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Windows XP and the Display - Desktop

Cannot Change the Desktop Wallpaper or its Position

SUMMARY: If you cannot change your Windows XP desktop wallpaper because all options are disabled, or if you can change it but not its position, view this tip.

A virus, certain spyware, a malformed registry, or other circumstances can transpire making it impossible for you to change the Windows XP desktop wallpaper. When you try to modify the background picture, neither the list of images nor the "Browse" button is clickable. If this happens, you can perform a registry tweak to restore the functionality. Note you must be an Administrator to perform this tip.

NOTE: Be careful what you are doing when modifying the registry as you can harm your computer or keep it from booting! Read the disclaimer.

1. Run "Regedit".

2. Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\policies

3. If you see a folder (key) "ActiveDesktop" select it. If not, make a new key and label it "ActiveDesktop".

4. If you see "NoChangingWallPaper", double-click the DWORD value and set it to "0". Otherwise, you need to create a new DWORD value of "NoChangingWallPaper" and set it to "0".

5. Try changing your wallpaper. If this fix doesn't solve the problem, you may also need to make the above registry changes at location: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies .

What if I can't change my wallpaper position?

Several people have noted that with this fix they can change their desktop wallpaper, but not its position (stretch, tile, etc.). This situation has been noted with some HP computers and a "Wallpaper Picture Position Enabler" is available for some models. This discussion on Microsoft mentions how to get this possible fix.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.