Today we’ll tell you how to install an animated wallpaper in Windows 10. Having an animated desktop background in Windows 10 is something that some users find somewhat superficial, while others find it a feature that should be included in Microsoft’s operating system. And, if we think about it, the desktop is the space in which we organize those elements that we use the most, the first we see when we sit down in front of the PC and turn it on, and to which, sometimes, we resort when we want to clear our minds of what we are doing at that moment.
The problem is that, as a general rule, the desktop backgrounds included in Windows are not bad, but they are very limited, static and, after a short time of using them, they end up being practically invisible. Something that some users appreciate, but that others find, let’s say, boring. For these cases, there is nothing like having an animated desktop background. However, if you are a person who is easily distracted, be careful, because it is possible that in the end, this animation becomes entertainment that keeps you hooked longer than you would like.
We are going to explain how to install an animated wallpaper on Windows 10 with two applications, one free and one paid, each with its advantages and disadvantages. The first is Lively Wallpaper, which has a very interesting possibility that we will tell you about later. The second is Wallpaper Engine, which has a collection of animated backgrounds that will take you a long, long time to explore completely.
How to install an animated wallpaper with Lively Wallpaper?
One point that will undoubtedly appeal to many people is that Lively Wallpaper is FOSS (Free Open Source Software), which means that not only is it free, but you can also download its code if you wish. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to compile the software yourself and stuff (although you can if you want to). Instead, you have two options, you can install an older version from the Microsoft Store, or a more current one directly from GitHub. You’ll find both links on their website.
Once downloaded and installed, you’ll go through a quick installation wizard where you’ll be asked to select to have Lively Wallpaper load with Windows. This way, every time you start Windows it will load the animated wallpaper you have chosen. Otherwise, you will have to open the software every time you want the background to be displayed.
Once in the main interface of the program, which you will access by clicking on its icon in the systray, you will see the twelve backgrounds included by default in Lively Wallpaper. Click on any of them, wait a few seconds and you will be able to see it as an animated wallpaper on your system. However, if you choose Ripples, you will have to manually edit one of its configuration files to add your location.
To add new wallpapers, you will have to click on the + symbol shown in the upper left corner. To download new backgrounds, you can access this Reddit page, where you will find quite a few. Keep in mind, however, that if you download an animated wallpaper from other sites, such as Pixabay, due to its format they will not work with Lively Wallpaper.
Another very interesting option, which you may have already seen in the image, is to set a YouTube video as animated wallpaper. To do so, you only have to type its address in the box, press the arrow, wait a few seconds for the program to make the necessary adjustments, configure its appearance in the gallery, and, ready, you will have the video as wallpaper. In this regard, a very interesting option is the information dashboards on YouTube channels that broadcast live. For example, if you want to keep up to date on the coronavirus, we recommend you try this one.
Choosing Lively Wallpaper to have an animated wallpaper is a very interesting option since it is free, its use is quite simple, it has a community of users who create content for it and, in addition, it allows you to have YouTube videos as background. In addition, during installation, you can select a light mode, if your PC does not have too many resources.
How to install an animated wallpaper with Wallpaper Engine?
Let’s go now with the paid option to have an animated wallpaper (well, actually thousands), with a huge community of users who create content for it, and also has a search function that makes it very, very comfortable to find what you are looking for at all times. It is, of course, a Wallpaper Engine.
The first thing you should know is that yes, it is a paid application, but its price is quite affordable $3,99. This is very expensive if you are only going to use an animated wallpaper very occasionally, but it is much cheaper if you use it regularly. You can access their website by clicking here and, to buy it, you will find links to Steam, Humble Bundle, and Green Green Man Gaming. In this article, we will rely on the Steam version, which gets the contents from the Games Store Workshop. We don’t know if it uses the same repository in the other versions.
Once the program is installed and opened, the first thing that will be shown is the wallpapers you already have installed on your PC. For example, in the image above you can see some of the ones we have on my system. To select and activate an animated desktop background, just click on it, wait a few seconds and it will be automatically applied to Windows. To review it quickly, and if you do not have more windows open, click on the >> button shown in the upper right corner. This will reduce the size of the window and you will be able to see the animated wallpaper in operation.
To find new wallpapers you have two possibilities: browse by categories and rankings or use the search engine. In the first case, which is what we recommend the first time you use Wallpaper Engine, click on the Discover tab at the top left, and you will see the categories.
Each category scrolls horizontally, and although the vertical scroll bar at first makes you think there are few, that’s not the case at all, as you scroll vertically, new categories will be added. You can spend a long, long time browsing through them, and we say this from my own experience.
In case you are looking for an animated wallpaper of a particular theme, click on the Workshop tab and, at the top, you will see a search box. Type in what you want to find and, if there are backgrounds related to your search, you will see them in the central part of the window.
To install a Wallpaper Engine animated wallpaper, either from the category view or from the search engine, you could simply double-click on it. However, we do not recommend that you do so, as you will miss important information. Note that not all Wallpaper Engine wallpapers are animated, and some are animated and interactive, some have background music, some you can customize… an animated Wallpaper Engine wallpaper offers many possibilities.
So, instead of double-clicking, just click on the one you like and then check the section displayed on the right side of the software window.
That tab is very important since it will show you data that you should take into account when installing an animated wallpaper or opting for another one. The first thing to note is whether it is a scene or a video. Although both are animated, animations are usually smoother, some are interactive (try Black Cat, especially if you are a xeyes fan…) and some of them are configurable. Videos, on the other hand, do not have these features and, in addition, are usually much heavier (we’ve seen them close to a gigabyte, keep an eye on this).
Once you have reviewed its properties, to select an animated wallpaper and use it, click on the Subscribe button and, in addition to being applied to your Windows 10 installation, it will be added to the catalog of backgrounds displayed in your collection, which is the one you saw in the initial view of Wallpaper Engine. If you want to select another background that you already have installed, simply click on it, in your installed section, and it will be applied. Tired of an animated wallpaper that you installed and no longer use? Simply click on it in your installed list and, on the right side of the window, click Unsubscribe.
As you can see, the main advantage of Wallpaper Engine is its huge catalog, in which you will find all kinds of wallpapers. Even, and this will interest many, there are backgrounds specially designed to integrate with lighting schemes managed with Corsair iCue and Razer Chroma RGB.
Both Lively Wallpaper and Wallpaper Engine have their strengths and weaknesses. Although this admits many nuances, my recommendation is that you start by trying Lively Wallpaper to see if you’re going to take advantage of having an animated wallpaper. And if you like it, and you want to have a much wider range of wallpapers, get Wallpaper Engine, because you will surely get the most out of it.