How Can I Soften the White Background On My Computer?

By Ray Padgett

On this monitor, the brightness controls are in the lower left.
i blue monitor image by andrey polichenko from

If your computer seems to nearly blind you when you turn it on or if you find yourself squinting when looking at your desktop, chances are your white background is too harsh. The problem could be that the entire display is too bright or that the background itself is just unpleasantly bright. Both of these things have simple fixes, giving you freedom to play around until you find a solution that works for you.

Lower Your Computer's Brightness

Look for buttons on your computer to manually lower your display's brightness. On a desktop machine, these will probably be marked with a sun logo on the front of the monitor. On a laptop, look for them near the top of the keyboard. If you cannot find them, skip to Step 3.

Press the button on the left side to lower your display's brightness. This will soften your white background, but it may also make your computer display too dim to read. If it does, restore it to its former brightness and skip to the next section.

If you cannot find the buttons, open the Windows Control Panel from the "Start" menu. Select "Power Options" (Windows XP) or "Display Options" (Windows Vista and Windows 7) and then "Adjust Display Brightness." Move to slider to the left to lower the brightness.

Change Your Background

Open the Windows Control Panel from the "Start" Menu and click "Appearance" (Windows XP) or "Display Options" (Windows Vista and Windows 7).

Select the option to change your desktop background.

Choose a new background. Windows automatically comes with a selection of backgrounds, but if you wish to simply use a softer white background, search for "soft white desktop background" or even "cream desktop background" in Google. Download the image and click "Browse" in the Control Panel window to select it.

Click "Preview" to ensure your background looks the way you want it.

Click "OK" and exit the Control Panel when you are satisfied.