Scott Hanselman

How do I set different wallpapers for each monitor in Windows?

September 25, '14 Comments [27] Posted in Tools
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I wanted a different wallpaper (or "screensaver," for the non-technical relatives, because I know you call desktop wallpaper that) for each of my multiple monitors in Windows. To start changing your wallpaper, first right-click on the desktop on click Personalize.

Right click to Personalize

Click the words "Desktop Background" at the bottom of the Personalization dialog.

How to change your Desktop Background

Now, from here, if you LEFT-click a wallpaper you're selecting that wallpaper for ALL your monitors.

BUT, if you RIGHT-click on an image, you can set wallpapers individually.

Right click to set wallpaper individually


About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014 10:23:17 AM UTC
Never knew this. My "workaround" was to use the bing rss feed. Thanks for sharing Scott
Thursday, September 25, 2014 10:40:31 AM UTC
Is this working for Windows 7 as well?
Thursday, September 25, 2014 10:50:45 AM UTC
Thanks for the tip Scott - also see "John's Background Switcher". I still use this as it make multi monitor easy & does a nice job of fit to height/width while filling extra space with a colour derived from the photo.
Brian Russell
Thursday, September 25, 2014 10:55:40 AM UTC
Well, stone the crows! Never knew that.
Looks like Windows 7 only, but hey.. every little helps :)
Thursday, September 25, 2014 11:27:56 AM UTC
That is cool. For Win 7, I stitched 2 pngs together. We work with what we have!
Thursday, September 25, 2014 11:36:39 AM UTC
I'll second Brian Russel. Try John's Background Switcher in "Postcard Pile" mode ...
Thursday, September 25, 2014 11:58:35 AM UTC
Wanted this. Gave up trying to figure it out.

Thanks, as always.
Thursday, September 25, 2014 12:01:49 PM UTC
Windows 8 only, not supported on Windows 7.

Back to stitching with Paint.NET...
Michael Dudley
Thursday, September 25, 2014 12:19:41 PM UTC
Running Windows 7 Enterprise Service Pack 1, when I right click, I see:

Open With -->
Thursday, September 25, 2014 1:13:51 PM UTC
I'm curious if this works for those of us who are only occasionally connected to a second screen. If I set this up and then disconnect from my monitor for a time, does it remember when I reconnect the monitor or do I have to configure it again?
Thursday, September 25, 2014 2:47:50 PM UTC
On Windows 8, selecting multiple images to shuffle thru seems to automatically display different images on each monitor. (That's what I prefer.) But selecting multiple images doesn't seem to allow this right click option to disable it.

One nice effect with shuffling background images, sets the active window's border color based on the current background image's predominant color. As the backgrounds images shuffle, the border color changes for a nice ambient lighting effect. Only windows with borders (e.g. Browsers, notepad, etc, not Outlook, OneNote etc) display this effect.
john xvt
Thursday, September 25, 2014 3:03:59 PM UTC
As is only too often the case, this is yet another thing that I've read on the internet that just doesn't work on my machine - seeing the same as @Scott.

Not quite as annoying as when I'm looking up the solution to a software issue, but it has taken the edge of an otherwise satisfying Thursday at work.

Bob Armour
Thursday, September 25, 2014 3:49:23 PM UTC
What I'd love to be able to do is have the text size independent for each monitor.
I have 2 monitors connected to my Surface Pro 2 ... in order to have the fonts size ok on the monitors the font size is too small on the Surface Pro 2 screen....

Barely usable
Thursday, September 25, 2014 7:23:39 PM UTC
DisplayFusion has a free version that lets you set different wallpapers for each screen.
The paid version changes the wallpaper for each screen every x minutes.
Thursday, September 25, 2014 8:48:09 PM UTC
I just recently changed my second monitor to a vertical display, and the multi-monitor solution I had for double-horizontal displays wasn't cutting it. Thanks for the tip! Works perfectly for my situation.
Thursday, September 25, 2014 9:14:03 PM UTC
I know you are good, how ever I tried your ASP.NET MVC Cheesy Northwind project and found out it is broken in MVC 5. I only have VS2013 and would like to learn MVC. Anyway you could get it to work with MVC 4 or 5?

Looks like the RenderView is no longer supported in the current version of MVC. The Binding function also seemed to disappeared. How can I get around this.

I am a cabinet maker and need all the help I can get. Keep up the good work as I do read your blogs.

I want to add search capability to my web site.

Regards, Mark
Friday, September 26, 2014 4:25:13 AM UTC
This is excellent. (works great on Windows 8) I did not know that.

Friday, September 26, 2014 6:22:23 AM UTC
Thanks Scott, sadly meddling with these settings kills bing desktop wallpapers and I can't figure out how to get it working again :(
James Makumbi
Friday, September 26, 2014 7:44:24 AM UTC
I use Bing Desktop which changes my wallpaper daily to give me a please surprise every 24 hours. also syncs on all my desktops and laptops and windows phone, (windows phone has its own feature as you would already know that).
Friday, September 26, 2014 10:44:03 AM UTC
This would've been really useful when I was showing support for my World Cup sweepstake teams, had a constant struggle with this for the entire tournament!
Sunday, September 28, 2014 2:27:45 PM UTC
What I've found is that these setting are synchronized between my Win8 computers. Is there any way of setting some pictures to not be shown on some computers?
I like having a picture of my wife and kid on my desktop, but not on my laptop which I use when trying to sell at customer sites. Having those images projected on the potential customers projector screens is not the best of ideas...
Vidar Lund
Sunday, September 28, 2014 8:45:02 PM UTC
Another "holy sh.." moment.

Thanks for writing about this! I used a special tool that would glue wallpapers together, but now I know...
Monday, September 29, 2014 12:29:42 PM UTC
It was like: woooot.
Thanks for sharing.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 1:55:13 PM UTC
to me, that is what I find most satisfying, thanks
Wednesday, October 01, 2014 2:18:26 PM UTC
I gave up on wallpapers a while ago (basic black is much easier on the eyes). But back when I did use wallpapers on multiple monitor setups the workaround I used was photoshop -- I would just go build a 3200x1200 image or what have you and set things to not scale. Also worked great on uneven monitor setups.
Wyatt Barnett
Thursday, October 02, 2014 4:58:38 PM UTC
I use DisplayFusion. It not only lets you manage wallpapers on multiple monitors, it can automatically download new wallpapers from a variety of sources based on your search criteria. It also manages monitor settings, moves windows from display to display...

It's not free, but it is worth the small investment.
Daniel Schrader
Friday, October 17, 2014 12:15:08 PM UTC
Great post.
Thanks for sharing this post with us.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.