Over the years here at TechRepublic, we have shown you many different ways to customize and personalize your Windows Desktop, especially when it comes to desktop wallpaper. While most of those tips serve no real practical purpose, they are wildly popular and can offer a stress-relieving respite from the grim news so prevalent lately.
One type of desktop wallpaper seems to draw more interest than any other: animated. With that in mind, I want to introduce a downloadable application for Windows 7 that I have come across. It is called the Okozo Desktop.
Download and installThe Okozo Desktop application is available several places on the Web, but I will point you to the appropriate page on Download.com (Figure A).
Download the Okozo Desktop.
The application is completely free, but it does require Direct X components and a C++ runtime app. If you do not have those components already, the installer will download and install them for you. You will have to accept server terms and conditions by clicking check boxes and the OK button, but eventually the Okozo Desktop executable will be installed in your program directory.Warning: As the install was taking place, I had to uncheck a box to prevent a browser toolbar from being installed. I really hate browser toolbars, and I know many of you do too.
Double-click the executable to start the application. It will load in the background, and there will be a control icon in the system tray. You have a few settings you can change to suit your preferences, including whether to start the Okozo Desktop automatically during Windows boot.
Get animated wallpapersBefore anything interesting can happen, however, you will need to download some animated desktop wallpaper. The Okozo website (Figure B) has some good free selections to choose from and is a good place to start. I downloaded one of the clocks and one of the lights wallpapers.
The Okozo website has free animated desktop wallpaper.Each animated wallpaper has its own set of controls that can be reached by right-clicking the system tray icon. I tried the clock first — pretty cool and very practical (Figure C).
Always know the time.But, as nice as the clock wallpaper is, I prefer the Rainbow Lights (Figure D).
Look at these Rainbow Lights.
Word of warning
Be careful when you are browsing the Okozo website — apparently the developers are very fond of browser toolbars. Be careful that what you are saying OK to is actually what you want and not, yet, another toolbar. As far as I can tell on my test machine, there are no serious ill effects from the Okozo Desktop, but I have not thoroughly tested it. If you run into problems, we'd all appreciate a heads-up in the discussion forum.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.