In 2007, Microsoft introduced “Windows DreamScene” into Windows Vista. This feature made it possible to enjoy a video clip, and not just static images, as your desktop wallpaper. Although users loved it, DreamScene was only available as part of the “Ultimate Extras” program—and only those users with Windows Vista Ultimate could access the feature. To make matters worse for DreamScene fans, Microsoft eventually abandoned the Ultimate Extras idea altogether and simply “cut” this feature from Windows 7.
See some early footage from when Microsoft demonstrated Windows Vista DreamScene in early 2007.
Some highly creative Windows enthusiasts took matters into their own hands and created a small (and free!) tool that you can use to emulate Windows DreamScene on your Windows 7 PC!
DreamScene Activator 1.1
All you need to enable DreamScene on Windows 7 is the “DreamScene Activator” which you can grab from Door2Windows. Just launch the tool and hit “Enable DreamScene”:
This will re-launch your Windows Explorer, desktop, and taskbar. From this point on, you’ll be able to use any video (in WMV or MPG format) as the animated DreamScene wallpaper. Just right-click on the desired video and select “Set as Desktop Background”.
Does this slow down my PC?
Playing videos in the background takes up a certain amount of your CPU and, depending on the video you choose and the power of your processor, you might only be looking at a barely noticeable difference of a few percentage points of total CPU time. However, when choosing a larger video like a 1080p video, your PC may continually access 10–20 percent of your CPU, which is something you’ll want to avoid. Not only will it reduce system performance, but it’ll also keep your CPU fan spinning a lot faster. So be careful what video you choose and keep an eye on total CPU usage!
Where do I get great-looking DreamScenes?
Videos as desktop wallpaper sound great in theory, but it’s actually pretty hard to find really good clips. First, you need to make sure that they aren’t distracting—so the rock concert you recorded last year may not the best choice! It also needs to loop endlessly, otherwise you’ll see a “hitch” every 30 seconds or so when the video starts again from the beginning, which can be irritating. Over the past couple of days, I picked some of the best DreamScenes—they’re cool to look at and aren’t distracting. With these types of video desktops, you can focus on your work and not on your desktop wallpaper—but I don’t blame you if want to stare at some of these scenes and “dream” away for a couple of minutes.
Here are my top picks:
Neat concept: several high-resolution clips from “Crysis” (Hint: pick the Megaupload link)
There are literally dozens of great-looking DreamScenes out there. Here are a few more galleries to check out:
Hint: If your desktop icon labels become unreadable after you’ve applied a DreamScene, just download and run this small patch from SevenForums.com. If that doesn’t work, check out the solutions here, then re-apply the DreamScene. Voilà!