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Windows 7 tips and tweaks

Customize your animated desktop wallpaper

There is a nice feature in Windows 7 that enables you to automatically change the wallpaper at set time intervals, such as every hour, every day or even every minute. You can choose the photos or backgrounds to use and it's possible to show backgrounds bundled with Windows or your own photos and holiday snapshots.

To set this up you right click on the desktop and select Personalize from the menu. Click Desktop Background at the bottom of the window and then choose a picture location, such as your Pictures Library or a folder of photos on the disk drive. Tick the ones you want and then select the time interval to change the desktop wallpaper from every 10 seconds to once a day.

If you do this you will find that one image fades into another using a simple transition effect. The speed of this transition looks like it is fixed and there isn't an obvious way to change it. However, the setting is in the registry and you can easily customise it with the registry editor.

Click Start and type regedit into the search box. Hit Return and the registry editor will open. In the left-hand pane navigate the folders to get to

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Personalization\Desktop Slideshow

In the right-hand pane are some values and Interval is the number of seconds that each image remains on the desktop before it is changed. The number in brackets is the time in decimal in milliseconds, so if you set the wallpaper to change every 10 seconds then a value of 10000 is stored in Interval. It is possible to enter your own values and get ones that aren't in the drop-down list of options we saw earlier. Just double click Interval, select Decimal and enter the number of milliseconds - 1000 is one second and 3600000 is one hour (60 x 60 x 1000).

Right click an empty space in the right-hand pane and select New, DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name it AnimationDuration. Double click it afterwards, set the base to decimal and then enter the number of milliseconds for the duration of the fade from one desktop image to another. Try 3000 for a slow three second transition or 500 for a quick half second change. (Close the registry editor and reselect the animated wallpaper again to see the effect.)

Windows 7 wallpaper

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