Setting animated backgrounds on Windows desktop used to be very simple earlier. With Windows 11/10, it is not so easy anymore – but isn’t impossible. If you want to liven up your Windows desktop with some live wallpapers having interesting animations – You could use Lively Wallpaper, a free Open-Source Software (FOSS) created exclusively to set live wallpapers your animated desktop wallpapers.
Lively Wallpaper for Windows 11/10
Lively Wallpaper is a free software design application that can transform your static desktop to make it look energetic and active. This personalization software lets you turn various videos, GIFs, emulators, HTML, web addresses, shaders, and even games into animated Windows desktop wallpaper. Lively application for Microsoft Windows devices is available as a desktop version and as a Microsoft Store version.
Add animated desktop backgrounds to your PC
Lively is packed with incredibly useful and easy to use features including:
- User-experience focused – Lively is very simple to use, its drag and drop functions lets you drop in any file or webpages into the application and turn it into lively windows wallpapers.
- Pre-loaded Library – Lively wallpapers come with a preloaded library of animated images that the user can freely use for their desktop.
- Customizable – If you are not a big fan of the pre-existing ones in the library, you can create one. You can use dynamic and interactive webpages, 3D applications, audio visualizers, live streams, etc., as wallpapers. Also, it is capable of playing various video formats such as MP4, MKV, WebM, AVI, and MOV.
- Multiple screen support – You can make wallpapers for multiple monitors with, HiDPI resolutions, Ultrawide aspect ratios, and many more. And, a single wallpaper can be stretched across all screens.
- Silent – With video files and live streams running actively on your desktop, you don’t have to worry about hearing their audio. This is because the software pauses the wallpaper playback when Fullscreen applications/games are running (~0% CPU and GPU usage.)
- FOSS – As a Free and Open Source Software, none of the features of this software are hiding behind a paywall.
Before you have it installed on your system, here’s a quick checklist of its basic system requirements:
- Operating System – Windows 11/10
- Processor – Intel i3 or equivalent
- Memory – 2048 MB RAM
- Graphics – HD Graphics 3000 or above
- DirectX – Version 10 or above
- Storage – 1GB available space
At 187 MB, Lively is quite a small application packed with a decent library of animated wallpapers. You would need to note that Lively has certain dependencies, including .NET Core 3.1. You would be prompted to download it during installation if it is missing.
Once you are sorted, you get options to start Lively with Windows and a quick tour of the software that well explains and guides you through its main features.
You can access the main interface via the System Tray icon.
Lively Wallpaper needs to always run in the background; so, if you close the program the animated wallpaper is also removed along with it. Adding new wallpapers is a very straightforward process, you should:
1] Click on the ‘+’ icon on the Lively Wallpaper interface.
2] Now use drag & drop, browse, or pull the URL field to add new wallpaper.
You can turn a local HTML page, a YouTube video, an application (.exe), or a video into an interesting live wallpaper. Now, depending on the choice you made, you will have to wait for the software to turn it into a wallpaper.
It also gives you a prompt to customize the wallpaper’s title and some other data points.
Lively supports sound output, so if the wallpaper has a sound (i.e., YouTube Video, Video files) then it would be automatically converted to a wallpaper along with the sound. But again, if you don’t like it you can adjust the audio playback in the settings options under Audio.
The application pauses payback when Fullscreen applications like games are run on the system. Also, you get additional playback options in the settings under the performance option, there you can configure rules for battery and performance of your system.
On the main interface of the application, Lively displays the pre-loaded wallpapers; to use them, just click anyone.
This sample library offers interesting wallpapers that even let you play around when using the mouse on the desktop including an interactive periodic table, Matrix effect, and Fluids v2 for example.
Unquestionably, Lively Wallpaper does set a high standard for its competitors. The only downside was the resource usage, although it claims it’s 0% that’s not 100% correct. It’s a fact that animated wallpapers consume more resources than static ones. You are bound to see 5-6 percent of the use of the processor with few wallpapers, and if you run a 4K animation that is hundreds of Megabytes in size then you would notice higher consumption affecting the performance of your system.
This free-of-charge and open-source software is one of the most reliable wallpaper tools to have. If you are one of those who love to customize their desktop, to bring in some life into it, then you should try Lively for this. You can download Lively from its website – but if performance is your priority then you may not want to use this program as it may consume your resources significantly while it’s running.
Read next: Free software to set video as desktop background.