AutoWall is an open source program that can display animated GIFs and videos as your wallpaper - gHacks Tech News

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AutoWall is an open source program that can display animated GIFs and videos as your wallpaper

Are you bored with your desktop background? Let's add some life to it.

autowall mario wallpaper

AutoWall is a simple program that allows you to use animated GIFs and videos as your wallpaper.

Extract the archive, run the Autowall executable and you'll see a compact GUI appear. Click on the browse button to select the file that you want to use as your wallpaper. Select an animated GIF from your computer. I used these wallpapers.

AutoWall gui

The text field in Autowall should display the path of the selected file. Hit the apply button and watch the magic. Your desktop should now have the animated wallpaper as the background. AutoWall does not scale the wallpaper to fit your screen size. Most GIFs are not full screen, so unless you have one that matches your desktop's resolution, it will look a bit odd.

If you have a Full HD display, look up "1920 x 1080 GIFs" or "free stock videos" and you'll find plenty to choose from. AutoWall has a sample Full HD GIF in its "VideosHere" folder.

Autowall supported formats

In addition to Animated GIFs, AutoWall also supports the following video formats: AVI, MP4 and MOV. So you can have your favorite scene from a movie, sports, or even a game's video as your desktop background. The program does not support audio, so even if your videos have some sound, it will not be played. That is a good thing, otherwise it would get pretty distracting.

autowall windmill wallpaper

How does it work?

AutoWall is a portable software and comes in a 23.5MB archive. When extracted, the folder measures about 64MB in size. There is a reason why it is so big, the program ships with the MPV executable which is around 60MB and has a couple of DLLs required for the player.

autowall folder

The application also comes with the Weebp open-source wallpaper engine, which AutoWall uses along with the MPV video player in the background to display animated wallpapers.

Most of the GIFs I recorded were pretty huge in size, so here's a short sample of the Mario wallpaper.

autowall demo 2

What is the performance impact of AutoWall?

MPV's performance was at 3-5% CPU, the memory usage was at around 50. That's fairly low for a modern computer. IF your wallpaper is larger, the resource usage will naturally be higher, e.g. a 2MB GIF used about 70MB, while a 170MB video used around 100MB of RAM. It is advisable to use images and videos which are smaller in size, so it doesn't impact your system or uses up your laptop's battery.

The AutoWall.exe used about 10MB in the background. But the good news is you don't need to keep it running in the background. To close AutoWall, right click on its tray icon, and select Exit. So, you may run the program, change the wallpaper, and exit it. MPV will continue running in the background to display the animated background, regardless of whether AutoWall is running or not.

To revert to your normal desktop background, click the reset button in AutoWall's interface. The program can be set to start automatically with Windows.

Note: The tray menu's "Script Paused" option doesn't seem to work. AutoWall is an open source application. The program is written in AutoIt.

Summary
software image
Author Rating
1star1star1star1stargray
5 based on 2 votes
Software Name
AutoWall
Operating System
Windows
Software Category
Customization
Price
Free
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Comments

  1. John G. said on October 19, 2020 at 5:41 pm
    Reply

    Very interesting article, thank you @Ashwin! :]

  2. Andrew said on October 19, 2020 at 6:59 pm
    Reply

    This is a must-have for me thanks!

  3. Peterc said on October 20, 2020 at 4:25 am
    Reply

    I have a pretty nice collection of static (non-animated) wallpapers and I’ve been running them in a random slideshow using John’s Background Switcher. (Ghacks reviewed JBS over 12 years ago. I’m pretty sure It’s added some features since then.) I prefer JBS to Windows’ native wallpaper slideshow feature because I’ve gone to some trouble to identify and accurately name my wallpapers, and with JBS you have the option of displaying the filenames as captions.

