[Solved] Cannot Change Desktop Background Wallpaper In Windows 7 All Versions

by Abhishek Bhatnagar on January 27, 2012

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Some of friends faced this problem in different versions of windows 7 including Ultimate, Premium in which user is allowed to change the desktop wallpaper any time so it was not the windows 7 starter and basic versions which does not allow user to change windows 7 theme and desktop background but there are ways to do both, in case you want to know read our guide here and here.

cannot change wallpaper in windows 7

As reported about this problem by different users following thing happens in most the cases.

“In Windows 7, when you try to change your desktop background by clicking Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization and then Change desktop Background, the check boxes are not selected when clicked and the  Select all and Clear all buttons do not work as expected. Therefore, you cannot change desktop background.”

or in some cases

“In Windows 7, when you try to right-click a picture and then select Set as desktop background, you receive the following error message: This image can’t be set as wallpaper. An internal error occurred.”

or in some cases

“In Windows 7, you see a black background even though you change your background picture.”

or in some cases

“In Windows 7, the slideshow feature for desktop background does not work from a certain time although it works well before.”

All the above scenarios indicate some corrupted windows 7 theme files or some fault in registry which might get corrupted due to following reasons listed below.

  • There are third-party applications like Display Manager from Samsung. (resolution, uninstall)
  • Background setting in the power options is disabled
  • The Remove background images option is incorrectly checked (Control Panel\Ease of Access\Ease of Access Center\Make the computer easier to see)
  • Domain policy disables the background changing
  • Corrupted TranscodedWallpaper.jpg in C:\\windows\web\wallpaper
  • You are using Windows 7 Starter or Windows 7 Home Basic; these versions of Windows 7 do not support changing the desktop background picture

In order fix the problem there are different ways depending on how you are encountering this specific error on your windows 7 machine.

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Fix 1: Incompatible Windows Themes Related Programs

Some applications that help manage display settings can cause compatibility issues with setting background pictures, displaying Aero glass and other Windows functionality. As a test, disable or uninstall any display management  applications that are installed on your computer.

Fix 2: Check background setting in the Power options

An option is available in the Power Options settings that will pause the background slideshow, follow the steps below to check your background settings in power options:

  1. Click Start and type Power Options in the Search box and then click Power Options from the list
  2. In the Select a power plan window, click Change plan settings next to your currently selected Power plan
  3. Click Change advanced power settings and then click to expand the Desktop background settings option
  4. Click to expand Slide show and make sure that the Plugged in: option is set to Available
  5. Click OK and then close the Edit plan window

Fix 3: Check the Remove background setting under the Ease of Access settings

An option is available in the Ease of Access settings that will remove background images, follow the steps below to check your background settings in power options:

  1. Click Start, Control panel, Ease of Access and then click Ease of Access Center
  2. Under Explore all settings click Make the computer easier to see
  3. Make sure that the option to Remove background images is unchecked
  4. Click OK 2 times and then close the Ease of Access Center window

Fix 4: Corrupted TranscodedWallpaper.jpg

If the TranscodedWallpaper.jpg file has become corrupted you may be unable to change the desktop background picture, deleting this file can correct this issue and let you to change the background picture,  follow the steps below to delete the TranscodedWallpaper.jpg file:

  1. Copy the following text, and then click Start and past the text into the search box and click the Enter key on the keyboard:
    %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Themes\
  2. Right-click the file that is named TranscodedWallpaper.jpg  and then click Rename
  3. Rename the file to TranscodedWallpaper.old, (change .jpg to .old) and then click Yes when prompted
  4. Double-click slideshow.ini. Slideshow.ini should open with Notepad. Select all the text in slideshow.ini  if any exists and press Delete on the keyboard, and then click File and Save to save the changes.
  5. Close Notepad and close the Windows Explorer window and browse to the picture that will be set as the background image
  6. Try to apply a background picture again.

Fix 5: Check for a Domain policy that disables the background changing

If you are joined to a domain, your domain administrator may have disabled the changing of the desktop background, follow the steps below to check the desktop background policy:

  1. Click Start and type group policy in the Search box and then click Edit Group Policy from the list
  2. Click to expand the following policy tree structure: User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Desktop, Desktop, and double-click Desktop WallpaperSelect
    Note: If the Policy is enabled and set to a specific image, users cannot change the background. If the option is enabled and the image is not available, no background image is displayed.
  3. Select Not Configured to enable the changing of the desktop background

If none of the above method worked for you, You can still fix it by doing some changes in windows registry, follow this guide to know more or refer to this thread on microsoft answers portal for windows where you may get more solutions.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kevin Malmo January 27, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I thought it is only limited to starter version…
Thanks to the idea… :)

jon June 26, 2012 at 12:28 am

Fix 4: Corrupted TranscodedWallpaper.jpg

This fixed it! thanks

ahmad October 9, 2012 at 9:58 am

was an ease of access option fixed it thank you very much

adelon January 7, 2013 at 5:14 am

thank you……my desktop background was changed…….brilliant mind………GOD BLESS YOU!

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