Lively is an open source wallpaper application for Microsoft Windows 10 devices that is available as a desktop version and a Microsoft Store version. You may use it to display animated wallpapers or interactive desktop backgrounds on Windows 10 machines, including YouTube videos, HTML pages, or games.
Wallpaper functionality has not really changed that much on Windows since the Windows XP days. Microsoft did introduce support for animated wallpapers in Windows Vista Ultimate but removed support for it in future versions of Windows.
Wallpaper applications are still superior in many regards as they add more functionality and give users more control over what is displayed on their desktops.
Lively comes in a huge package; at 187 Megabytes, it is anything but small but the installer includes animated wallpapers among other things. Lively has several dependencies, including .Net Core 3.1, which will be installed during installation if they are missing.
You get options to start Lively with Windows and a short getting started wizard that provides you with some options and explanations. The main interface is accessible via the System Tray icon. Lively Wallpaper needs to run in the background; if you close the program, the wallpaper is removed with it.
Lively Wallpaper displays available wallpapers in its interface. Just click on any wallpaper to make it the default on the system. While that is great already, it is the program’s functionality that sets it apart from the majority of wallpaper solutions out there for Windows.
Lively Wallpaper supports several formats including video files, animated GIFs, web addresses, or even games. The sample library offers several examples, including an interactive periodic table and a Matrix effect.
Adding new wallpapers is a straightforward process:
- Activate the plus-icon in the Lively Wallpaper interface.
- Use drag & drop, browse, or the URL field to add a new wallpaper. You could turn a YouTube video into a wallpaper, select an application (exe), a video, or a local HTML page among other things.
- Depending on your choice, you will have to wait a bit before the selected item is turned into a wallpaper. A prompt is displayed to customize the wallpaper’s title and some other data points.
Note: Lively Wallpaper supports sound output; if a wallpaper has sound, e.g. a YouTube video, sound is played automatically once the item has been converted to a wallpaper. You may turn off audio playback in the options under Audio.
Lively Wallpaper pauses playback when fullscreen applications such as games are run on the system. You get additional playback options in the settings under performance. There you may configure rules for battery use, when an application is focused and the display pause rule.
The application supports multi-monitor systems, and you may configure it to keep running the wallpaper on displays while it pauses playback on the one that is used actively.
Animated wallpapers use more resources than static ones, and you may notice a 4-5% use of the processor with some of the wallpapers. The extent of use depends on the selected wallpaper for the most part; if you run a 4K animation that is hundreds of Megabytes in size, you will naturally notice a bigger use compared to a 480p animated gif with just a few frames.
Still, if performance is an issue on a device, you may not want to run this program as it will take away resources while it is running.
Lively Wallpaper extends the wallpaper capabilities of the Windows 10 system significantly. Users who like animated wallpapers can give it a go, and those wanting to run applications instead as wallpapers, can do so as well.
Now You: what is your wallpaper preference?
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