Everyone knows how to set a picture as wallpaper. Everyone knows how to use pictures, even slideshows, as screensavers. But what if you want more than that? What if you want actual videos playing on your wallpaper or screensaver? Sounds complicated? It’s actually very simple, no matter which version of Windows you’re using (Windows 8 users, I have no guarantees for you. Some of the options below might work for you too, give them a try to find out!).
Why would you want a video as your wallpaper or screensaver? First of all, it’s fun, and it makes sure you never get bored. In addition, playing a video on your desktop allows you to continue watching something while you work, and if you’re the sort of person who believes in multi-tasking for productivity, this could be perfect for you.
If after using any of these methods you find that your previous wallpaper has disappeared, all you have to do is right click anywhere on your desktop, choose “Personalize”, and click on your previous settings (Windows 7 and Vista) or open the Display options and choose your old wallpaper again (Windows XP).
DreamScene was a feature introduced in Windows Vista Ultimate which allowed you to have looped video as your actual wallpaper. It was a nice feature, but for some reason or other, Microsoft decided to remove it when Windows 7 came along, leaving only the ability to create wallpaper slideshows. But DreamScene is still alive, and you can get it back on Windows 7, and even on Windows XP.
To start, you’ll need to download a small utility that will enable DreamScene on your system. For Windows 7, download DreamScene Activator, and for Windows XP, you can try XPScene. Since I’m using Windows 7, I only tested the former, and I can assure you it works like a charm. If you’ve tried XPScene, do tell us about it in the comments so we know how it works. From now on, all the instructions are valid for DreamScene Activator only.
The first thing you have to do after extracting the DreamScene Activator EXE file, is right click on it and choose “Run as Administrator“. If you try to run the program and get this error, it’s because you’re not running it as administrator.
Next, it’s time to enable DreamScene. This is pretty straightforward, and once you do so, explorer.exe will restart, and DreamScene will be activated on your system.
DreamScene works only with .mpg or .wmv files. You can download plenty of high-quality scenes from Dreamscene, but you can find any file you might have on your computer, just to see how it works. When you find a suitable file, right click on it and choose “Set as Desktop Background“. Note that in most cases, the videos will appear on your desktop without the sound.
You should now have a beautiful video as your wallpaper background. Isn’t that awesome?
VLC Video Wallpaper
This is a neat little trick that requires you to download VLC (if you’re not already using it), but it’s not limited to certain types of files like DreamScene is, and you can use it to play AVI, MP4 and other video formats as your wallpaper. Note that this method only works as long as VLC is running and playing the video.
To be honest, there’s really nothing to it. Simply load any video you want to play on your desktop, click on the Video menu and choose “Set as Wallpaper“.
That’s it. When you minimize VLC now, you’ll see the video playing on your desktop in place of your wallpaper, and you can enjoy it while you work. This method is great for when you want to keep watching a video while working, since you can control it using VLC at all times. Of course, you can also set up playlists or repeat a video in a loop. If you stop the video or close VLC, the video will disappear from your desktop as well.
Desktop Movie is a small utility that takes video wallpapers to a whole new level. With it, you can set almost any video format as your wallpaper, access playback controls, create playlists, and so much more. And all of this comes wrapped up in a tiny, portable app you don’t even have to install.
After downloading Desktop Movie, run the EXE file and choose the video or videos you want to play on your wallpaper. Click Open, and the videos will start playing on your desktop immediately, complete with sound. Locate the app’s tray icon and right click it to access playback controls, your playlist and more.
To stop the videos, all you have to do is exit the program, and your wallpaper will return to normal. What more can you ask for?
So far we’ve looked at three different ways to play videos as your wallpaper, but what if you want videos as your screensaver? That’s possible too, and with Video Screensaver, you can use almost any conceivable video format as your screensaver, with or without sound.
After downloading and running the program, it will automatically open the screensaver settings for you and choose the “rodflashvideoss” screensaver. If this doesn’t happen, just do it manually. Now click the Settings button to choose your video.
This will launch Video Screensaver, letting you choose a video file and control some other options such as what happens on mouse move and whether the video will play with audio. Click OK, and you’re all set.
Next time your screensaver is activated, the video you chose will automatically start playing. You can toggle the sound by pressing the S key on your keyboard.
It turns out that setting a video as your wallpaper or screensaver is a pretty simple task! Do you know of other great options I missed? Don’t forget to share them in the comments!
Image credit: action image via Shutterstock