Best Free Wallpaper Changer

 
Introduction

After seeing the same wallpapers on the desktop for some time, most PC users would prefer a change to make it more lively, dynamic and interactive.

Some newer versions of Windows have basic settings to change wallpapers automatically, whereas earlier versions of the Windows system only allow for changing wallpapers manually. Going for a better choice with more features? Check out these free and good wallpaper changers that are reviewed and rated based on the features below:

  • User interface or ease of use.
  • Change wallpapers at time intervals set by users
  • Set position of each wallpaper
  • Synchronise wallpapers with folders
  • Auto close after changing the wallpaper to free up system resources
  • Slide show and other useful features.
 
In a Hurry?

Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

 
Discussion

Wallpaper MasterWallpaper Master has a good user interface with many useful features. The program can be set to auto start at windows logon or auto close after 30 seconds to save system resources.

It allows you to categorize the lists of wallpapers and rate each wallpaper so that better ones are chosen more often. It's easy to add files to the list or simply monitor a directory to update the list of wallpapers.

Wallpapers can be set to change when windows starts or on certain intervals in sequential order, shuffle mode or random order according to ratings. The position of each wallpaper can be set to center, stretch, tile or resize as well.

On the downside, the program allows adding up to a maximum 5,000 images per category in the free version, but that's good enough for most average users.

 

Wallpaper Cycler LiteWallpaper Cycler Lite offers to change the wallpaper on startup with other features such as auto shutdown, timer and cycle wallpapers.

This program manages wallpapers in multi-level categories, which can be linked to folders on your hard drive to automatically detect new wallpapers. Position of the wallpapers can be set to default, center, tile, stretch to fill, stretch to height, stretch to width and stretch with or without aspect to each wallpaper in the categories.

It includes a mode to show a slide show of all your wallpapers in the categories. It can also monitor your CPU load when it wants to cycle and prevent cycling when your CPU is too busy. This free program shows some other features in the context menu but they are only enabled in the paid version. These restricted features include wallpaper layouts, tags, search folders, etc.

 

Looking for a wallpaper changer with a calendar?

MuralPix ManagerMuralPix Manager is well worth trying. It has an option to make a frame around an image as part of the wallpaper. The frame color is calculated so that it corresponds to the overall image color tone. Further, a calendar can be painted automatically to the wallpaper with various settings.

It allows you to add folders and auto detect changes of files in the folders, set time intervals of changing wallpapers, etc. The wallpapers in the folders can be used by a screen saver included in the program.

The program can be set to auto start or run in a silent mode, but auto close is not included. Its user interface is not as good as some other programs, and settings of margins and images apply to all rather than individual wallpaper files.

 

John's Background SwitcherAs an alternative, John's Background Switcher can be used to change wallpapers with optional calendars as well.

The program supports multiple monitors and features setting auto exit, time intervals, selecting images from the folders or from other online resources such as Flickr, Picasa Web Albums, Facebook, etc.

Wallpapers can be set to center, stretch, scale, a thumbnail mosaic, a four-picture montage or a snapshot scrapbook. This setting applies to all but not individual wallpapers.

A picture browser is included to view images either downloaded or used in montage, but no slide show is available.

 

Looking for a cross-platform wallpaper changer?

WallyWally is a good wallpaper changer running on Win32, Linux and Mac OS X platforms. The author of the software re-uses the idea from John's Background Switcher (JBS) and fulfils the universe of wallpaper changers not covered by JBS.

The user interface looks similar to JBS, but it allows the wallpaper position to be set to centered, tiled, center tiled, centered maxpert, tiled maxpert, scaled, center auto fit or scale and crop. The setting of positions applies to all wallpapers in the folders.

The program supports features such as time intervals, selecting images from the folders or from online resources, displaying image EXIF data in system tray tool-tip, saving downloaded photos, run-time folder change detection, etc. No auto exit of the program is noted.

