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Changing your Windows CE desktop wallpaper


Applies To

  • Windows CE 1.0, 1.01
  • Windows CE 2.0, SP1
  • Handheld PC Professional, SP1
  • Handheld PC 2000


This article provides a guide to install, use and change desktop wallpapers for Windows CE based Handheld PC devices. You can download wallpapers from many places on the Internet, including here at HPC:Factor.

For information on creating your own desktop wallpapers for Handheld PC devices please see the support section.

How-to Guide

Installing and displaying wallpaper images on the desktop of your Handheld PC is similar to displaying them on the main stream versions of Windows.

Windows CE supports two types of wallpaper image file. Monochrome 2-bit indexed 2bp files and standard BitMap (BMP) files. You cannot use .jpg, .tiff or .gif files as desktop wallpaper images like you can on some versions of Microsoft Windows. Windows CE will also accept indexed BMP files, however the colour pallet must use Windows standard colour tables for display on 256-colour displays.

Uploading Wallpaper files

Depending on the format of the wallpaper image, a properly constructed Handheld PC wallpaper for a HVGA device can be almost 500KB, larger for FVGA and SVGA Handhelds. As the image files can be fairly large, you may wish to store them on a Storage Card. This is possible, however there are some issues with this.

  1. Storing wallpaper image on CF and other Storage Cards will mean that the wallpaper will not be displayed on the Windows CE desktop after a Soft reset. See CESDH0013 for more information. You will need to manually open the Display applet and reset the wallpaper.
  2. Images stored on a Storage Card or customised locations in internal memory will not be listed in the Drop box in the Display applet. You will have to browse for the image. For images to be listed in the drop box of available image files, the image must be saved into the \Windows directory.

Display Properties Drop Box Example

Wallpaper files can be uploaded using ActiveSync, direct CF transfer or downloaded directly from the Internet to your device. See the support section for more information on transferring data to your device.

Converting to mono .2bp Automatically

You can use ActiveSync to upload wallpaper files to your Handheld PC from the Host. The default setting is to leave .BMP files in their original format on upload. If your H/PC is a monochrome device you can use ActiveSync to convert the image convert the file automatically to a 2bp which will save space and optimise the image for the mono screen.
To enable automatic BMP to 2bp conversion for monochrome devices:

  1. Open ActiveSync on the Host
  2. From the Tools Menu choose Options
  3. In the File Conversion area choose Conversion Settings
  4. Select the Desktop to Device tab
  5. Highlight Bitmap and choose Edit
  6. In the "Convert to Mobile Device files of this type" drop box choose .2bp
  7. Select Ok to confirm the changes and return to ActiveSync

All .BMP image files will now be converted to .2bp files when you upload them to your device

Changing the Wallpaper

To change the desktop wallpaper you need to open the Windows CE 'Display' applet. There are two ways to do this:

Alt + Tap the desktop and choose Properties:

Image of Alt + Tap (Right Tap) the desktop

Run the Display applet through the Windows CE Control Panel:

Windows CE Control Panel

In the display applet you can change the background wallpaper image, backlight settings and depending on your device also contrast and colour scheme settings.

If your wallpaper is stored in the \Windows directory on your Handheld PC, then you will be able to simple choose it from the 'Image:' drop box:

Select the image file from the drop box example

If you uploaded the wallpaper image to a Storage Card of a different location select browse:

Select the browse button image

Navigate to the location where the image is stored. Highlight it and tap OK:

Navigate to the location of the image, select it and tap ok - image

Tiling the wallpaper:

If you have a repeatable patter in your wallpaper, or just want to fill space. You can choose to tile the wallpaper image on the desktop.
To tile the wallpaper image select the 'Tile image on background.' option

Enable tiling

This will have an effect similar to the following

Centred Tiled
Centred Image Centred ImageCentred ImageCentred ImageCentred ImageCentred ImageCentred ImageCentred ImageCentred ImageCentred ImageCentred ImageCentred ImageCentred ImageCentred ImageCentred ImageCentred Image