Is there a way to set two different background pictures for my two monitors in Windows 7?
By default the same background picture is used for both displays. I am looking for a solution without installing extra software.
I can run one desktop background image spanned across both screens out of the box, with no extra software installed. The trick is to find an image that matches the resolution of both screens together. In my case, with 17" monitors both at 1280x1024, I need an image that is 2560x1024.
Now go to Control Panel>Apperance and Personalization>Personalization>Desktop Background and select the image. Then set the picture position to "Tile". Your background image should now be spanned across both screens.
As far as I know, this is the only way to avoid having the same image on both screens without installing 3rd party software. There is not a way to have a different image for each monitor unless you save two images next to each other as one file with the correct resolution for your monitors, giving the appearance of two separate images once applied.
If you're looking for a good source for images that match your screen resolution requirements, interfacelift.com is a good source. You can browse by resolution size and they have a wide variety to fit a range of different tastes.
The answers so far are good, but I thought there must be an open source tool that does this.
It turns out there is: Dual Monitor Tools
This is a set of Free (open source) utilities. It can configure wallpaper for a dual-screen setup. It can mix both landscape and portrait-mode monitors.
It also has several other tools, including a screenshot utility.
Not out of the box, but Display Fusion works perfectly (free version is good enough)
You can either set up different wallpapers on different screens or span one wallpaper over dual screen.
Works great with my dual 1920 x 1080 setup.
UltraMon from Realtime Soft supports this.
By default, you are limited to using the same background image on each monitor. With UltraMon, you can use a single image for the whole desktop, or different images for each monitor. In addition, you can also create gradient color backgrounds.
Wallpaper using a different image on each monitor:
Wallpaper using a single image stretched across the desktop:
From Scott Hanselman's Blog - How do I set different wallpapers for each monitor in Windows?
Windows 8 solution, doesn't work on Win7... back to stitching with Paint
Personally I went with Dual Monitor Tools but imho this is a good advice for people stitching it manually.
I have two monitors; a 1680x1050 widescreen main and a 1280x1024 sub to the right of main. I stitched together two World of Warcraft screenshots (both 1680x1050) for my backgrounds in Photoshop.
Procedure I used:
Open pic for smaller monitor in PS.
Crop image to 1280x1024 (I simply shrunk canvas; using the Rectangular Marquee tool with a Specific Size style would be better if I needed to frame it).
Extend canvas to the LEFT to 2960x1050. I set Fill Color to black, but it's not visible once the wallpaper is in place.
Open other pic in PS; to copy to clipboard. Select extended window; to paste. Use Move Tool (V) to move the layer to the (empty) far left position.
Save as .jpg and set as background.
In Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Personalization\Desktop Background, set Picture position (bottom of page) as Tile.
Note: The rightmost picture will be on your main monitor, even if you have Windows set for your sub to be on the left.
MurGeeMon can be used to have two wallpapers for 2 monitors. To know more have a look at the dual monitor software http://www.murgee.com/MurGeeMon/
Because the dual wallpaper solution requires a stitched image, I will add another method to easily stitch two images together.
Irfanview is a free, lightweight image viewer which also allows you to stitch images together using the "Image > Create Panorama Image" feature. Keep in mind this is for images (and monitors) of the same resolution.*
If your monitors are physically and logically arranged the same, then the left image will appear on the left monitor and so forth. If they are physically arranged differently (for example, monitor 2 is to the left of monitor 1), you will need to swap the images such that they appear in reverse order in the panorama image. They will appear in the proper order once selected as tiled wallpaper.
*Note: If your monitors are of differing resolutions, then you will need to add space to the image as necessary. For example if the monitor on the right is of a lesser resolution, you will need to add space above or below the image so that it equals the height of the left image.
It can get complicated if your secondary monitor is physically located to the left of your primary monitor, the monitors are differing resolutions, and you have the alignment of the two monitors adjusted in a such a way that the tops of the monitors do not align. In such cases, the image will wrap on the larger monitor at the height of the 0,0 coordinate of the smaller resolution monitor.
Dexpot is a free multi-desktop manager (think mac's 'spaces' but for PC) - and it includes the ability to set desktop images per-monitor per-virtual-desktop as well. Probably overkill if all you're looking for is changing the wallpaper on your second monitor, but figured it'd be worth mentioning nonetheless.
MultiWall was the only lightweight and extremely easy-to-use and bug-free piece that worked as needed, in my case. And has an image web crawler on top of it.
Thank you for your interest in this question.
Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?