Desktop Takeover: place images or image “channels” on your desktop


Desktop Takeover is a free program that can place images on your desktop wallpaper either as individual images or “channels” of images that refer to a combination of pre-set list of images, folder(s), or URLs.

Channels and background wallpapers can be individually set to rotate/shuffle at a user defined time interval.

A friend of mine thinks that the 40 hour workweek is way too long. “You know why people have pictures of their children and families all around their desk and walls?”, he asks, “it is to remind ourselves why we are spending so much of our time at these jobs, that we willingly enter into this modern day slavery for the sake of our children and loved ones”.

I’m not sure about the extent that I would agree with my friend’s assessment, but I must say putting pictures of my children on my desktop has a certain appeal to me (see screenshot). In any case if you are looking for a way to easily add photos to your wallpaper (whether of your loved ones or anything else) then this program is for you.

Here are more notes on this one:

  • Add images or channels: you can add any number of images or channels. Channels differ from images in that they rotate multiple images within a specified number of minutes. Channels can point to a number of user-specified images or to folders or to a URL (or a combination of those). The URLs in questions are made available on the program home page (not Flickr, Picasa web albums, etc), and include live webcams in several locations.
  • Size and placement: all images and channels can be moved and resized freely anywhere on screen (including overlapping images). This can be done from the program dialog or, if you click on the image itself (and hold for a few seconds) you can resize the image straight from the desktop.
  • Shuffling images: both the background as well as any on-screen channels can be set to rotate images either randomly or in sequence. Imagine the possibilities: you can tile your desktop with several channels, each shuffling its images after a set time period (number of minutes before the images change can be set independently for each channel).
  • Image borders: can be set to no border, setting the edges of the images themselves as transparent borders, displaying a simple narrow band (in any color) as a border, or a combination of the last two.
  • Saving your layout: you can create multiple layouts (i.e. a combination of background images and foreground images and/or channels). You can then load any channel at will.
  • Memory consumption: approx 38 megs, it looks like. I deal breaker for many readers, I know (check out Minimem, which can help in this respect).
  • Sharing: you can upload your layout to the Desktop Takeover web site to make it available for others to download and use. Alternately you can browse the site for layouts to download that you may be interested in.
  • Multiple monitors: are supported, with the ability to create a layout for each monitor. Haven’t tested this personally though.

Wish list:

  • The ability to use Flickr, Picasa web albums, or other mainstream image sharing services as channels (in addition to the current images URLs on the program’s home page).
  • Bugs: I have found that once you set a layout to display transparent borders the program will not go back even if you disable that it in the settings (I was forced to re-create the layout to get rid of this).
  • Transparent images: there is a “transparent images” checkbox in the settings but it does not seem to do anything. My images did not become transparent when I checked this and played with the associated transparency slider.

The verdict: an interesting program that I am certain will appeal to many users (just as I know it will not appeal to many others). This is a freeware program that does exactly the job that it promises and does it very well, although in the relatively high memory use is a drawback, and the interface and general look-and-feel is a little clunky when it comes to messing around with settings. If placing images on screen turns you out then try this one by all means.

Version Tested: 1.0 beta build 99

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista.

The program page no longer exists, but you can download ver. 1.0 beta build 99 of the program here.