I feel badly that I wasn't able to lead you to a successful
resolution. On the other hand, I'm also quite certain that
I've earned my 75% cut of the question price, so I'll take
you up on your generous offer.
A search for "background list * greyed OR grayed out":
...turns up only one page on the topic - a discussion of the
problem with some solutions that involve editing the registry,
on the Computer Hardware Forum:
There are 3 possibilities mentioned, at least one of which
worked for one user with the same problem. The registry for
different versions of Windows is different, so you may or
may not find the entries mentioned.
If you're not comfortable editing the registry, let me know
and I'll recommend an alternate method which involves the
installation of a free image viewing program which allows
you to set an image as wallpaper using a r-click menu while
viewing the image.
Ah, wait - another search:
"background list" "greyed OR grayed out"
...turns up another page which recommends a registry file
from the renowned Kellys Korner Windows XP site. On this
page is a downloadable registry file named wallpaperenable.reg:
This is specific to Windows XP, and will make the changes that
the previous posting wanted you to make by hand. It may also
work for Windows 2000, but there's no guarantee. The actual
file can be downloaded by r-clicking this link:
To merge the data into the registry, you just need to r-click
on the file in Windows Explorer. If you're still using Windows
98, I would recommend exploring the registry manually and not
using this file. Or, if you're not comfortable with editing
the registry at all, I'll recommend the graphics viewer, as
I noted before.
If you clicked on the link and got the message that it was
installed, that's all you needed to do. I usually download
the file first by r-clicking and selecting "save target as"
but you bypassed that. If it didn't work, then there's
nothing to be done.
A workaround, then, is to download and install the free
version of ACDsee. They've now become a professional
program, and the newer versions cost money, but the
older versions are available for free on OldVersion.com:
I use version 2.2.2, which is available from this page:
If you're using the IE browser, the download will start
Once it's installed, it will be associated with all
your image files, and it's a great viewer. To make
any image into your background image, just click on
the image to view it in ACDsee. Then r-click on the
image and select 'wallpaper' and 'center' or 'tiled'
from the submenu. Then go to your desktop, and you
should see it as your background image.
I'm beginning to suspect that this may have to do with Active
Desktop - something Windows 98 didn't have - that allows the
Desktop to display web content, including images that are not
bitmap (.bmp) files - a limitation of the normal desktop.
Try this: R-click on your desktop and select (if it's not
already) Show Web Content. See if that allows your image
to become visible. If it does, your icons will probably
disappear (a feature I like), but if you want them back,
r-click again, and you'll see an additional menu item for
Show Desktop Icons.
Check again to see if your background image list has
become usable. This shouldn't have made any difference,
but if it does, all the better.
If you don't see the image you already selected, try the
same process again.
Also, you said you r-clicked the image file and selected
background, which makes it sound like you r-clicked the
file (without opening it in ACDsee) by selecting it in
Windows Explorer. Windows XP may have a r-click menu item
in Windows Explorer to do just that (Windows 2000 doesn't),
but that's a separate function built into Windows, and is
not the same as the function offered within ACDsee, which
you use by actually viewing the file in ACDsee and then
r-clicking it, which should give you a menu option that
says Wallpaper, not Background, and a submenu that says
Center or Tiled.
And, here are some walkthroughs specific to Windows XP:
"To change your desktop background"
See the links toward the bottom for alternate walkthroughs.
Lock Desktop Items just locks your icons in place, making
them unmoveable until you uncheck the setting.
The fact that you have Display Modes in the menu makes me
think you're using Windows 98. Windows 2000 doesn't have
that option, and I thought they maintained that in XP.
Here's another way to turn on Active Desktop, no matter
what OS (operating system) you're using:
As for ACDsee...
It's been awhile since I installed it, but if I remember
correctly, during installation it presents you with a
list of image filetypes and allows you to set them to
be opened with ADCsee by default, which means when you
double left-click on them. What viewer opens when you
double-click on your image file in Windows Explorer?
It should also have offered you the option to create
r-click context menu items for View with ACDsee and
Print with ACDsee, but it sounds like you didn't let
it create those.
If the image(s) aren't opening in ACDsee when you
double l-click them, you have options to make this
happen. You can just use the Start Menu and navigate
to Programs -> ACDsee and open the ACDsee browser.
Then navigate the folder tree in the left pane to
find the folder containing the image you want to use.
The filename should appear in the list in the right
pane. Select the file, and you should see a preview
of it in a pane beneath the folder pane on the left.
D-click either the file name or the preview image,
and it should open full-sized in the Viewer. From
either r-clicking the name of the file in the browser
or r-clicking the image in the viewer, you should see
the Wallpaper menu item with the sub-options of center
While you're in the program, from either the Browser
or the Viewer view, go to Tools -> Options -> Miscellaneous
Tab, and click on the Set File Associations button. This
will present you with the options it gave you during the
installation process, to set certain filetypes to be opened
by default with ACDsee. Common image types are .jpg, .gif
.bmp and so on. On the right side of that dialog box you'll
also see places to check to create r-click context menus
for View With ACDsee, etc.
Again, I'm sorry it didn't work out...