How To Change Windows Photo Viewer Background Color

Starting with Windows Vista, it is possible to change Windows Photo Viewer's background color from white to any color you want. There are two ways to do it. Here is how.

Photo Viewer Custom Background

Windows Photo Viewer is a classic Desktop app which is bundled with every modern Windows version. Even Windows 10 has it, but it is not enabled by default and you need to unblock and activate it. Windows Photo Viewer is simple but effective for quickly viewing and printing your digital photos, desktop backgrounds and other pictures stored on your PC. It also includes the ability to play a slideshow of pictures.

If you would like to change the default background color of Windows Photo Viewer, there are two methods to do it. The first one involves using my freeware portable app, Photo Viewer Background Changer. The alternative method is via a Registry tweak. Let's see how it can be done.

To change Windows Photo Viewer Background Color, I recommend that you use Photo Viewer Background Changer.

  1. Download the app from here: Download Photo Viewer Background Changer
  2. Unpack the archive's contents to any folder you want. You will find two folders inside. One is for "Windows 7 and before", the other one is named "Windows 8 and Windows 10".PVBC App Archive Contents
  3. If you are running Windows Vista or Windows 7, launch the file from the folder "Windows 7 named "PhotoViewerBackgroundChanger.exe". If you are running Windows XP, install .NET 3.5 and use the same executable file to change the Live Gallery background color.
    If are running Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, launch the file "Windows 8 and Windows 10\PhotoViewerBackgroundChanger.exe".
    The application has the following user interface:PVBC App
  4. The application supports changing the background color for:

    Windows Photo Gallery in Windows Vista
    Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 7
    Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 8
    Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 8.1
    Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 10
    Windows Live Photo Gallery in Windows XP
    Windows Live Photo Gallery in Windows Vista
    Windows Live Photo Gallery in Windows 7
    Windows Live Photo Gallery in Windows 8
    Windows Live Photo Gallery in Windows 8.1
    Windows Live Photo Gallery in Windows 10

    You need to pick which app you are going to customize - Windows Photo Viewer or Windows Live Photo Gallery. By default, Windows Photo Viewer is selected.
    PVBC Viewer Mode
    The application shows a thumbnail window for the selected app and also shows a live preview when you change the background color.PVBC Gallery Mode

  5. Now, click or tap the button "Change a Color...". A dialog to pick the color will be opened, where you can select the desired background color for the app you picked. In my case, it is Windows Photo Viewer in Windows 8.1.PVBC Pick A New Color
  6. The changes will be applied instantly. Re-open Windows Photo Viewer if you had it open, and you are done.

This is the default appearance of Windows Photo Viewer:PVBC Default ColorAnd here is Windows Photo Viewer with a custom background color that I have set:PVBC Pick New Color Applied

The following video shows the application in action:

If you prefer to tweak Windows Photo Viewer manually, you can apply a Registry tweak as follows.
Open Registry Editor and navigate to the following Registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Photo Viewer\Viewer

Tip: You can access any desired Registry key with one click.

PVBC Registry Key

In the right pane, create a new 32-bit DWORD value BackgroundColor. If you already have this DWORD value, then you need to modify its value data.
Note: Even if you are running 64-bit Windows, you still need to use a 32-bit DWORD as the value type.

Set the BackgroundColor value data to the desired color according to the list provided on MSDN.
The values listed there are in RGB format (red - green - blue).
The BackgroundColor value data is in ARGB format (alpha - red - green - blue).
The alpha transparency channel should be set to FF (means 255, opaque). So, the final color value for the BackgroundColor DWORD parameter should be set in hexademicals as FF<a value according to MSDN documentation>.
For example, to set it to purple color, which is "#800080" on the MSDN page, you need to enter the following: FF800080.PVBC Registry New Bg Color

Re-open Windows Photo Viewer to see the changes you have made.

PVBC Registry New Bg Color Applied

That's it.

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