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Change desktop wallpaper with powershell

Hannes Palmquist

Hannes Palmquist

Senior Consultant Cloud

I’ve seen numerous forums and blog articles trying to to change desktop wallpaper in windows, none of which works reliably. The most common solution is to set a new registry keys and then call user32.dll and the method UpdatePerUserSystemParameters and then quite literally hope that the desktop wallpaper changes. This is not always the case because Windows does not always honor the request to actually update the wallpaper settings when this method is called. The inner working of this method is not completely known and this method has never been advertised by Microsoft to be the way to change wallpaper.

However I came to the conclusion that it must exist a documented windows API to actually set a new wallpaper so I started looking into C# solutions to the same problem and sure thing it was a quite an easy procedure to change the desktop wallpaper. All I had to do was to define the type definition in Powershell and then pass the action values when calling the SystemParametersInfo method.

The below Powershell function will reliably change the desktop wallpaper and you also have the possibility to choose the style.

.GUID cfc2e719-67d8-4722-b594-3d198a1206c7
.FILENAME Set-DesktopWallpaper.ps1
.AUTHOR Hannes Palmquist
.CREATEDDATE 2019-10-14
.COPYRIGHT (c) 2019, Hannes Palmquist, All Rights Reserved
function Set-DesktopWallpaper {
Sets a desktop background image
.PARAMETER PicturePath
Defines the path to the picture to use for background
Defines the style of the wallpaper. Valid values are, Tiled, Centered, Stretched, Fill, Fit, Span
Set-DesktopWallpaper -PicturePath "C:\pictures\picture1.jpg" -Style Fill
Set-DesktopWallpaper -PicturePath "C:\pictures\picture2.png" -Style Centered
Author: Hannes Palmquist
COPYRIGHT: © 2019, Hannes Palmquist, All Rights Reserved
Supports jpg, png and bmp files.
[ValidateSet('Tiled', 'Centered', 'Stretched', 'Fill', 'Fit', 'Span')]$Style = 'Fill'
$Definition = @"
[DllImport("user32.dll", EntryPoint = "SystemParametersInfo")]
public static extern int SystemParametersInfo(int uAction, int uParam, string lpvParam, int fuWinIni);
Add-Type -MemberDefinition $Definition -Name Win32SystemParametersInfo -Namespace Win32Functions
$Action_SetDeskWallpaper = [int]20
$Action_UpdateIniFile = [int]0x01
$Action_SendWinIniChangeEvent = [int]0x02
$HT_WallPaperStyle = @{
'Tiles' = 0
'Centered' = 0
'Stretched' = 2
'Fill' = 10
'Fit' = 6
'Span' = 22
$HT_TileWallPaper = @{
'Tiles' = 1
'Centered' = 0
'Stretched' = 0
'Fill' = 0
'Fit' = 0
'Span' = 0
Set-ItemProperty -Path 'HKCU:\Control Panel\Desktop' -Name wallpaperstyle -Value $HT_WallPaperStyle[$Style]
Set-ItemProperty -Path 'HKCU:\Control Panel\Desktop' -Name wallpaperstyle -Value $HT_TileWallPaper[$Style]
$null = [Win32Functions.Win32SystemParametersInfo]::SystemParametersInfo($Action_SetDeskWallpaper, 0, $PicturePath, ($Action_UpdateIniFile -bor $Action_SendWinIniChangeEvent))