Creative Windows

How to Use an Animated GIF as Your Desktop Wallpaper With Rainmeter

Christian Bonilla 19-10-2016

GIFs have become the lifeblood of internet culture. Rarely does an online feed not contain several (hundred) funny, informative, or adorable GIFs.


Did you know that you could bring your love of GIFs to your desktop? There are ways to create GIF wallpapers in Windows How to Use an Animated GIF as Your Wallpaper in Windows 10 Static wallpapers can be boring. Video wallpapers are too extreme. Compromise with beautiful animated GIF wallpapers instead! Read More , but using the popular Windows program Rainmeter, you can place as many GIFs on your desktop as you desire.

Here’s What You’ll Need

To achieve the desired effects, you’ll need the following documents, some text, images, and of course Rainmeter.

The INI File

Rainmeter’s INI file links your images to the program. First, head to the root Rainmeter directory located in C:\Users\[PC Name]\Documents\Rainmeter\Skins. Within this directory, create a new folder with a name of your choice, for example GIF.

Within this folder, create your INI file. Do this by right-clicking within your GIF directory and selecting New > Text Document. Copy and paste the following code into this document:

Formula=Counter % [*]
ImageName=#@#[GIF Folder Name]\frame_[ImageNumberCalc].gif

A few things to note about this piece of code. First, the only necessary change to the code will be the ImageName parameter. Replace [GIF Folder Name] with whatever you named the folder containing your GIF.


Second, your Formula parameter. Formula will load the amount of images you specify for your GIF. Some GIFs may have as little as 10 frames, while others may span hundreds of frames. It is up to you to change this parameter from [*] to the amount required for your GIF, with one added (34 images requires an entry of 35). This number is simple to check, and further explanation will be provided in the following section. Remember to not confuse Formula with Update, which controls the playback speed of your GIF.

Pro Tip: Don’t have a GIF to use? Check out these awesome tools for creating animated GIFs in Windows 3 Best Tools to Make Free Animated GIFs on Windows Keen to start creating your own GIFs? These tools will get you animated in no time. Read More .

The third most important parameters are W and H. W stand for width and H, for height. This will control the size of your GIF. Alongside W and H, PreserveAspectRatio will prevent your image from becoming distorted. Enabling this parameter will allow you to change either your W or H parameters, and still preserve the full image. To deactivate it, change the 1 to a 0 or delete the parameter altogether.

Rainmeter GIF Resize


Save your text documents, name it something simple, and include the added .ini extension. Naming your file with the INI extension, coffee.ini for example, will allow Rainmeter to recognize your file.

The GIF File

Create a folder within your GIF folder named @Resources. This folder will hold the images linked to you INI file. Within this folder, create another folder. Name this folder something pertaining to your GIF for easy location. For example, I’ve named the folder containing my GIF files coffee.

Coffee Rainmeter GIF
Image Credit: kirokaze via DeviantArt

Place your desired GIF into this folder. Now that you have a GIF to work with, you have to use a splitting program which compiles your GIF into an assortment of single GIF images. These are the images you will use to create your desktop GIF.


Split Your GIF

You’ll need to split your GIF. This process is simple and can be automated using EZGIF. The Splitter function will allow you to upload and split your GIF into individual GIF images. Once you’ve split your image, download the ZIP file containing your images and move it to the appropriate GIF folder.

Split GIF Images Example

Unzip the file. You should now have your original GIF file, a zipped file, and your individual images. Delete both the original GIF and the zipped file, solely leaving behind your individual images.

GIF Images After Being Split


Now, rename your GIF files. Your INI file determines the images entered into Rainmeter. The script given allows for images named frame_[ImageNumberCalc].gif, meaning files named frame_1.gif, frame_2.gif, frame_3.gif, and so on. (See our tips for mass renaming multiple files in Windows How to Batch Rename & Mass Delete Files in Windows Are you pulling your hair out over how to batch rename or delete hundreds or thousands of files? Chances are, someone else is already bald and figured it out. We show you all the tricks. Read More .)

This works well for the automatic format that EZGIF uses for its images. There are plenty of methods to rename files en masse, the easiest of which is Bulk Rename Utility (BRU). Copy and paste your images into BRU, select them all within the program, and increase the Last n parameter under Remove to 12. This will remove the end of your files and preserve the frame_[Number] format. Click Rename on the bottom right-hand corner of BRU to apply.

Bulk Rename Example

Finally, change the Formula parameter in your original INI file. Replace [*] with however many frames your GIF includes, plus one.

Activating Your GIF in Rainmeter

Open your Manage Rainmeter window and select Refresh all. Locate and double-click the INI file for your GIF, and it should appear on your desktop. If you’d like to display more than one GIF on your desktop, create a duplicate copy of your root GIF file and modify your files as needed.

GIF in Rainmeter

Benchmarking tests show How to Benchmark Your CPU and GPU Like a Pro Benchmarking allows users to gauge hardware performance, troubleshoot issues, and compare system setups. It's commonly used among gamers. We introduce you to the technical details and show you how the pros benchmark their systems. Read More an Intel i5 4460 will sustain around a 5% activity spike while two examples of this skin are active. Although this skin requires CPU usage, it will not affect general PC performance.

