On a Windows computer, your wallpaper or background is the image you see in the backdrop of the Desktop. Having a background of your own choosing is just one of the many personalization options Windows offers to its users. On any version of the Windows Operating System, users can set whatever image files they want as their Desktop backgrounds as long as the pictures they want to use are in formats supported by Windows. Unfortunately, however, GIFs are a different story altogether. GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is a bitmap image format that allows for lossless image files capable of storing both static and animated images.
The Windows Operating System has never been able to set GIFs (or videos, for that matter) as Desktop backgrounds. This fact has remained true even after the release of Windows 10 as, much like its predecessors, the latest and greatest iteration of Windows is unable to set GIFs as Desktop wallpapers. Even if you do tell Windows 10 to set a GIF file your Desktop background, it will simply set a single frame from the animated GIF as your Desktop background (inherently, this will be the first frame of the animation).
Windows 10 isn’t capable of turning GIFs into Desktop backgrounds – at least not on its own. There are quite a few programs compatible with Windows 10 that can be used to play animated GIFs as a computer’s Desktop background. The absolute cream of the crop when it comes to such applications are BioniX Animated Wallpaper and Stardock DeskScapes. If you want to set a GIF as your Desktop background on a Windows 10 computer, here’s how you can go about doing so:
Using BioniX Animated Wallpaper
First of all, you should know that BioniX Animated Wallpaper is excellent when turning GIFs of a smaller size (generally GIFs that are not going to occupy your entire Desktop), but if you turn a GIF the size of your entire screen into your Desktop wallpaper, the program might end up displaying the wallpaper over the icons on your Desktop. Perhaps the most prominent feature of BioniX Animated Wallpaper is the fact that it is freeware – it will cost you nothing to pick the program up and use it. To set a GIF as your Desktop background on a Windows 10 computer using BioniX Animated Wallpaper, you need to:
- Go here and download the Desktop Background Switcher package which contains the GIF Wallpaper Animator program from the Download section of the webpage.
- Once the installation package for the program has been successfully downloaded, navigate to where you saved it and double-click on it to run it.
- Go through the installation wizard following the onscreen instructions to install the application.
- Once the program has been installed, launch it.
- Click on Tools > Wallpaper animator once you are inside the program.
- Point the application to the folder which houses the animated GIF file you want to turn into your Desktop wallpaper.
- Click on the GIF file you want the application to set as your Desktop background in the list of GIF files that appears on the left to select it.
- As soon as you do so, the GIF file will be set as your desktop background. You can customize features such as playback speed, quality and zoom in the Wallpaper animator window, and you can also decide where on the Desktop the GIF file is animated.
When you’re done with them, minimize both the Wallpaper animator window and the main application, and both of which will disappear to the notification area in your taskbar where they will continue running in the background. If you need to make changes to your wallpaper, simply bring up the Wallpaper animator window by clicking on the red dragon icon in your taskbar.
Using Stardock DeskScapes
Stardock DeskScapes is a paid but much more polished and sophisticated alternative to BioniX Animated Wallpaper. Turning GIFs into wallpapers is only one of the many features BioniX Animated Wallpaper has to offer, but Stardock DeskScapes is designed specifically to turn GIF files into desktop backgrounds, which is why it is, in a number of different ways, better at it as compared to its opposition. Stardock DeskScapes is a much more powerful tool for the job.
If you believe turning GIFs into wallpapers with ease and comfort is an endeavor worth paying for, Stardock DeskScapes will cost you $10. You won’t be getting into anything blind, however – Stardock DeskScapes also offers a free 30-day trial so that potential customers can learn exactly what Stardock DeskScapes is about and decide if it’s something they’d be willing to spend cold hard cash on.