Use Animated Wallpapers on Windows 10

Have you ever wanted an animated moving wallpaper on your desktop? Maybe you’ve seen your favorite streamer have one or maybe you didn’t even know it was possible until you came by this article. Whatever the case may be, you’ve come to the right place. There are a few ways you can get a live animated wallpaper on Windows 10 with minimal impact to performance.

Get Moving Quick With Wallpaper Engine

Although a paid software, Wallpaper Engine is by far the best and most multi-functional way to animate your desktop wallpaper on Windows 10. The software works on Windows 7 as well but requires Aero features to be enabled. Wallpaper Engine is extremely cheap at around $4 and offers tons of features. Alongside a moving desktop wallpaper and animated backgrounds, you can do much more with the program.

You can use your own graphics, videos or even websites as a desktop background. You can even liven up your own graphics with the built-in coloring features. The software supports all the common aspect ratios and multiple monitors. Probably the coolest feature is that the backgrounds can interact with your mouse movements! Alongside all the cool features, the performance hit is very minimal as all backgrounds will be paused while playing a game.

This is what can be achieved with wallpaper engine.

You can get Wallpaper Engine on Steam for a very low price of under 5 bucks. Steam also provides their Workshop so users can share their own creations and animated wallpapers. It’s an amazing resource and makes acquiring new wallpapers much easier than trying to find them online.

We will provide some useful sources for cool live animated wallpapers in the end of this article.

Amazing Free Alternative via VLC

Wallpaper Engine does cost some money and is not quite what some people are looking for. Thankfully there is a little talked about alternative that works very well to get a moving wallpaper on windows 10. The only downside is that it takes a little more effort to setup. You also need to find videos to act as the live moving wallpapers, for it to work.

To create a live moving wallpaper on Windows for free, you must first download VLC media player. You also need a video to set as the wallpaper. The video should be a perfect loop as otherwise it will look glitchy or laggy when it starts up again. A nice resource for endless looping background videos is Videvo, but we will link more alternatives towards the end.

This animated background is done with VLC and the icons via Rainmeter.

In order to set your loop as a live wallpaper, you must first open the video file with the VLC player. Now that the video is open, all you need to do is go to the Video menu and click on Set as Wallpaper. Now you should be able to see the video playing as your windows desktop background. However obviously it’s not convenient to open the player and set the video as a wallpaper every time you startup windows.

How to start VLC Animated Wallpaper Automatically

In order to automatically start the wallpaper up live when your PC starts up, you must follow these simple steps. First copy the folder path shown below:

%appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Now press the Windows key on your keyboard or just open up the start menu from the bottom left of your taskbar. Then press Ctrl + V or paste to insert the path above to the search bar and press Enter. This should open up your Windows startup programs folder.

VLC Startup Folder Search
Enter the path to the search bar and press Enter.

Once you have the folder opened, go to your desktop and move the VLC media player shortcut from your desktop to the folder. If you didn’t create a shortcut on the desktop when the player was installed, don’t fret, it is quite simple to do. To make a desktop shortcut, navigate to where you installed the player (default installation location should be  C:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC). Locate vlc.exe and right click on it. From the menu that pops up, select Send to -> Desktop (create shortcut). Now move the shortcut from your desktop to the Startup folder.

Create VLC Shortcut to Desktop
You can create a shortcut to the desktop from the ‘Send to’ menu

For the last step you need to right click on the shortcut and go to Properties at the bottom and go to the Shortcut tab. There you should see a field labeled Target with the path to your VLC player executable. You must modify the target path as shown below.

Original target path: (the beginning of your path might be different if you installed it elsewhere)

"C:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC\vlc.exe"

Updated target path: (modify your Target field to look like this)

"C:\Program Files (x86)\VideoLAN\VLC\vlc.exe" --video-wallpaper --qt-start-minimized --no-qt-fs-controller --repeat --no-video-title-show --qt-notification=0 "C:\Users\TechTipVault\Desktop\sampleVideo.mp4"

VLC Target Path
Your path should look similar to this in the end.

The last part within quotation marks is important, as you need to change the path to wherever your video file is located. Once you have the video file path also correct, you can press OK. If you now start the shortcut, your new live wallpaper should startup. Now the next time you startup windows, it should start playing automatically.

Another paid alternative DeskScapes

DeskScapes is another great way to get your moving wallpapers rolling on Windows, but after a 30-day trial it costs $8 which is twice the price of Wallpaper Engine. It has a collection of backgrounds to choose from but it’s not as extensive as the Steam Workshop on Wallpaper Engine.


DeskScapes has many cool features of its own though. You can apply special effects alongside animated wallpapers as well as recolor existing backgrounds. DeskScapes also supports multiple monitors at once. The main feature some people might enjoy is the ability to create a custom screensaver, a feature the other software don’t have.

Setting up DeskScapes is as easy as installing the software and finding some live wallpapers to use. You can download DeskScapes and activate your 30-day trial over at the Stardock website.

Places to find cool Animated Wallpapers

DesktopHut – Giphy – Gfycat – Videvo

If you had any issues following along with the VLC installation, please leave a comment down below and we will do our best to help you out. If you have great sources to find more live wallpapers and animated backgrounds, let us know and we will add them above.

Meanwhile if you’re looking to take more advantage of your monitors or Windows in general, check out our tips on window management on Windows 10.

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