Wallpaper Shifter changes desktop backgrounds on Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 21, 2008
Updated • Nov 20, 2017

Many software programs have been created in the past two years that automatically switch wallpapers on a computer desktop in selected intervals. We covered John’s Background Switcher, Scrollwall or the more recent Web Wallpaper.

Some would say that these applications may be overkill under certain circumstances. Most run in the background permanently even if you want to switch backgrounds only once a session, for instance during system startup.

This is wasting system resources because the applications are not needed anymore after they have done what they are configured to do: change the desktop wallpaper

Update: Microsoft built-in functionality in Windows 7 to switch between different desktop wallpapers automatically on those systems.

Wallpaper Shifter

Dario Volaric's motivation for Cyber-D's Wallpaper Shifter probably came from the fact that there was not a wallpaper changer available that would terminate its own process after switching wallpapers on the system.

The core benefit of the program is that it only needs to be run when it changes background images on the system, and that it won't waste any system resources afterwards as it is closed automatically after the operation.

The program picks random wallpapers from a user selected directory and sets these as the active Windows wallpaper.

Once that has been done it closes down which means that it will not use any system resources from that point on. The application was designed to run during system startup but it can also be run when Windows is already up and running (in which case you would need to run the program manually).

It comes with a few options to change the scale mode (automatic, crop, fit, center) and the background (default, blur, edge repeat) but that's it. If you are looking for a one time a session wallpaper changer then this might be exactly what you are looking for.

The program configures the system to run it during auto start, if you do not want that, you can alternatively schedule it to run at another time.

The application's main appeal is that it it is dead easy to use as there is little to configure, and that it will only run for as long as it takes to switch the wallpaper. If you like different wallpaper images but have a system that is low on resources, you may want to try this one out as it provides you with everything you need in this case.

Update: The author's website is no longer available. We have uploaded the latest release version of the application to our own download server. Please note that we don't support the program, and have done so for archiving purposes only. You can download the latest version of Wallpaper Shifter with a click on the following link: (Download Removed)

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  1. Dotan Cohen said on November 22, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Windows really needs an additional program for this?!? KDE has had this feature for years!

  2. Yup said on November 21, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    john’s background switcher has a command line interface which will execute it’s commands and then exit. This can be run at login or by using task scheduler it you don’t want the program running all the time. And yes, it will work with all the other features such as flickr, smugmug, etc….

  3. -=Ben=- said on November 21, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    John’s Desktop Switcher can actually be set to run, change wallpaper, and close. Thats what I have!
    No resource leaking for me.

  4. nightspore said on November 21, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    I used some wallpaper changers and I can see where it might have use for others, but, because I change my wallpaper as often as I see something that catches my eye on the net, it proved to be easier to just use the generic windows right-click facility for setting them

  5. grep said on November 21, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Now if it only would support flickr like “john’s background switcher” it would be perfect :)

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