Cindy writes:

When I download Windows wallpaper off the Internet it is blurry. How can I correct this?

One of the first things that computer users want to change on their system is the Windows Desktop Wallpaper, which is the background image that displays on the main screen. But oftentimes the image that is chosen to be the background gets distorted, blurred or completely unusable.

The primary reason for this distortion is caused by the difference in size between the image and your systems display ‘resolution’ or screen size. By default, Windows XP is set to ‘Stretch’ images in order to fill the entire screen. This Stretching is the main cause of the blurriness.

If, for example, the size of the image that you chose as your wallpaper is 300 x 200 and your screen resolution is set at 800 x 600, than Windows is going to ‘blow up’ the image by a factor of 2.67 for the width x 3 for the height. This will cause two changes to the image. First, when you increase the size of an image, it becomes very ‘pixilated’ or blurry because there are not enough ‘dots’ or ‘pixels’ to fill the larger space.

The blurry image is because there is more space between each pixel which takes the sharpness out of the picture. The second thing that will occur is that the ‘aspect ratio’ is changed because the height was stretched slightly higher than the width. This will cause the picture to be slightly elongated.

So now that you know what cause is, here is what you can do to make it look better…

The easiest thing to do is to allow the image to be displayed in its original size, which will not allow it to cover the entire background, but the image will be clean.

To do this, right-click anywhere on the background, then select Properties. This will open a ‘Display Properties’ dialog box with several tabs across the top.

Select the ‘Desktop’ tab, then look towards the lower right side of the box for the ‘Position:’ setting. It should currently say ‘Stretch’ which can be changed to either ‘Center’ or ‘Tile.’

‘Center’ will place the image in the center of the screen at its original size and ‘Tile’ will repeat the image to cover the entire background.

If the image appears very small when you select ‘Center,’ then its true resolution is very low and may not be a good candidate as a Wallpaper image.

If you want to know what your current screen resolution is, click on the ‘Settings’ tab and look at the ‘Screen Resolution’ towards the bottom left.

Any time that you want to know the size and DPI of an image file, you can right click on it, select Properties, then click on the ‘Summary’ tab.

The larger the size and the higher the DPI, the better the image will look on your Desktop. Also, be very careful when downloading ‘free’ wallpaper as many (but not all) of the sights that offer images include spyware and adware (which cause pop-ups) as part of the deal!