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Use a Random XKCD Comic as Your Desktop Wallpaper

If you are a big fan of the popular xkcd webcomic you might have wondered how to use the comic as your desktop wallpaper, and today I’ve got that answer for you in the form of a tiny application that rotates your wallpaper with random xkcd comics.

Using Random xkcd Wallpaper

Installing the application is as simple as downloading, extracting, and launching. The Random xkcd button will set your wallpaper to a random comic each time you press it… rather fun.

Random XKCD

If your wallpaper shows up all stretched out, you should right-click on the desktop and choose Personalize, then go to Desktop Background.

Desktop Background Link

From there you will want to choose the “Center” option shown below, to center the wallpaper instead of stretching it out. You can also change your background color to something else with the very obvious blue link.

Center Desktop Background Images 

Windows XP users will find the same function on the Desktop tab instead… just choose Center from the Position box.

Windows XP Display Properties

Setup a Shortcut to Silently Rotate

Since you likely won’t want to rotate the wallpaper manually yourself, you can create a shortcut to the executable file, and then add the following options at the end of the Target box:

-random -silent

This will make the wallpaper changer run without prompting or displaying errors, perfect for running at startup…

XKCD Shortcut Random Flag

At this point we have a shortcut that you can double-click to choose a random xkcd wallpaper.

XKCD Shortcut Icon

If you want this to run at startup, you can type shell:startup into the explorer location bar and drag the shortcut in:

Shell:startup

And now you’ll get a random wallpaper each time you login. If you don’t like that one, just click the shortcut again. This comic actually made me laugh out loud…

XKCD Geico Golf Club

Note: XKCD is a wonderful comic, but the topics aren’t geared at children. Just throwing the disclaimer out there…

Download xkcd Wallpaper Randomizer from apathysketchpad.com

Visit the xkcd webcomic

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/27/09

Comments (8)

  1. jared

    This is really great! Love it!

  2. Starkiller

    just wondering…I always wanted to try this but never got around to do it, wouldn’t it also be possible to setup the windows task-scheduler to start this link …say once every hour?

  3. Brian B

    Wow, I never thought about using a comic as wallpaper. This is an awesome guide and idea.

  4. David

    @Starkiller… Absolutely!

  5. MorningStar

    The best wallpaper randomizer I’ve found is Webshots Desktop.

  6. Salman

    Any Linux / Ubuntu Equivalent?

  7. Jabell

    Would there be any way to do this sort of thing on vista with another comic? For example, could I be able to click a button on the desktop for the next comic in the series to appear as my desktop? i don’t want to manually go into desktop background and change it, and i don’t want to set it to change every 5 minutes. Any body know how to do this?

  8. Matt

    I’m looking for an equivalent that would hook up with a daily-updated webcomic (such as Explosm’s Cyanide and Happiness) and automatically post the days’ strip. Suggestions?

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