It used to be simple setting animated backgrounds on a Windows desktop. With Windows 10, it isn’t so simple anymore—but it’s still possible. Want to liven up your Windows 10 desktop with some animated backgrounds? Here’s how to set an animated wallpaper in Windows 10.
If you’ve used live wallpaper on a smart TV, phone, or tablet, you’ll know the impact it can have. Instead of a bland photo of some distant location you’ve never visited, it suddenly looks more interesting. Your smartphone gives you something that moves—perhaps heavenly bodies in slow motion, or fish swimming.
They’re not for everyone, but animated backgrounds are visually rich and always look amazing.
However, they can also prove a bit of a problem. While your desktop PC might not be affected, live wallpapers can prove to be a headache on battery powered devices.
Constant animation of the background is a noticeable drain on the power cell, leading to reduced performance and battery life. For Windows 10 animated wallpaper and live backgrounds, ensure your laptop is plugged in or you’re using a desktop computer.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to set live wallpaper in Windows 10.
You have four main ways to get live wallpapers and animated backgrounds on Windows 10. Each of these options lets you add your own backgrounds or those made by others.
Let’s look at each of these options in turn.
By default, Windows 10 is less customizable than earlier versions. Beyond themes and backgrounds that sync to your Microsoft account, the desktop options have been greatly reduced.
So, what can you do? Well, it’s worth starting off with Wallpaper Engine on Steam. Available for under $5, this tool lets you create your own animated backgrounds for Windows 10. You can even import more backgrounds from other Steam users.
Wallpaper Engine features support for popular aspect ratios and native resolutions. A moving background for Windows 10 can be made from static images, websites, and video files. Supported video formats include MP4, WebM, AVI, M4V, MOV, and WMV.
The options with this tool are considerable, and using it is simple. Once launched, you simply select from a predetermined group of live desktop backgrounds, or import your own. Various elements can be edited using the settings dialog, which is found in the system tray.
While Wallpaper Engine runs better under a dedicated graphics card (GPU), this isn’t necessary. It can be configured to run on low resource devices if needed. For the best results, though, animate your Windows backgrounds with Wallpaper Engine on a powerful desktop PC.
Download: Wallpaper Engine ($5)
Another option for Windows 10 users is Stardock DeskScapes. This solution is available for just $7.99, which also comes with a 30-day trial.
Following installation (be sure not to install extra software), click Start 30-day trial and enter an email address to proceed. You’ll then need to validate the 30-day license by clicking an email link.
With this done, switch back to the app and choose from seven video backgrounds and many stunning, static images. Often these images can be adjusted using the DeskScapes settings; Color, Effects, and Adjust will let you tweak them. Video background options are listed under Settings.
When you’re happy with the results, hit Apply to my desktop. You can also use DeskScapes 10 images and videos as screensavers. If you’re looking for further Windows desktop customizations, meanwhile, Stardock DeskScapes also has the Object Desktop variant for $29.99. This includes a number of tools, including the popular Windows Start menu replacement, Start10.
Download: Stardock DeskScapes 10 for Windows 10 ($7.99, 30-day free trial available)
Your third option is PUSH Video Wallpaper, again a paid solution with a free trial. This launches with animated wallpaper played on a loop upon launch.
The PUSH Video Wallpaper interface can be opened from the system tray. Here, you can add a single video on a loop or create a playlist of videos. These will play in the specified order, and the volume for the clips can also be adjusted.
Unlike Stardock DeskScapes 10, the PUSH Video Wallpaper lets you run feature-length videos as your desktop background. Alternatively, you can just enjoy a subtle, looped clip. Whatever your preferred type of live wallpaper, if you have a suitable clip, PUSH Video Wallpaper will run it.
Download: PUSH Video Wallpaper ($9.99, free trial available)
Rainmeter is the premium desktop theme editor for Windows 10, capable of everything from widgets and docks to stunning themes.
Unsurprisingly, it also supports animated wallpaper. All you need is a striking image or a small GIF. With Rainmeter you can add the impression of movement to an image; alternatively, use all or part of a GIF. Rainmeter is extremely configurable and customizable, so the results of your background wallpaper GIF are completely within your control.
For an easy way to turn a GIF into a desktop wallpaper on Windows 10, why not consider Plasteur?
Simpler than Rainmeter, this tool is focused on turning custom made or downloaded GIFs into animated PC wallpaper.
To use a GIF in Plastuer:
GIFs can also be found in the online Plastuer library. You can even create a playlist using GIFs stored on your PC.
Plastuer is easy to use and its support for GIFs as Windows 10 desktop animated wallpapers makes it a stand-out option.
Download: Plastuer ($5.00)
With so many options for creating a moving, animated Windows 10 background, you should easily find a solution that meets your needs. Need to animate a GIF? Plastuer and Rainmeter are ideal.
Want to use a standard video file for the desktop wallpaper? PUSH Video Wallpaper, Wallpaper Engine, and Stardock Deskscapes 10 are all perfect ways to tweak the Windows 10 background with striking video.
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