How-To Geek

Set a Video as Your Desktop Wallpaper with VLC

Are you tired of static desktop wallpapers and want something a bit more entertaining? Today we’ll take a look at setting a video as wallpaper in VLC media player.

Download and install VLC player. You’ll find the download link below. Open VLC and select Tools > Preferences.


On the Preferences windows, select the Video button on the left.


Under Video Settings, select DirectX video output from the Output dropdown list.


Click Save before exiting and then restart VLC.


Next, select a video and begin playing it with VLC. Right-click on the screen, select Video, then DirectX Wallpaper.

  sshot-21 copy

You can achieve the same result by selecting Video from the Menu and clicking DirectX Wallpaper.

  sshot-19 copy

If you’re using Windows Aero Themes, you may get the warning message below and your theme will switch automatically to a basic theme.


After the Wallpaper is enabled, minimize VLC player and enjoy the show as you work.


When you are ready to switch back to your normal wallpaper, click Video, and then close out of VLC.

 sshot-24 copy

Occasionally we had to manually change our wallpaper back to normal. You can do that by right clicking on the desktop and selecting your theme.



This might not make the most productive desktop environment, but it is pretty cool. It’s definitely not the same old boring wallpaper!

Download VLC

Andrew is a media center geek with some serious Windows skills. He's never far from a WiFi connection or a great cup of coffee.

  • Published 05/27/10

Comments (40)

  1. Mike J

    Great way to waste a lot of processor power,

  2. DigitalGeekery

    You might think so, but actually I measured very little difference in processor usage while running it as wallpaper vs. playing a movie normally in VLC. Using a Dual-Core Pentium running Win7 the difference was indiscernible.

  3. Jakeu1701

    Much love to the vlan team for fixing the wallpaper mode.

  4. InDiSent

    That’s awesome just for the coolness factor.

  5. slate

    Awesome feature indeed! But…any idea how it handles dual monitor setups? Does it play on both at the same time or just the main monitor? Anyone wanna try it and then leave a comment here as to the results?
    Inquiring minds want to know. :)

  6. Daniel

    When I do this, it just changes the view within VLC, not my desktop. Remedy?

  7. aerosquid

    I can’t get it to work. It turns my wallpaper black but when i minimize it nothing happens :(

    I wonder if it makes a difference what file type i’m playing? I was trying it with a large .mkv but my device is more than powerful enough to run it… good video and cpu. oh wells :)

  8. ben

    Is it possible to use vlc to convert a stream ( to a file? I have a media player that can only open files (not streams), so I’d like to give it a file that points to the stream. Thanks!

  9. Martijn

    The movie does not play in a loop; is there a way to get this done?

  10. bunun

    is there a way for me to make the wallpaper a live stream ? like ? i tried years ago, and i just gave up as it didnt work

  11. ProstheticHead

    It’d be cool if I could use this to display the feed from my ip camera. I’ll have to experiment a bit :-)

  12. Jim

    Doesn’t work for me either. It turns off Aero and maximizes VLC. It doesn’t go fullscreen let alone wallpaper.

  13. Jim

    I should add I’m running Windows 7 64 bit. Could that be the problem?

  14. deeprana94

    This is not Bad Idea, But I think H2G should show this:

    First, Buy or Download Stardock DeskScrapes application than go to settings of it & Check that u have marked Show Videos as Wallpapers….

    So u can use it as wallpaper, I think that videos should be in .WMV If not convert it to WMV & use it…..

    The video plays with sound also on desktop……

  15. deeprana94

    And ya add folders to ur Dreams Directory which contains Videos………………

  16. Mike

    I had to reset my preferences to defaults before I could see the wallpaper option in Preferences.

  17. ender

    nice one , very nice.

  18. Wizard

    – For the video to loop , go to view -> playlist there you can find a small icon named loop. By clikcing that u can make the videos run in the loop
    -Sometimes when the video is played there are chances that video wont go as wallpaper ,, for this when starting the video see that it ” Driect X Wallpaper” is not set , after the video has started then check tthe directx option , with the player in maximised condition .

  19. beikthar

    thank you for your teaching to me………..

  20. Subieman

    i cant get this to work at all

  21. I Love You Man


  22. Aksel

    All mine does is zoom in, the window size doesn’t change, just the video zooms in.

  23. Lindsay

    I downloaded the most recent, reset all my setting to default and I still cant get this option! I’m on a macpro?

  24. shan

    thanks for telling us.

  25. Sierra McGuire

    well if you look on the preferences list while trying changing it to DirectX video output there are a few ones you can choose that at the beginning say DirectX so make sure when trying to change it that it says DirectX video output and not DirectX 3D video output.
    The way they show it above shoes the right option to be at the top of the list and on the actual program its at the bottom.
    If you choose the other one this option will not be available.
    Make sure to close out of VLC and restart it after changing the preference.
    Hope this helps some.

  26. Kate

    i just tried this, it dosen’t work -.-

  27. Anony Mouse

    Works beautifully on my system full HD wallpaper in a loop, the only thing that is bothering my is seeing VLC (hardware YU… on my taskbar, anyone know how to remedy this? I’m using Win 7 64 bit ult btw. I did manage to get one of the two (!?!?!) pesky infections off my task bar if I could get rid of this one I would be quite pleased.

  28. K!TZ

    thanks brow its good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the VLC Media Player in Computer

  29. scottyd

    It’s cool but useless for dual monitors. It throws the video in the center between both monitors without any way to change it.

  30. pcines

    The only problem is, VLC does not support it anymore. I have a mac too so its even harder to find software. I heard that theres a bunch of windows software that works great though. I guess thats the price i pay for having a mac. :(

  31. plumb

    Thank you this fixed my problem with it not working anymore :)

  32. too pro

    tested it on window 7 64 bit, did exactly like the above instruction note i have k lite codex pack 64 bit and real alternative installed, both directx wallpaper and direct3D desktop mode works, problem in direct3D desktop mode the icon on desktop is not visible (hidden) maybe that’s the differences note runs fine with both aero interface and basic, directx wallpaper only run on basic does not support aero interface. conclusion directx wallpaper good feature but not recommended when working as aero interface is needed. for now i am using direct3D desktop mode, i can work without my desktop icon as i have them on my task bar.

  33. t

    i am thankful for this :) but was wondering if there was a way to make it the motion background at startup so that it is running all the time and/or if there is a way to loop another video to it to make it longer,
    any help is appreciated

  34. great

    thanx a lot, ‘ve been looking for this

  35. pkd

    this is very usefull for us. now i am using video wallpaper

  36. Lipon

    I want to see video and live programme how?

  37. thomas.tmc

    Desktop Wallpaper is a great option in a video player, unfortunately due to VLC being horrible in other areas, it’s pretty much useless.

    VLC hangs for about a half to a full second whenever it loops a video (inefficient loading). This doesn’t happen in WMP or MPC-HC, there is a completely smooth transition.

    Could not get DXVA working in VLC (maybe some obscure option hidden in the cluttered and unorganized preferences panel?). This is offered as an option during setup with most players that support it.

    Tried to get input from my Hauppauge TV card and VLC flipped out and crashed.

  38. Sanitary

    Followed your instructions and it works but only within the icon text box…is there a way to solve this? Thanx

  39. Mihir Prasad Mahanta

    This process is not so good. If we close the vlc then the video is not as desktop background

  40. peter

    thanks very much

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