Windows DreamScene - Animated Wallpaper for an Ultimate Extra

Totally cool desktop customization

Sunday, January 7, 2007 by Frogboy | Discussion: CES 2007

As Microsoft just announced, one of the first Ultimate Extras (extra features users of Windows Vista Ultimate can download) is a new animated wallpaper feature called "Windows DreamScene".

Windows DreamScene at a glance:

  • A Windows Vista Ultimate Extra
  • Run High-Definition Video as a Wallppaer
  • Uses .MPEG/.WMV as content

So what exactly is Windows DreamScene? And what are the extensions and enhancements coming out for it?

Windows DreamScene is an animated wallpaper technology developed by Microsoft that plays high-definition video content as your wallpaper. The key ability of it is that it can do so without using significant amounts of CPU (basically the decoding of the video is the only real CPU use involved).  The animation itself is run through the hardware accelerated DWM.

Software developer Stardock, makers of popular desktop enhancement utilities such as WindowBlinds, DesktopX, ObjectDock, etc. worked with Microsoft on the creation of content and has developed a number of tools to extend the feature set of Windows DreamScene. 

On the content side, Stardock Design created a number of 3D animated content for Microsoft including the default animated Aurora. Microsoft is holding back on releasing all the content they have until Spring 2007.  Stardock also added support for animated wallpapers on its popular community site at

With regards to the additonal tools and enhancements Stardock has released two of them.

The first enhancement is a new program called DeskScapes.  DeskScapes extends DreamScenes to support dynamic content (i.e. videos are pre-rendered).  With dynamic content, you could have your wallpaper change based on weather, time of day, or news.  Or you could just have some cool Direct3D "stuff" that runs (like one of those fish aquariums running as your wallpaper). 

Stardock DeskScapes at a glance:

  • Extends Windows DreamScene to support Dynamic/Live content
  • Adds support for the .Dream format
  • Displays author info/URL in the desktop background dialog
  • Supports triggers (change videos based on time, weather, etc.)
  • Is only available for Windows Vista Ultimate Users
  • Is free

The other key feature of DeskScapes is that it introduces the .DREAM format. This allows artists to protect their artwork.  The .DREAM format supports triggers (changing what is playing based on specific triggers) and it allows creators to insert their author info and a link to their website which we think is crucial to encourage artists to spend the time to create good animated wallpapers.

The other tool Stardock is working on is tentatively called Dream Maker. What it does is make it easy for authors to create .Dream files.  Its goal will be to help make it as easy as possible to create your own animated wallpapers.

To learn more about Windows Vista Ultimate, go to To download content to personalize your Windows Vista experience, visit

Get More Dreams (animated wallpapers): Dream.WinCustomize.Com


(1) Dyanmic content uses virtually no CPU, it's all on the video card. (2) DreamScene in action. (3) .Dream Files support author info.


First Previous Page 4 of 4 Next Last
Reply #61 Thursday, February 22, 2007 4:44 PM
Animated wallpaper as a concept is nothing new. Being able to do it without bringing your system to a crawl or interfering with how you work is.

Excellent point Frogboy DreamRender often rendered a blue screen or two!   
Robert Hill
Reply #62 Thursday, February 22, 2007 11:04 PM
Will this work on Win Ultimate 64 bit?
Reply #63 Sunday, February 25, 2007 12:44 PM
I REALLY LIKE THIS - using it now, however only to look at not to work with!! I've yet to find a wallpaper or dream scene to run at anything below 60% cpu (ms default) everything else max's my cpu out @ 100%!
AMD XP 3000+
1024mb memory
BFG 6800 Ultra - up to date drivers.

Does Vista (Ultimate) need a third party video decoder? or am I missing something.

