I connect to several different machines over a VPN using windows remote desktop. I would like to find several low bandwidth friendly wallpapers to distinguish one machine from another. It's not that my VPN connection is so slow that I have to turn wallpaper off in the RDP settings, but when the wallpaper is visible and the screen refreshes, it slows me down.

The problem is that most wallpapers are designed to be visually appealing with all kinds of high definition color contrasts.

Anyone know where I can find wallpaper that is free and lo-res?

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    2 answers make up the idea solution, mix of solid colours + BgInfo from sysinternals (or equivalent) – Nick Josevski Aug 6 '12 at 23:21

Personally I wouldn't use wallpaper at all - I'd leave the desktop a solid color, and make them each a different color (essentially color-coding them). This is the lowest bandwidth method to do this.

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    Use a black, grey or white desktop colour, e.g., #000000 to #FFFFFF. The three consecutive color bytes bitmap gets the most data compression through the wire, the lowest bandwidth! – William C Aug 6 '12 at 23:29
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    @WilliamC - Clever! (Although obviously not of very much practical difference.) – Shinrai Aug 7 '12 at 1:56
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    @WilliamC: I don't think that will do anything. – Mechanical snail Aug 7 '12 at 9:23
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    Watch out when setting a solid color as your desktop background! support.microsoft.com/kb/977346 – Der Hochstapler Aug 7 '12 at 19:25
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    It says that the 30 second delay problem doesn't appear if you connect remotely (which is what the OP is doing). – JJJ Aug 7 '12 at 19:48

An option would be to use BgInfo from Sysinternals to display the system information which would allow you to differentiate each session by simply seeing the machine name on the desktop. And you get the added bonus of seeing all the other system information as well.

It automatically displays relevant information about a Windows computer on the desktop's background, such as the computer name, IP address, service pack version, and more. You can edit any field as well as the font and background colors, and can place it in your startup folder so that it runs every boot, or even configure it to display as the background for the logon screen.

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  • If you're using this over a low-bandwidth connection, should you choose options that do not update frequently to avoid redrawing/refreshing the background? – Freiheit Aug 7 '12 at 13:46
  • I have used BgInfo and it works well enough. But you have to read and I don't want to expend any unnecessary brain cycles. I just don't have enough of those. :-) And in this case it's not dozens or hundreds of servers - only 4 different machines – Mark Arnott Aug 7 '12 at 14:27
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    @Freiheit - This doesn't update much. What BGInfo does is run, extract the system info, write it to a bitmap, and set that as the desktop background. Generally, you have it run once, at logon. It then exits until the next boot/logon. – Fake Name Aug 8 '12 at 7:22

I would recommend to create a wallpaper with computer name, IP and whatever details you need. Also, you can use a very handy and free tool called BGInfor (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897557.aspx) Good luck :)

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I use @Shinrai's answer of the solid color, but if you must have specific backgrounds, one thing to do is make a very small jpg/png/gif image and use it as a "centered" background. I usually put in the name of the computer, and that's it.

Then I color code the background color.


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