpaper Themes
- 10 Awesome Desktop Backgrounds For A Movie Fan
- 4 Great Places To Find Free Beautiful Photo Desktop Wallpapers
- The Best Resources to Pimp Your Wallpaper
- The 8 Best Sites For Funny Computer Desktop Wallpapers
- 8 Simple Ways To Use Flickr For Your Wallpaper Downloads
- Create Cool Desktop Wallpapers Quickly using Microsoft Word
- How to Create Top Quality Computer Desktop Wallpapers
- 5 Tutorials To Make Your Own Amazing Wallpapers In GIMP
- Best Sites to Download Very High Resolution Wallpapers
- Best Sites To Download Good High-Res Wallpapers (Part Two)
3. Shuffle Your Wallpapers
Now that you have skimmed through all those resources, you’re left with dozens of wallpapers you like and you cannot make up your mind. Don’t despair because you don’t have to! Rather than settling for just one wallpaper, why not use all of them?
If you have Windows 7 Home or up, you can personalize your computer and that includes your desktop. Right-click on the desktop and select > Personalize. In the bottom left of the window that opens click on > Desktop Background. From > Picture Location: select the folder where you stored your wallpapers or click > Browse… to add a custom folder. Select all the images you want to use, then select the > Picture position define to > Change picture every… and check > Shuffle to not see the same sequence every time. Finally click > Save Changes and enjoy.
Windows XP doesn’t offer an inbuilt tool to shuffle your wallpapers. However, there are many third party applications that can do that trick. I have been using ScrollWall and I also like John’s Background Switcher. Another super fascinating wallpaper tool with a social twist is Wallcast.
All aforementioned applications and several more are described in these articles:
- Personalize Your Desktop Wallpaper & Make It Social With Wallcast
- Take Flickr Straight to your Desktop with Interactive Wallpaper Updates (John’s Background Switcher)
- The Best Resources to Pimp Your Wallpaper (ScrollWall)
- How to Set A Bing Wallpaper Desktop Slideshow In Windows 7
- Wally – Awesome Wallpaper Rotator for Windows, Mac & Linux
- Set Up Active Desktop Wallpaper With WallPapa [Windows]
4. Create An Unobstructed View Of Your Wallpaper/s
So you have this fantastic wallpaper or maybe you have already set up shuffling, but what is it that you see on your desktop? Lots of icons! To really enjoy the view, you need to get rid of them! BEFORE vs AFTER IMAGE I have written two articles that will guide you to a beautifully organized and minimalist desktop:
5. Get An Animated Desktop Wallpaper
My final advice should be: keep it simple. However, if you have resources to spare, go ahead and get yourself an animated desktop wallpaper. In Windows 7 you can use your screensaver as a wallpaper. To use a video of your own you have to convert it to an .scr (screensaver) file.