EvJO Wallpaper ChangerIf you don't like this restriction and prefer a simpler program, EvJO Wallpaper Changer is a good choice. It changes your wallpapers at every startup, once a day, at sunrise or sunset or other time intervals.

This program consists of several options such as, auto start, auto close, changing the wallpaper when the program starts or closes, changing the wallpaper in random order or in sequential order of the wallpapers in the list.

Position of the wallpapers can be set to auto, center, tile or stretch based on a global setting instead of individual wallpapers.

It has a clean and intuitive user interface, easy to use, and comes complete with extra features such as downloading photos from flickr, search photos by tags, text or user photos, draw a company logo or calendar on the desktop, etc. However, this program does not support synchronisation of wallpapers with folders and has no slide show feature.

 
Other Wallpaper Changers

These are other wallpaper changers which were brought up in comments here or noted from other sources. As they are not rated in this review, I am listing them here with brief descriptions and links to the related sites for ease of reference.

  • Adolix Wallpaper Changer is a good choice if you need a changer with a built-in screen capture utility. The program comes with user friendly interface and other features such as create play lists of wallpapers, set time intervals, etc. Setting wallpaper positions applies to all files while auto close of the program is not included.
  • Wallperizer, another wallpaper changer with a calendar feature, runs directly from the executable file and will be accessible from the system tray menu. The program features an automatic process where bright pictures are made darker and dark ones made brighter. It does not come with auto frames and other options available to MuralPix Manager.
  • WallPaper Changer.de is a smaller program and worth a try. Even though its user interface is less intuitive, this program provides basic and useful features. Some other advanced features such as folders synchronisation and slide show are not included. The program can be run directly without installation.
  • Caledos Automatic Wallpaper Changer allows you to choose multiple images or folders of images for automatic change of wallpapers, center or stretch wallpapers to full screen, set courtesy background and display interval to change wallpapers every logon, few minutes, hours, or days. It has a What I Saw feature to show a list of the latest 100 wallpapers. On the down side, it does not support auto program close, synchronise wallpapers and set position of individual wallpapers.
  • Cyber-D's Wallpaper Shifter changes the wallpaper by picking a random wallpaper from a preset folder. It allows various scale modes such as automatic, crop, fit or center, with background setting by default, blur or edge repeat. Once the wallpaper is changed, the program does not remain running in the background to save system resources. Easy to use, but without support for time intervals, multiple folders, slide show, individual setting for each wallpaper, etc.
  • Any Wallpaper is another choice for a simple yet user-friendly wallpaper changer. It allows you to add multiple folders and choose a change frequency, order and wallpaper position which is applicable to all files in the folders. Auto close of the program and some other features are not included.
  • BioniX Desktop Wallpaper Changer Lite, a free wallpaper manager supporting playlists dual monitor support, and other features. But some basic settings such as, disabling the message on startup and removing the product logo over the wallpaper are only made available in the commercial version.
 
Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 
Quick Selection Guide

Wallpaper Master
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Low memory usage, change on start-up, change intervals (min), wallpaper position settings, wallpaper ratings and categories, wallpaper folder sync.
Some limitations apply to the free version, cannot have 2 different backgounds (dual monitors).
2.16
759 KB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 95 to Vista
Wallpaper Cycler Lite
4.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Good user interface, auto start and close, folders synchronisation, extra features include slide shows and CPU load monitoring.
Additional features such as wallpaper layouts, tags, search folders, etc., are disabled in the context menu.
3.6.0.180
5.9 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP to 7

See the two mirror options on the download page if you wish to avoid the CNet downloader.
View the changelog here

MuralPix Manager
4.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Make frames around images in corresponding colors, auto calendar, auto detect changes of files, screen saver, etc.
Badly designed user interface, setting wallpaper positions applies to all, auto close not included.
http://muralpix.com/
1.07
3.0 - 10.8 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 98 to XP

View the revision history here

John's Background Switcher
4.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Supports multiple monitors and various wallpaper positions, setting auto exit, time intervals, selecting images from local folders or other online resources, optional calendars.
A picture browser is included to view images either downloaded or used in montage, but no slide show is available.
4.7
1.9 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 98 to 7 (except Starter Edition)

