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.
Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide
Wallpaper 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 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 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.
As 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?
Wally 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.
If 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, and scan for new wallpaper from folders.
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 has no slideshow feature.
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.
You might want to check out these articles too:
- More Than 30 Places To Look For Free Wallpapers
- The Best Free Screen Savers
- Best Free Virtual Desktop Manager
John's Background Switcher
Wallpaper Cycler Lite
EvJO Wallpaper Changer
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