Windows

How to Use an Animated GIF as Your Desktop Wallpaper With Rainmeter

Without a doubt, Animated GIFs have become the lifeblood of internet culture. Nowadays, a typical online feed contains hundreds of funny, informative, or adorable GIFs.

Did you know that you could bring your love of GIFs to your desktop? There are different ways to create GIF wallpapers in Windows, but using the popular Windows program named Rainmeter, you can place as many GIFs on your desktop as you desire.

Prerequisites for Making GIFs With Rainmeter

Rainmeter is truly a remarkable desktop customization software. There are numerous things you can do, such as creating your own desktop skins or even making custom desktop icons using Rainmeter.

Before proceeding directly to the steps, you’ve to make sure that you have the following:

This guide is organized into sections to assist you in following along. You just need to follow the steps sequentially to avoid any errors in the end results.

Setting Up the INI File

An INI file is a text-based file that tells the software how to work and what settings to use. An INI file in Rainmeter links your images to the software and then animates them to create an animated GIF effect on your desktop wallpaper.

To begin, you’ve to first create a unique INI file for Rainmeter by following these steps:

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1. Navigate to the root Rainmeter directory, which is located in C:\Users\[PC Name]\Documents\Rainmeter\Skins. Within this directory, create a new folder with a name of your choice, for example, GIF.

2. Within this folder, create your INI file. Do this by right-clicking within your GIF directory and selecting New > Text Document.

3. Once done, open the newly created text file and paste the following code:

Here are a few things to note about this piece of code:

  • ImageName: You’ve to replace [GIF Folder Name] with whatever name you gave the folder containing your GIF.
  • Formula: The formula will load the number of images you specify for your GIF. It is up to you to change this parameter from [*] to the amount required for your GIF, with one added (34 images require an entry of 35).
  • W and H: W stands for width and H, for height. This will control the size of your GIF on your desktop background.
  • PreserveAspectRatio: It’ll prevent your image from becoming distorted. Enabling this parameter will allow you to change either your W or H parameters and still preserve the full image.

In general, some GIFs may have as few as 10 frames, while others may span hundreds of frames. This number is simple to check, and further explanation will be provided in the following section.

Note: Don’t confuse Formula with Update, which controls the playback speed of your GIF.

4. Now, save your text document, name it something simple, and include the added .ini extension. Naming your file with the INI extension, coffee.ini for example will allow Rainmeter to recognize your file.

Modifying the GIF File for Rainmeter

With Rainmeter, you can’t directly set a GIF file as wallpaper. Instead, you’ll have to first split your GIF file into different parts and then use the parts with Rainmeter.

To configure Rainmeter to use your preferred GIF file, follow these steps carefully:

  1. Create a folder within your GIF folder named @Resources. This folder will hold the images linked to your INI file.
  2. Within the newly created folder, you’ve to create another folder. Name this folder something pertaining to your GIF for easy location. For example, we’ve named the folder containing our GIF files coffee.
  3. Finally, place your desired GIF into this folder.

Now that you have a GIF to work with, you have to use a splitting program that compiles your GIF into an assortment of single GIF images. These are the images you will use to create your animated desktop wallpaper.

Splitting Your GIF File

After performing all the above-mentioned steps, now you’ll need to split your GIF. This process is simple and can be automated using Ezgif.

1. Visit Ezgif.com and upload your GIF file. The Splitter function will allow you to upload and split your GIF into individual GIF images.

2. Once you’ve split your image, download the ZIP file containing your images and move them to the appropriate GIF folder.

3. Unzip the file. You should now have your original GIF file, a zipped file, and your individual images.

4. Delete both the original GIF and the zipped file, leaving behind only your individual images.

5. Now, rename your GIF files. Your INI file determines the images entered into Rainmeter. The INI script supports images named frame_[ImageNumberCalc].gif, which translates to files named frame_1.gif, frame_2.gif, frame_3.gif, and so on.

This works well for the automatic format that EZGIF uses for its images. There are plenty of methods to batch rename all files at once, the easiest of which is the Bulk Rename Utility (BRU).

Batch Renaming the Split Files

Here are some quick steps to assist you in batch renaming the split files in Windows:

  1. Open the Batch Rename Utility software you’ve installed earlier.
  2. Copy and paste your images and select them all within the program.
  3. Now, increase the Last n parameter under Remove to 12. This will remove the end of your files and preserve the frame_[Number] format.
  4. Click Rename on the bottom right-hand corner of BRU to apply.
  5. Finally, change the Formula parameter in your original INI file. Replace [*] with however many frames your GIF includes, plus one.

Activating Your GIF in Rainmeter

You’re really close to the final steps of applying your animated wallpaper. Follow the below-mentioned steps to activate your GIF in Rainmeter:

  1. Open your Manage Rainmeter window and select Refresh all.
  2. Locate and double-click the INI file for your GIF, and it should appear on your desktop. If you want to show more than one GIF on your desktop, make a copy of your root GIF file and change your files as needed.
  3. Once it appears on your desktop wallpaper, don’t forget to reboot once.

Although this skin requires CPU usage, it will not affect general PC performance. If you decide GIFs aren’t right for you, you can create parallax desktop wallpapers with Rainmeter instead.

GIF-ify Your Desktop With Rainmeter

We’re sincere advocates of everything Rainmeter. Using a little bit of know-how, there’s no limit to what Rainmeter can do for your desktop experience—even creating live interactive wallpapers.

No doubt, there are other ways to achieve the same results, but using Rainmeter gives you an edge over others. It is an all-rounder and works as an all-in-one software to boost your overall experience.

It’s not only a GIF or a static wallpaper; you can even download different skins from the internet and install them on your desktop with one click.

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