My clean installation is 2 days old with the the following:
Vista Ultimate
Office 2003
Nero 7 Premium
SD Central and
Windowblinds 5.5 for now

(by the way, clifftop dreamscene is brilliant if only I could actually use it!)
Reply #64 Tuesday, February 27, 2007 10:32 AM
What about those of us that don't have Vista, let alone ultimate? I would like to be able to create a few animations myself, but how do I need to render them? Will there be a tutorial on which video compressions/codecs we should use. Do they need to be 800x600...1024x768 based or 4:3 & 16:9, or are they resolution independent?
Paul Laroque
Reply #65 Tuesday, February 27, 2007 1:21 PM
Myself I have Vista Ultimate and love the Dreamscene. So far I've been able to down clips from DeskScape and Stardock. But I'm having a heck of time finding the infamous Yosemite Lower Falls clip so I can download it and enjoy one more view! Anybody know how I can find it??
Reply #66 Wednesday, February 28, 2007 12:44 PM
it should be on your updates, if not then it is already installed automaticly, right click your desktop and go to props and then background you should see the option
Reply #67 Tuesday, March 13, 2007 9:35 AM
I've just installed DeskScapes and have the FutureWorld.Dream running, which frankly I love, but when I attempted to install the equally awesome Azenis2 skin, which I feel is the perfect partner for the FW Dream, I get an error message saying I need Aero as my skin?

So can I only have one or the other - either a .Dream background or a WindowBlind?
Neil Banfield
Reply #68 Wednesday, March 14, 2007 3:10 AM

SENTiNEL: It sounds like you have a very old version of WB running.

You need to install the release build of 5.5 on Vista.

Reply #69 Wednesday, March 14, 2007 3:55 AM
Mr. Banfield, Sir

I had the latest WindowBlinds 5.5 Beta installed, but see that it's released today so I'll see if that makes a difference - I also noted that the beta wasn't activated initially properily, but activating it didn't solve the problem, maybe it's as much to do with my GFX cards and their drivers (2x nVidia 6800GT, 256Mb RAM), I'm going to fire up SDC once I'm done downloading the Vista Updates.

Reply #70 Wednesday, March 21, 2007 5:21 PM
Hey can i install it to Home Premium? is it possible? or what can i do?
Island Dog
Reply #71 Wednesday, March 21, 2007 5:27 PM

Hey can i install it to Home Premium? is it possible? or what can i do?

DreamScene is an Ultimate Extra, therefore it requires Vista Ultimate.

Reply #72 Wednesday, March 28, 2007 9:23 AM
So Let me get this strait...The only way to get dream scene, or scape, or whatever, is to by the ultimate version of Vista. The business version, for businesses, with business people, who use there PC's for business and not the leisure version for lie surly people who like lie surly options such as dynamic wallpapers. All for the low...low... price of $400. give or take.

P.S. I don't care if I spelled strait correctly or not.
Reply #73 Wednesday, March 28, 2007 11:07 AM

DreamScene is an Ultimate Extra, therefore it requires Vista Ultimate.

It's My Secret
Reply #74 Friday, June 8, 2007 3:04 AM
It's not worth it kids.. relax, your not missing out on anything. It is real cool at first, but then you realize that this stuff just doesnt work in the real world. It WILL slow down your rig no matter what you are using. I am using 4 monitors now, and it wont even run. When I was using two, it would eat at least 40-50% of my CPU, and let's face it, that is good for like a day or two, before you turn it off. YAY for moving wallpaper, but please, realize that you will NOT use this.

AMD x2 6000+
4 gigs corsair
dual evga 8800GTX
dual 22" Acers, and dual 19" Viewsonics...

NOT WORTH IT. Runs like hell, waste of precious CPU.... trust in that.
Reply #75 Thursday, March 27, 2008 5:22 PM
on my pc it also eats 40-50% of the CPU, AND it isn't able to open other .dream -files than the ones that came with the program-.- AMD 64 X2 6000+, 4 GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce 8500GT 512/1791 MB, Sony Bravia KDL-40W2000 - 40" Full HD

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