Access the revision information here

Wally
4.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Cross platforms, various wallpaper positions and supports features such as time intervals, choosing images from folders or online resources, displaying EXIF data, saving downloaded photos, run-time folder change detection.
No auto exit of the program is noted.
2.4.4
6.89 MB Win32 exe
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Win32, Linux and Mac OSX

View the changelog here

EvJO Wallpaper Changer
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Clean and intuitive user interface, auto start and close, extra features to download and search photos, add company logo and calendar to desktop.
Short of individual setting on position of each wallpaper. No folders synchronisation and slide show features.
3.1.0.225
6.79 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 98 to 7

View changes here

 

Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Jojo Yee. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

 
Tags

wall paper, wallpaper, freeware, free wallpapers. wallpaper changers, wallpaper with calendar.

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Comments

by metatech on 25. January 2014 - 18:36  (113980)

Hi, just wanted to let the reviewer and users know that there is a new Wallpaper Master (Beta) out. It has a whole new version number, and a complete interface redesign. It also can now stream RSS images from a wallpaper-website (only 1 site at the moment for freeware version). Personally, I find that the new FREE version of Wallpaper Master contains more functionality than the old Pay-version. The version number of the OLDEST version was 2.16 (made into freeware), then it bumped up to 1.62.1 (the latest stable pay-ware), and now the new beta is 2.0.3.6. (hope the version numbers don't confuse you... just go to the website's forum to read about and download the beta.

http://discourse.jamesgart.com:8080/t/wallpaper-master-updates-beta/3

The author/programmer is still actively making changes/bug-fixes, etc, so while it's not quite stable, it IS improving! (ps - personally I don't find any bugs in it)

by sicknero on 25. January 2014 - 21:25  (113983)

Thanks for the heads up.

I've given it a bit of a try-out this evening and at the moment I do still prefer the old 2.16, it has more options and functions than the new free beta and I've never had any problems running it in W7 x86 or x64 set to XP SP3 compatibility.

Contrary to the above article, there is a portable/non-install version available on the website. I know there's no editor for this section right now but I thought I'd just mention it for anyone reading the page.

by pro2c on 20. February 2013 - 10:02  (105573)

Nice list!

I would include Kiwi Random Wallpaper: http://www.kiwimonitor.com/kiwi_random_wallpaper.php

It takes it's images from a wallpaper website with over 25.000 high quality images in various categories. So there is no need to have your own. And the background color can be calculated and set automatically, based on the image.

by Jorpho on 1. February 2013 - 18:31  (105020)

Well, looks like wallpaperchanger.de is kaput. It's probably for the best; it was horribly out of date. Still, it was the only program I ever found that could change the color of desktop icon captions to maximize visibility over whatever random background you were using – a sensible feature that seems to be sorely lacking in other programs.

by Steeleye (not verified) on 16. October 2012 - 21:04  (100864)

Webshots is no longer available - it is now "Smile" and seems to require you to store the photos online.

by ohno on 29. August 2012 - 5:22  (98446)

Hi, Do any of these allow you to change the wallpaper on windoze 7 starter???? because microsoft have disabled the default windoze changer. Dont you just love them?

by Gareth Jones (not verified) on 7. August 2012 - 15:57  (97346)

I loved John's Background Switcher, but changed to Wallpaper Master (free) because it did everything I wanted and had a lower memory footprint - important because of the memory-hungry applications I run.

by shalin on 15. March 2012 - 9:55  (90643)

John's background switcher has a calendar option too. The app works fine.

by ingoor (not verified) on 5. March 2012 - 16:44  (89959)

I find John’s Background Switcher
meet best my requirements. I mainly want to take pictures from my picasa web albums. And this app does a hell of a job.

by Rizar on 29. May 2011 - 17:14  (72907)

I noticed that Wallpaper Cycler Lite has a command switch that allows it to cycle and exit from the Task Scheduler, and not run constantly.

