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February 7, 2013

Using a gallery wallpaper on your lock screen in Windows 8 or Windows RT

The other day I was looking at comments people had left in the Personalization Gallery, and I noticed that someone asked, “How can I change my cartoon Space Needle lock screen picture to something different?”

After getting over my surprise that not everyone loves the Space Needle as much as those of us here in the Pacific Northwest, it occurred to me what a great opening this is to not only tell you how incredibly easy it is to change your lock screen image, but also show you how you can use any of the wallpapers on the Personalization Gallery to personalize Windows 8 and Windows RT in a variety of ways. 

Here’s how:

  1. On the Wallpapers page of the Personalization Gallery, choose an image you like. For our demonstration, I’ll choose this photo of a cove in Port Antonio, Jamaica.
  1. Click the image so it fills your browser window, then right-click it.
    • If you’re using Internet Explorer 10, just choose Save to picture library.
    • If you’re using Internet Explorer 10 for the desktop, or an older version of Internet Explorer, choose Save picture as, and make sure the folder you’re saving to is in your Pictures library.
  1. Open the Photos app. The first collection of photos should be your pictures library. Open it to find the image you just saved.
  2. When you find the image, open it up full screen, then right-click (or swipe in from the bottom of the screen) and choose Set as.

This brings up three options:

  • Lock screen – As you can probably guess, choosing this option sets the selected image as your new lock screen picture.
  • App tile – Choose this to change the Start screen tile of your Photos app to feature the selected image.
  • App background – Choose this to change the background of your Photos app to the selected image.

With just a few clicks, my new favorite image is now featured on my lock screen and on my Start screen in the Photos app tile.


By the way, you can also use PC settings to change your lock screen if you prefer. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Settings charm, and choose Change PC settings. (If you’re not sure what the charms are and how to get to them, here’s a good guide.)
  2. The first option is Personalization, so it will likely be chosen by default. If it isn’t, choose it.
  3. In Personalization, the first option is Lock screen, so it should also be selected by default.
  4. Choose one of the other images shown, or choose Browse to find and choose any other image in your collection.

Incidentally, you probably already know that if you want to set an image as your desktop wallpaper, all you have to do is open it in IE from the desktop, right-click the image, and choose Set as background. If you’re not on the desktop, click the tools icon (it looks like a wrench) on the app bar at the bottom of IE, and choose View on the desktopthen right-click and choose Set as background.


You can also download wallpapers to use on your Windows phone. Just navigate to the image you want using Internet Explorer on your phone, and then tap on the picture and hold for two seconds to bring up the options save picture and share picture. Tap on save picture, then go to your pictures collection, find and open the image full-screen, and choose use as wallpaper.


Now Windows on my phone matches Windows on my Surface RT. The new wallpaper even kind of goes with the custom Monet skins I added to my devices.


I hope this gives you some inspiration for personalizing Windows 8, both with your own pictures and with the many wallpapers and themes on the Personalization Gallery. (We’ll keep on adding new stuff, so keep on checking back for more… we may even add some new images of the Space Needle!)