    BTW, identifying my wallpapers was pretty tedious — I had to break it up over many, many tolerably short sessions — but it was also pretty educational, with a lot of real-world payoffs. For example, when I watched the season 3 premiere of “Star Trek: Discovery” a few days ago, I knew *instantly* that one of the filming locations was Iceland’s Eldhraun Lava Field, because I had previously identified a wallpaper of the damn place. Also, I learned to avoid touching any small, colorful frogs in Central America or northern South America. (There’s a reason most of them have “poison,” “poison-dart,” or “poison-arrow” in their common names. ;-) On a more serious note, researching my wallpapers helped me hone my photo-identification skills. (PRO TIP 1: Bing Visual Search is frequently but not always more helpful than Google Image Search. Use both. PRO TIP 2: Any signs you can manage to read — street signs, business names, etc. — can help put you on the right track. PRO TIP 3: Google Street View can often help you nail down a tentative ID.)

    There are a couple areas where JBS could stand to be improved. The captions could be more legible against light-colored backgrounds, and an anti-repeat check (or better randomization routine) for switch-timings under 30 seconds would be helpful. But overall it’s been working *very* nicely. (It’s available for both Windows and Mac but not Linux.)

    That said, I *have* come across a handful of nice animated-GIF wallpapers in the past and wish I could run them in JBS, or even just natively. I gather BioniX Desktop Wallpaper Changer supports animated GIFs, but it looks like BioniX is payware/crippleware and I just haven’t seen enough animated-GIF wallpapers I really liked to be willing to pony up or put up with restrictions or nags. For now, I’m happy enough with JBS.

  4. Anonymous said on October 20, 2020 at 10:44 am
    Reply

    be sure to check this out!
    https://github.com/rocksdanister/lively

  5. y0himba said on October 20, 2020 at 4:53 pm
    Reply

    Would someone provide a link to the Mario wallpaper GIF above?

    1. Peterc said on October 20, 2020 at 7:59 pm
      Reply

      @y0himba:

      1920×1080 (Full HD) / 16:9 aspect ratio (most Windows laptops)
      https://www.deviantart.com/colinplox/art/Super-Mario-1-1-Animated-Wallpaper-Gif-HD-1080p-172468913
      (Referral page; image link uses variable referral token)

      1920×1200 (WUXGA) / 16:10 aspect ratio (Mac standard):
      https://www.9to5animations.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Animated-Mario-Gif-wallpaper-1920×1200.gif

      3:2 aspect ratio (Microsoft Surface line and a handful of others):
      Didn’t find any with a quick search.

      Note that the GIF embedded in this Ghacks page is only 1905×1015, which is not quite Full HD and not quite 16:9.

  6. Yuliya said on October 20, 2020 at 10:11 pm
    Reply

    That is not a very accurate representation of the first level from Super Mario Bros. 🤔

    1. baggot said on October 24, 2020 at 8:42 am
      Reply

      @Yuliya

      Good point. I have notified the authorities.

  7. Simon said on October 21, 2020 at 2:17 am
    Reply

    Even better, this “Push Video Wallpapers” software lets you build playlists, and load videos AND youtube videos (or other urls) as live wallpaper! I made a playlist of my favorite youtube Live Cams, which this program loads as live wallpaper, INCLUDING audio, which (via the
    program) you can set the volume level, or just shut the audio off:

    Software download:
    https://www.push-entertainment.com/video-wallpaper/
    Free to try.
    Download is free. It will occasionally ask you to register it. To get rid of the rare occasional
    registration requests, you can register it, if you want, for $8 – $10.
    By the way, there are no instructions – so, here’s how to use it:
    go to
    https://helpdeskgeek.com/windows-10/how-to-use-a-video-as-your-wallpaper-on-windows-10/
    and scroll down to “Adding YouTube and other Videos using Push Video Wallpapers”.
    Yes, it also tells you how do load videos and URLs as live wallpaper using VLC, but don’t
    bother – if you use VLC to do this, you have no access to shortcuts or the taskbar, so
    Push Video, to me, wins.

    1. Peterc said on October 21, 2020 at 7:56 pm
      Reply

      @Simon: Push Video Wallpapers probably isn’t something I’d pay for, but if I could find a *really* good feed of bark peeling off a tree, I’d at least *think* about it. I could *use* a little more excitement in my life. ;-)

    2. belly said on October 24, 2020 at 8:46 am
      Reply

      @Simon

      Thanks for that ad! I’m always keen on spending my money on superfluous software that screws up my PC.

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