GIF-ify Your Desktop With Rainmeter

A special thanks to Reddit user /u/Mathiashenr whose excellent planetary Rainmeter skin provided much of the backbone for this effect!

I’m a sincere advocate of everything Rainmeter. Using a little bit of know-how, there’s no limit to what Rainmeter can do for your desktop experience—even creating live interactive wallpapers Make Your Desktop Stunning With an Interactive Live Wallpaper Nothing makes your desktop stand out like a live interactive background. It's also one of the greatest exercises in customizing your Windows setup. We'll show you how to do it easily with Rainmeter. Read More . If you decide GIFs aren’t right for you, consider making parallax desktops wallpapers with Rainmeter How to Create a Parallax Desktop Background With Rainmeter If you desire a live animated desktop wallpaper, look into Rainmeter! Here we'll show you how to create a unique parallax effect for your Windows desktop background. Read More  instead.

Related topics: GIF, Rainmeter, Windows Customization.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Will
    April 16, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    Whenever I try to activate it, nothing happens on my screen. It says it is active, but nothing shows up. Someone please help!

  2. nki
    March 31, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    i got this error:
    Calc: Syntax error (gif\gif\wallpaper.ini - [ImageNumberCalc])
    this is my .ini:
    Formula=Counter % 40

    anyone knows how to fix this ?

  3. Anders
    June 7, 2018 at 11:39 pm


    I've pushed my patience to the limit on this one for some hours now and the program can't seem to find my images.

    I've tried images in gif-format as well as PNG but neither work.

    This is my .ini file:
    OnRefreshAction=!ZPos -2
    Formula=Counter % 49

    This is the error message I get:

    Source: (GIF_1\coffee.ini)
    ImageName: Unable to open: C:\Users\MyName\Documents\Rainmeter\Skins\GIF_1\@Resources\\coffee\frame_32.gif

    If anyone knows what's wrong and has a solution then I and probably more people would be very grateful.

    Best regards.

    • I'll help you!
      December 17, 2018 at 4:53 am

      After @Resources, there are two slashes, that could help XD

    • The Coldest
      July 13, 2020 at 2:58 pm

      Remove the \ infront of coffee.

  4. Jaeho
    May 17, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Thank you for your kind explain.
    But could you let me know how to display more GIFs?
    I can't understand "If you’d like to display more than one GIF on your desktop, create a duplicate copy of your root GIF file and modify your files as needed."

    Does it mean making a new directory and put other split images of GIF?
    And what should I modify in the INI file?

    I would be appreciate for your answer :)

    • Jaeho
      May 17, 2018 at 8:53 pm

      Oh, I got it thank you!

  5. Bostrom
    August 22, 2017 at 12:41 am

    I can get the GIF to show up but it always disappears between each loop. Is there a way to stop it from doing this?

    • Bostrom
      August 22, 2017 at 12:56 am

      Nevermind. I fixed it once I realised it starts at frame 0 and not frame 1.

      • Nick
        September 5, 2017 at 2:28 am

        Can you explain what you did to fix it? I'm having the same issue.


        • Orion
          October 17, 2017 at 5:21 am

          Maybe a bit late but I figured it out myself too.

          EZGIF names the first 9 titles frame_01 ~ frame_09. You just have to get rid of the 0 to make them frame_1 ~ frame_9 then it works fine.

      • ne92on
        December 31, 2017 at 10:46 am

        can't fix mine, i did it too. kept on blinking after each loop :((

        • Lugar
          February 10, 2018 at 5:37 am

          A bit late here but to get rid of the blink at the end of the loop just don't add that extra number to your parameter. So if you have 39 images, put in the number 39 exactly, not 40 as the guide suggests.

      • Matto
        February 13, 2018 at 1:56 pm

        Super later reply but maybe I'll have some luck. Mine is blinking still and I've tried adjusting the number of frames and it doesn't help...

        • Bostrom
          February 22, 2018 at 3:47 pm

          If I remember correctly, the first frame showed is frame 0, so if you just rename your last frame as 0 it should work without a blink (e.g. if you have a total of 40 frames (1-40), rename the last one to frame 0, so you'll have frames 0-39, which is still 40 frames.)

        • Rabi
          December 17, 2018 at 4:59 am


  6. Cl
    June 29, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Doesn't seem to work. :(( I tried, and checked for like 3 times but still doesn't work :(

  7. TSHMN
    May 8, 2017 at 8:56 am

    I know there's very little point in doing this, but if you're reading this and using it as a tutorial because you want to make your entire background a gif, add the following line under the [Rainmeter] section of your .ini file and then refresh the skin:

    OnRefreshAction=!ZPos -2

    This will prevent the GIF from covering up your taskbar or any open windows.

  8. Ajay Maharjan
    January 31, 2017 at 8:42 am