If you’ve been using a static wallpaper for your Windows desktop, you’re wasting valuable space that you could be using for either entertainment or productivity.
The Windows desktop is where you end up when you’ve closed all your windows, or when you’re using smaller Windows that don’t use up all your desktop space.
So, why not take advantage of that space with Live Wallpapers that are beautiful, animated, and in many cases could even help boost your productivity?
Have a look at these 7 live wallpapers and try a few out. Once you start using live wallpapers, you’ll never go back to a static one again.
The definition of a “live desktop” is a bit vague. Many sites offering free desktop wallpaper offer nothing more than a video background, or a desktop slideshow app.
There’s no need to waste your time installing a slideshow live wallpaper when you have that feature baked right into Windows 10 already.
To enable a slideshow desktop:
- Right click anywhere on the desktop and select Personalize.
- Change the Background dropdown box to Slideshow.
- Click the Browse button to choose the folder that holds all of your photos.
You can also configure the slideshow to change at set intervals, shuffle the photos randomly, and how to place them on the desktop.
If you’re looking for a highly functional live desktop, you can’t do any better than Rainmeter. This app is famous for its customizability and the many widgets and features you can add.
It’s essentially a toolkit platform that lets you bring important information you’d like to see right onto your desktop. This might be a variety of stats about your computer system, social feeds, stock quotes, and more.
It comes pre-packaged with a number of skins, or you can download from thousands of other skins created by the massive Rainmeter user community.
A “skin” in Rainmeter is actually a widget or group of widgets. When you find an interesting one to download, it’ll arrive as an .rmskin file.
To install and enable a new Rainmeter widget on your desktop:
- Double-click the .rmskin file to install it.
- Right-click the Rainmeter icon in the taskbar and select Refresh all.
- Right-click the Rainmeter icon again, click Skins, click the Skin you installed, and then choose an INI file (these are the individual gadgets you can use).
You’ll see the new widget appear on your desktop.
In many cases, customizing these widgets may have a steep learning curve. For example, in many cases to add an event to a calendar widget, you need to edit an XML file to add those recurring events.
Despite the learning curve, Rainmeter widgets are beautiful, functional, and very useful.
Sim Aquarium 3
People buy fish aquariums because the slow-moving fish and the gurgling sounds provides a calming environment to any room.
You can have the same thing on your Windows 10 desktop with the Sim Aquarium 3 app (it’s actually an aquarium screensaver).
When you install the app, it’ll configure your screensaver to use the app. The screensaver isn’t just a small in-home aquarium. It’s more like standing at a large window at an actual city Aquarium, including all the water sounds that come along with that experience.
If you want to round out the theme, you could also download the Fish and Corals wallpaper from the Microsoft store. This is a live wallpaper slideshow of real aquarium fish scenes.
Since the Sim Aquarium 3 app is free, expect to see occasional upgrade ads.
On constant annoyance for Windows users is that it’s difficult to keep documents, files and shortcuts organized on your desktop.
This is because these icons tend to reorganize themselves whenever you reboot your computer.
Fences brings a whole new level or organization to your Windows experience by letting you create boxes, or “fences” where you can group all your important files and folders.
To customize Fences, just right click anywhere on your desktop and click Configure Fences. From there you can customize Fences in the following ways:
- Create new ones
- Rename existing ones
- Adjust the size or title
- Change their appearance
- Set them to “roll-up” (make the collapsible)
Keep in mind that Fences isn’t a free app. However, you can try it for free for 30 days before deciding whether it will improve your productivity enough to justify the cost.
PUSH Video Wallpaper
PUSH Video Wallpaper is one of those apps that you’ll only realize how badly you needed it after you start using it.
It’s an impressive application that lets you set live video as your desktop wallpaper. You can place your own video files (maybe from home video from your vacation trips, or landscape videos downloaded off the web) into the PUSH Video Wallpaper app, and then select it to display it as your wallpaper.
Controls inside the app let you stop, pause, reverse or rewind the video. There are also sound controls to mute the video if you want it to be silent.
The coolest feature of this app is the ability to stream YouTube videos directly to your video wallpaper. To do this:
- Launch the PUSH Video Wallpaper app
- Click on the Add URL link icon
- Paste the URL of the YouTube video
- Click Add to playlist
- Click on the video in your playlist to start the video
It’s amazing how nice it is to have certain videos playing in the background as you’re working.
For example, add the URL link to the 7-hour scenic train ride from Bergen to Oslo (Norway), and play the soothing trip as your live wallpaper while you work.
Like Fences, PUSH Video Wallpaper isn’t free, but you can try the trial version, so you know it works well on your system before you buy. It’s actually affordable, and one license lets you use the app on up to three computers.
Download Push Video Wallpaper
Remember how cool gadgets were in Windows 7? Well you can have them again if you install Widgets HD from the Microsoft Store.
With this app you have a choice of roughly 20 gadgets you can place onto your desktop. These include:
- Digital or analog clock
- Resource meters
- Sticky notes
- RSS feeds
Unlike Rainmeter, the gadgets aren’t translucent, so they tend to cover up your wallpaper and if not placed carefully can make your desktop feel cluttered.
On the other hand, Widgets HD is far more user friendly than Rainmeter.
Sticky Notes Desktop
Many Windows users go years before realizing that there’s a very useful Sticky Notes desktop feature built right into Windows 10.
To enable Sticky Notes, you need to enable Windows Ink Workspace.
- Right click on the taskbar and select Show Windows Ink Workspace button.
- Click on the new Windows Ink icon and select Sticky Notes.
- Use the Sticky Notes search tool to create new notes or find existing ones.
- Double click the sticky note to attach to your current desktop.
Back in the early days of computers, users used to paste sticky notes all around the edge of their monitors. Many users still do this!
With the integrated Sticky Notes tool, you can attach those sticky notes to your existing desktop and have them within reach at all times.