I set it to run at an idle so it doesn't continually change the wallpaper needlessly, and it doesn't have to wait for the next login.

-cycle_and_exit

by Whatsit2ya on 11. April 2011 - 19:14  (70005)

For the first link Wallpaper Masters it is not compatible with vista or 7 unless you try the pro version which only lasts for 30 days then im sure they want some monies for it

by Wizzard Dragleonus (not verified) on 28. April 2011 - 20:54  (71080)

After the 30 days some features are disabled and it is similar to the free version then.. maybe has a nag screen... not sure... not yet 30 days... lol.. but it has been my favorite wallpaper changer for a long time... (the free version) actually i suggested it to this website and it became the top pic.. :) yay.... lol... tc..

by derty2 (not verified) on 8. April 2011 - 13:46  (69763)

I use Windows XP.
XnView is my default image viewer/manager.

I have a _BIG_ collection of wallpaper images all living neatly in child folders of parent folder "Wallpapers".

I launch the "Wallpapers" folder into view with a batch script placed in XnView AppDirectory:

Launch_MyWallpapersDir.bat
----------------------------------------
@echo off
start "" "%~d0%~p0\xnview.exe" "C:\My\Wallpapers"
exit
----------------------------------------

I make a shortcut to the batch at Start Menu and change the icon.

I click on the Start Menu shortcut, XnView browser pops up exactly at my collection...

I right click on an image and choose "Set as Wallpaper [Centered | Tiled | Fit to Desktop | Best Fit to Desktop | Previous]".

Job Done.

by brunetu on 18. February 2011 - 11:38  (66661)

I have already posted a hot find of this, but I'm also suggesting a first or maybe second place contender here just in case:

Wallpaper Slideshow LT (http://www.gphotoshow.com/wallpaperss.htm)

- unlike with other freeware, the number of wallpapers it can handle and manage is virtually unlimited;
- smart quality resize method (bicubic with prefilter), a feature usually present in the commercial versions of cometitor's products;
- run once at startup and optionally close itself or running as an icon in system tray and changing wallpapers at a chosen time interval;
- changing the wallpapers randomly / sequentially;
- auto-fit layout option (resize the wallpaper to desktop resolution keeping its aspect ratio);
- individually customize background color of each wallpaper;
- multiple monitor suport - optionally use different wallpapers for each monitor

Pluses are the clean interface, clear functions and ease of usage, low resource consumption, several formats of image supported.

No rating of wallpapers to use more often or auto-crop function.

EDIT: Please refer to http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/software-suggestions/6476... for discussing this.

by MidnightCowboy on 18. February 2011 - 11:57  (66664)

Please note that the website rating for gphotoshow has one caution for vendor reliability and a couple of others are fairly close. This is almost certainly the result of either confusion or malicious manipulation. Wallpapers themselves are a favored transport medium for malware writers and maybe some users are confusing this with the program they use to change them?

I checked this program again today with Virus Total and it returned clean with zero hits.

Looks pretty cool :)

by Anupam on 18. February 2011 - 11:44  (66662)

Thanks for the suggestion. As for the first or second place, I think it should be left for the editor to decide.

by OtakuD (not verified) on 3. November 2010 - 16:02  (60718)

Really like wallpaper master but it does not handle HD/wide screens very well, if any1 can recommend me a wallpaper changer (like display fusion) that matches screen width and clips of the wallpaper height to make 4:3 fit on 16:9 then please message me! >.<

by Geert on 26. October 2010 - 14:09  (60197)

@The editor of this category:
Today I stumbled upon a nice free wallpaper changer @ http://www.walyk.com/
It supports showing a calendar and - something I require from a good wallpaper changer - it can exit after having changed your wallpaper.

by l.o. (not verified) on 14. October 2010 - 9:36  (59504)

