Desktop background disappears with very large extended desktop on Windows 7

Applies to: Windows 7 EnterpriseWindows 7 Enterprise NWindows 7 Home Basic


Consider the following scenario:
  • You are using Windows 7 with a Windows Aero theme.
  • You attach two or more monitors to the computer in an extended desktop configuration.
  • The resulting size of the extended desktop is more than 8192 pixels wide or 8192 pixels high.
For example: You have four monitors with a resolution of 1920x1080, configured as an extended desktop with all monitors in a horizontal (side-by-side) configuration. The resulting total size of your desktop is 7680x1080. You then connect a fifth 1920x1080 monitor, positioned to the left or right of the existing monitors, which would increase the total desktop size to 9600x1080, thus exceeding a total width of 8192 pixels.

In this scenario, the desktop wallpaper may disappear, and the contents of windows may not be displayed properly. Additionally, using Event Viewer, you may see the following error in the Application log:

Log Name: Application
Source: Desktop Window Manager
Event ID: 9020
Level: Error
Description: The Desktop Window Manager has encountered a fatal error (0x88980406)


This problem occurs when Desktop Window Manager attempts to display a desktop that is larger than 8192 pixels high or 8192 pixels wide. This exceeds the maximum allowable size for a DirectX 10 texture. (In Windows 7, the Desktop Window Manager utilizes DirectX 10.)


To work around this problem, use the Screen Resolution control panel to rearrange the monitors so that neither the total width, nor the total height, of the extended desktop exceeds 8192 pixels.

Alternately, use the Personalization control panel to change to a non-Aero theme, such as Windows 7 Basic.