Windows optimize

Quick Tip: Animate your Windows 7 desktop wallpaper

A free application called Okozo Desktop can transform your static Windows 7 desktop wallpaper into a mesmerizing animation.

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 install

The Okozo Desktop application is available several places on the Web, but I will point you to the appropriate page on Download.com (Figure A).

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 wallpapers

Before 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.

Figure B

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).

Figure C

Always know the time.
But, as nice as the clock wallpaper is, I prefer the Rainbow Lights (Figure D).

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.

Also read:

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

21 comments
tgfj
tgfj

I have to agree, this is not up to the usual TechRep standard and although it works sporadically it is not consistent. The site is available and items download without any hassle but most fail to run and crash explorer. It doesn't show in the program list to remove but there is an uninstaller in the program files folder and it removed everything without any fuss, removal surveys or anything else.

james.vandamme
james.vandamme

...years ago. Ten minutes was all I could take of it.

xanthmaster
xanthmaster

I have Windows 7 Pro on my laptop. Trying to install it crashed my system... the blue screen of death - and I thought those days were gone.

David A. Pimentel
David A. Pimentel

Runaway from this sort of crapware that requires other toolbars and widgets, which are unnecessary for the desired software. You have been warned.

Gisabun
Gisabun

Oh what's the point. Do you ever really see your desktop to notice it [before the screen saver comes on] with all your apss and folders open?

plbuch
plbuch

I also got an error message stating that Explorer couldn't connect to that site.

mchldpy
mchldpy

now the site seems down. maybe there is somebody watching over me... whew.

carl.frank.wilson
carl.frank.wilson

I downloaded the 64 bit version and all it did was crash Windows Explorer. I didn't see a single animated desktop.

xangpow
xangpow

How is this differant from the animated desktop that come with Win 7?

BrianBland
BrianBland

This sounded very interesting so I installed it, it didn't work and it took me three hours to delete it, the delete provided by the company doesn't work, it didn't show up as a program that had been loaded so I couldn't delete it through control panel or with Revo Uninstaller. I finally went into regedit and deleted all the programs. It's adware, don't go near it, bad recommendation in my opinion.

wompai
wompai

Like any other of these fancy gasdgets, it will use up system resources. How much does this consume?

gmaran23
gmaran23

See the second screenshot (Figure B) of okozo.com. That advertisement from Popular screensavers. What do you guys think about that? Isn't that an adware. When i worked at a tech support a couple of years back (Vista was new in the market), this popular screensavers along with mywebsearch plagued almost all computers that called in for tech support.

Murfski-19971052791951115876031193613182
Murfski-19971052791951115876031193613182

I like it, but unless I have my working application maximized, the movement can be a bit distracting. As for customizing the desktop, I add a couple of gadgets, change the wallpaper, and move the icons around. Like Palmetto says, most of my users don't do that much.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I don't particularly like fancy desktop customizations, but I kind of like the simplicity of the Okozo Desktop. Do you customize your desktop? Perhaps more importantly, do your users customize their desktop?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It has an automatic wallpaper changer. As I understand it, the Okozo wallpapers themselves are animated - squiggles wiggle, dots bounce, etc.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I just used the uninstall program that came with the Okozo Desktop and it worked fine. They do have some links to grey software on their site that should be avoided. And I did warn you about it more than once.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Oh, it does use resources, but not as much as I thought it would.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

and most of my users don't go that far. I usually have apps tiled or maximized across several virtual desktop sessions and rarely see the desktop itself.

xangpow
xangpow

Ah ok then yeah that would be differant. But it looks like that might be a fake site. The other users cant seem to reach it. Oh well.

wompai
wompai

I'll give it a try. Not that I'm short on resources (with 8GB of RAM), but still I'd like to now these things.