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How to turn off the desktop background on Windows 10

If you have a Windows 10 system that is a few years old, you will find it struggles when used for processor-heavy tasks. This is to be expected because apps update and add new features in anticipation of being run on more modern systems that have better, more capable hardware. If you have an old Windows 10 system or you’d like to squeeze just a bit more power from your current hardware, you can make a few UI changes that will reduce the impact of Windows 10 on system resources.

Turn off desktop background

The desktop background i.e., wallpaper refreshes periodically. The higher the resolution of the wallpaper, the better your hardware needs to be in order to render it well. Displaying the wallpaper does consume more processing power, and you can disable it.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the Ease of Access group of settings.
  3. Select the Display tab.
  4. Scroll down to the ‘Show desktop background image’ switch and turn it off.
  5. Your desktop background will be replaced with a solid black, and it will start to load much faster.

Alternative to turning off desktop background

An alternative to turning off the desktop background is to use a solid color for the background. Users can set the background color to black (or anything else), but it will not have the same impact as turning the background off. It will still free up some system resources.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the Personalization group of settings.
  3. Select the Background tab.
  4. Open the Background dropdown.
  5. Select Solid Color.
  6. Pick a preset color or click ‘Custom Color’, and pick any color that you like. You can use an RGB or HEX color code to set a specific color.

If you don’t like a plain background, you can still use a wallpaper so long as it’s minimal. Don’t use anything that is too intricate e.g. a 4K image of the moon. Look for simple vector wallpapers, or go with something that’s black and white, or black and grey.


Rendering the wallpaper takes some processing capabilities. The feature isn’t a heavy one, and it really is just a UI element. No one needs a good-looking wallpaper in order to get work done or keep Windows 10 stable. You can turn it off if it means your system runs better. Many users disable the wallpaper because it’s easier to identify icons on a solid background, while others do it to keep themselves focused on work. If you record screencasts and they tend to lag, turning the desktop background will reduce the lag.

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