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How to use VLC as a video wallpaper - Easy to DO - All GUI

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* EDIT *

I have just found a much easier way of doing this but the results are not as good *

Tools -> Preferences -> Show Settings - ALL -> Video -> Check "Enable wallpaper mode"


My directions below will do the same thing but will reduce the open tasks from 2 to 1 (looks MUCH better) and will also disable left-clicking, which makes it react more like a wallpaper should. If you just wanna try it out quickly to find out if this is for you then do the above steps, and if you like it then feel free to do the steps below.

* Original Post *

This will allow you to use VLC as a live player that acts like a wallpaper. While active the player will hide behind windows and not react to left clicking. You could have different live wallpapers playing simultaneously on every desktop if you like. You will be able to play video files, DVD's, streams... as a live wallpaper.

You could play a relaxing video like this: as a wallpaper if you'd like. Here's what mine looks like (granted you won't see the moving image as it's a picture):

I must warn you that this is NOT a true wallpaper, so it will not have all the properties you might expect... VLC will appear in the tasks where the other applications are. I'd like to remove this and just have it in the systray if anyone has any ideas, but so far the "Start VLC with only a systray icon" option does not seem to work as I'd like it to. As well, I have not found a way to get widgets to appear ontop of the image.


1. Open VLC and adjust preferences

Tools -> Preferences -> Click "Reset Preferences"
Tools -> Preferences -> Show settings Simple / All (Left bottom of screen) -> Click "All"

* A new menu pops up *

Interface -> Main Interface -> Qt -> Check "Start in minimal view" and uncheck "Show controller in fullscreen mode" and "Show notification popup on track change"
Playlist -> Check "Repeat all" if you'd like the video to keep repeating.
Click "Save" on the bottom right of the screen.

2. Change window properties for VLC

Press Alt-F3 (Remember this button for later reconfig or changing back!) -> Advanced -> Special Window Settings -> Geometry -> Check "Fullscreen" and select "Force". Check the box to the right of it. You have to check this blank box or it will NOT hold the settings!

Select "Preferences" -> Check "Keep below" and select "Force". Check the box to the right of it. You have to check this blank box or it will NOT hold the settings!

3. Quit and re-open VLC

I"m not sure why, but it must be reset for these settings to take effect.

Right Click to get a menu (Left clicking is disabled as it should be in a wallpaper). Click "Play" and select the file/dvd/stream.. you'd like to play.


At this point you should see a fullscreen video pop up BEHIND your open tasks and the panel.

To automatically run at startup:

Run at startup: Launch 'Peronal Settings' -> 'Startup and Shutdown' (System Administration) -> Click 'Add Program' and select 'VLC'. 'Properties for vlc desktop' -> Click 'Application' -> Under 'Command' enter: vlc %U /home/user/Videos/TheVideoYouWannaRun ... click 'OK'

* If you've screwed something up *
Perhaps you'd messed around and window settings for VLC are stuck. Open the application "Personal Settings" -> Window Behavior (Workspace Appearance and Behavior) -> Window Rules -> Delete the settings for VLC. This should fix it. I lost abit of hair trying to fix it myself. :<

If anyone has anything to add or has found an easier way to do this please comment below. I'd be interested to try it.
Registered Member
You may have read a post I wrote here some time ago about using VLC to play wallpaper. below is a quick and nasty, but very simple method I use. In some ways it is better than using 'wallpaper mode', although I use both. But this is my original method and I often revert to it because it is more flexible inthat I can force VLC to always open on a particular monitor.

It works with a few clicks on the title bar. I created icons on a panel that open particular video clips for particular moods. I can still scroll volume, and double clicking on the video drops it back to maximized so I can move it if I want.

It might be handy to know that you can also set a web browser as your wallpaper this way, and I wrote this way back before I discovered wallpaper mode in VLC to tell someone how I used to set VLC to someone who wanted to do the browser thing.

It works with almost any program.

1 - Right click the title bar of your browser.
2 - Choose 'More Actions'
3 - Choose 'Keep Below Others'
4 - Choose 'More Actions' again
5 - Choose 'Fullscreen'
6 - Read the warning that tells you you probably won't get back out of full screen.
7 - Take note of the 'ALT+F3' shortcut to get out of full screen.
8 - Click ok.
9 - See point 6. Make a text file in /home to remind you.

To get out of Full Screen use ALT+F3 Choose 'More Actions' then get rid of the 'tick' next to 'Fullscreen'. You might want to get rid of 'Keep below others' as well.

I had been using this method to set VLC to play videos as wallpaper for years, but it now has a built in "Wallpaper Mode".

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