If you minimise all of the windows you've currently got open what do you see? Some may see something humorous, others a photo of a loved-one or quite simply it may be a block of colour but we're here to explain why it's actually best for your desktop background / wallpaper to be set to gray.
We know gray is boring and won't make you smile everytime you catch a glimpse of your desktop but it will, however, be a better tone if you're someone who works with digital imagery a lot.
Why? Well, a bright tone or a mixture of colours can affect your ability to view colours accurately which means you could be making adjustments to images unnecessarily, wasting your time and possibly ink and paper (if you print proofs) in the process. By using a gray background, you'll be able to preview images without worrying about your eyes becoming bias or in a way, desensitised to certain colours as they'll no longer be 'tricked' if you're using a gray background. You'll be able to judge the colours in images more accurately, saving time, effort and money in the process.
Neutral gray is used as the background in Photoshop so some may say they can just maximise the window when editing and yes, you can do this, however when you're flicking to other applications you'll still be able to see the background, plus you may want to compare images that aren't necessarily open in Photoshop and a gray background is a must for this comparison process to be performed accurately.
To change the colour of your desktop background in Windows 7, right-click on the desktop and select 'Personalize' from the list.
A new window will open and you need to look for the 'Desktop Background' option found at the bottom of the window. Click this and you'll be given various solid colours to pick from. There are various presets created which you can select by simply clicking on with your mouse, however for more accurate control over the colour you'll see, you can click 'More...'. This will open a colour picker where you can select from a palette or input values to create a specific colour.
Once happy, click 'Save changes' (close the 'More..' window first if you have this open) and close the Personalization window.
More tips on colour management can be found in the feature and technique sections of EIZO ColorZone.
To learn more about EIZO and EIZO monitors, take a look at the EIZO website.