I like having wallpapers on my screen and changing them from time to time. But I do not regard them so important that I want a wallpaper changer to take up system resources (run continuously). I also found it rather disturbing then the wallpaper suddenly changed with an automatic changer, I much prefer to get a new wallpaper exactly when I want.
With this in mind it is very difficult to find a proper wallpaper changer that meets my requirements, because developers seems to not bother about using system resources for a task of such little importance and instead make their programs much more advanced than really needed.
The only really simple wallpaper changer I have found is SDC. You create a list of wallpapers from any folder and from a desktop shortcut you can change wallpaper with a double click exactly at the time you want, and the program uses no system resources but for the split second it changes the wallpaper.
Sadly the homepage of SDC has gone down, but it is available here: http://home.c2i.net/freewaretips/rareware.html
I can confirm that it works well on Win XP (with admin rights), and it is a non-install.

by garrettnorris on 14. October 2010 - 19:54  (59538)

You may want to try a program called "Wallpaper Master" its located at the top of this page. It does not take up a whole lot of system resources, and you can set it to change the background on startup.

by Nathan (not verified) on 13. July 2010 - 20:53  (54219)

Are there any wallpaper changers that support Windows Vista and Windows 7 and that can be run silently? I know MuralPix is mentioned, but the article says it runs up to XP. I'd like to change the Desktop background at startup silently, and then terminate. No window, no taskbar icon, no nothing; just run at startup, and then close.

by keithc on 8. June 2011 - 17:11  (73499)

It may be the version of Win 7 I have, but it has a built-in wallpaper changer that works fine for me. You can set the change interval from 10 seconds (bit daft, but there you are) to 1 day, though only in fixed increments.

by fernman (not verified) on 24. May 2011 - 22:17  (72627)

No taskbar icon? Good point, Nathan! Every wallpaper changer I've tried has installed an icon in the notification area of my xp tray. Why do they insist on this? It should be an option. I just want a changer I can set and forget, I don't want an icon that I won't use cluttering up my tray, and it annoys me to see it there, unable to do anything about it short of uninstalling the program. On the few occasions I might want to change anything, I can always find it in my program files, or I could create a desktop shortcut to it.
If anyone knows of a changer [must be freeware] that doesn't have a tray icon, I'll be glad to hear of it.

by Anonymous4 (not verified) on 30. July 2010 - 5:54  (55168)

I've used Wallpaper Master on both Vista and 7 without any problems.

by Anupam on 14. July 2010 - 5:37  (54237)

There are other options listed too, besides MuralPix. Did you try them? Many of the software mentioned on the top have feature of auto close. That's the thing you want.

by phillj on 8. June 2010 - 7:37  (51609)

I've just tried John's background switcher as it was the only one reviewed to support multiple screens, and I'm blown away by how many options there are, for a start it can be set to unload after changing, thus saving on resources. Then if like me you have multiple monitors there are 4 different options on how this is handled.

I think the killer part is the option to download flickr streams and many other web sources including Google image search. If you use this to build montages you get a truly unique background every time, and even here you have settings for tiled(2x2 or thumbnails), postcard pile or Polariod pile. You set the background picture to colour, B&W, sepia, and more, you can even set the overlap of the different images.

This truly is a very powerful piece of software which very customisable and easy to use. It seems a shame this has only got a mention because it has a "calendar" option, for me this is the only choice and easily the best wallpaper changer I've ever used.

by nik (not verified) on 6. July 2011 - 2:17  (74834)

An opposing view on this....I can't stand this software! No obvious way to pic just one picture, and span it across multiple monitors. I don't want it to change. I don't want to add a whole folder. I want Display Fusion, but free and no nagging. LOL.

by syntax_error on 19. October 2010 - 5:26  (59724)

Thanks for taking the time to post. Tried it, love it.

by garrettnorris on 19. October 2010 - 10:15  (59732)

Your quite welcome. And I am glad that you found this material helpful. Dont forget that we have many categories here at Gizmos Freeware.

by rKAnjEL on 29. July 2010 - 18:36  (55147)

I was getting sick of trying different application and all had a flaw or another, but so JBS seems the best I tried.

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