There are several methods to add live wallpapers and animated backgrounds in Windows 10. Here’s how to do it.
If you’ve ever considered setting up an animated desktop background or live wallpaper in Windows 10, it’s not a simple process.
However, many people want this because it allows you to make better use of an external display or TV that may be connected to your computer. Imagine the ability to display a live fireplace or virtual fish bowl on that screen when you’re not using it!
Disadvantages of Live Wallpaper & Animated Desktop in Windows 10
There are indeed advantages to having an animated desktop, but it can also affect your system in the following ways:
- It will drain your battery if you use it on a laptop without power plugged in
- It might place additional demands on your CPU
- Could end up being more of a nuisance than a help in terms of productivity
There are several methods for adding live wallpapers and animated backgrounds in Windows 10. These include:
- Desktop Live Wallpaper
- VLC Media Player
- PUSH Video Wallpaper
- rain gauge
- Wallpaper Machine
- Stardock DeskScapes 10
Free Live Wallpapers & Animated Desktop Apps
We will start with the options offered by Microsoft and then continue with exploring the remaining free options. At the end of this article, we’ll cover the three paid options available.
1. Desktop Live Wallpaper for Windows 10
You can get the Desktop Live Wallpaper app in the Microsoft Store. This app lets you use any video file on your PC as a live wallpaper.
It supports up to three monitors and will only play when you are not using a specific desktop. This is a great way to save your battery and CPU. Keep in mind that you can only use Windows Media Viewer (WMV) video files as live wallpapers. If you want to use other video formats, you will have to purchase the Pro software.
Select Help & About to view online resources where you can choose from hundreds of free video files to download and use as your live wallpaper.
Note: You can use any online source to convert video files to WMV so they work with the free version.
2. Use VLC Media Player for Live Wallpaper
One of the lesser known ways to set live wallpaper in Windows 10 is to use the free VLC media player. To do this, launch the video in the player. Then select Videos from the menu, and select Set as Wallpaper.
This will put the video in full screen mode. When you press the button window buttons, taskbar, and other apps you have open will open in front of the full-screen video.
It is important to note that the video does not play. So VLC is best used for setting live wallpapers from movies or very long animated scenes.
3. PUSH Video Wallpaper
This app lets you use videos as your desktop wallpaper. It lets you play videos from your computer, videos from YouTube, or even animated GIFs you like too. PUSH video wallpapers supports Windows Vista Ultimate Dreamscene video wallpapers. It’s easy to find these free collections online. You can download an app to show any video you like, or an individual animated desktop from the site’s download page.
Using this app is very simple. Select the plus icon on the right to browse for any video file on your computer. Once you’ve selected it and it’s added to your playlist, simply select that file and it will play as your live desktop background. If you want to use a YouTube video or movie as a background, select the link icon with a plus sign above it (second from right) and enter the URL of the video.
Use the controls at the top right to choose whether to play the videos in your playlist in order, shuffled, in intervals, or whether to repeat one at a time.
4. Rain gauge
Rainmeter is the most popular application used today to achieve animated desktop backgrounds. We have a guide on how to use Rainmeter, and you can install and use any skin without having to know any advanced customization.
Installing a skin is as easy as finding it online (there are collections of Rainmeter skins all over the internet), and simply downloading and double-clicking the file.
It installs automatically and takes effect immediately on your desktop. Rainmeter skins are some of the coolest animated backgrounds you’ll find anywhere.
This is because it’s not just an animated design, but most skins include valuable information. You’ll see the clock, the weather, system information, news from the web, and more. If you want to go beyond simple animated backgrounds, this is the place to start.
Paid Live Wallpapers and Animated Desktop Apps
The last three apps that can help you load some of the coolest animated live wallpapers or desktops aren’t free. However, it also means they are professionally done and offer lots of great features.
5. Wallpaper Engine
If you want to control the appearance of your animated desktop, Wallpaper Engine is a good choice.
This app allows you to load from existing collections of live wallpapers. Or you can animate your own images with Wallpaper Engine Editor to create your own live wallpaper.
You can also use your own videos or import them from the web. This is a great live wallpaper app for the more creative types.
It’s not too expensive either. You can install the app for only $3.99.
6. Stardock DeskScapes 10
DeskScapes is an animated desktop application offered by Stardock. This is one of the simpler animated desktop applications to use. There are no editing features, but the desktop collection you should choose is essential. Just choose Local tab to view included desktops. You can also use videos that you have saved on your own computer if you wish.
Or choose On line tab to view the desktops that DeskScapes has included from internet-based sources.
Both of these lists are very long and cover a long list of categories spanning thousands of animated desktops. You may never run out of options.
You can buy DeskScapes for just $4.99.
Another creative live wallpaper app is Plastuer. This animated background app lets you use animated GIFs, videos, or even web pages, as your live wallpaper. Plastuer is built on the open source Chromium browser, so it incorporates some of the more advanced technologies such as WebGL and Canvas.
It will detect when you are using a maximized app and pause animations to reduce resource usage. It will also remember your saved wallpapers so that when you log in again, the animated desktop will launch automatically. In addition to GIFs and videos, you can import DreamScene, WebGL videos, or even take pictures you’ve taken with your own camera.
You can install Plastuer for as little as $5.
Using Live Wallpaper and Animated Desktop
As you can see, neither of these apps is particularly complicated to use. But the benefits of having an animated desktop from a video file or from data are enormous. With a little creativity, you can actually turn your own desktop into another area of your screen for higher productivity. Or, you can make it a beautiful place to look at whenever you need a break.