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DeskScapes (Vista)

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This chapter explains how to use DeskScapes with Windows Vista.

After installing DeskScapes, locate the icon on the Start Menu. Click on Start, then All Programs, Stardock folder, click on the Object Desktop folder to open it, and click on the "DeskScapes" icon to run it.

Icon on Start Menu.

DeskScapes displays a list of four options, including: About Stardock DeskScapes, Choose an Animated Desktop, Add/Remove Animated Desktops and Get more Animated Desktops.

DeskScapes menu.

About Stardock DeskScapes

Clicking the "About Stardock DeskScapes" menu option opens a box which displays the version of DeskScapes (i.e. v2.50 (#106) for Windows Vista), the copyright information, and a list of installed files with dates and version numbers. This information is helpful if you are having trouble and need to communicate (i.e. email) Stardock Support.

About screen - displays information about DeskScapes.

Clicking the blue link will "Copy information to clipboard" so you can paste it into an email for Support. Click OK or X to close the About screen.

Choose an Animated Desktop

This is the heart of DeskScapes, where you can apply a Dream (animated wallpaper) to your computer desktop. Clicking "Choose an Animated Desktop" will open the Windows Personalization - Desktop Background window. Initially, this will display a list of five dreams (i.e. Bouncing Box Sample, Desktop Earth, Grassy Field, Water Dream, Watercolor Dream). The first one in the list "Get More Dreams" is not a dream, but a link to open your web browser and display the WinCustomize (WC) web site to download additional, mostly free dreams. You need to be connected to the Internet to view this web site.

Desktop Background - DeskScapes Animated Wallpaper.

After the Personalization > Desktop Background window opens, you can close the DeskScapes menu if desired. This will not affect selecting a Dream.

Tip: If you do not want to use the DeskScapes menu, you can go right to the Windows Personalization - Desktop Background window, which can be opened in a few ways. Windows allows multiple ways to do things, with the following being two common routes:

  • Click on the Start Menu, then Control Panel, then under "Appearance and Personalization" click on "Change desktop background". (If you are viewing the Control Panel in the "Classic View" mode, click on "Personalization", then "Desktop Background".)
  • Alternately, right-click on the open desktop and select "Personalize", then "Desktop Background".

The "Picture Location" will be set to "DeskScapes Animated Wallpapers" in the pull-down menu. (You can click this menu and change it from DeskScapes to a Windows Samples Videos, Public Videos or non-animated type of wallpaper or other traditional background, such as a solid color, etc..) Clicking the Browse button allows you to locate and select a Dream or other background video/picture in another folder. Once located, click on the desired file and click Open. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)

Picture Location

Under the Picture Location is the list of installed dreams. Initially, DeskScapes comes with the five dreams, plus a "Get More Dreams" link to WinCustomize. By moving your cursor and stopping over a dream, a pop-up box will display information about the dream, such as: Dream Filename/Title (i.e. Desktop Earth.Dream), Type (i.e. Animated Wallpaper), Size (i.e. 3.58 MB), and Date Modified (i.e. 11/17/2008 8:30 PM).

Pop-up box displays information about the dream.

You will also notice as you click on each dream, the title of the Dream (i.e. Desktop Earth) & Author (Stardock Design) appear at the bottom of the window.

Title & Author of Dream appears in lower, left corner.

As you single-click on a dream, you will see your desktop wallpaper (background) change to that dream. This allows you to preview each dream, before clicking OK to keep that dream. When you click on a dream, you may notice a number of options appear near the bottom of the window. The options vary for each dream. Dynamic dreams typically have different options from video-based dreams.

Video Dream Options

For video-based dreams, the options may include "How should the picture be positioned?" with standard Windows options for wallpaper. Simply click the desired position (i.e. radio button) and the image will change your desktop immediately. The positioning options include:

  • Fit to screen - stretch the image to fit the screen, which may change the aspect ratio (i.e. image may look distorted).
  • Tile - if the image does not fill the screen, then repeat it, left to right and down and across to fill the screen. The image maybe cropped on the right side & bottom.
  • Center - place the image in the center of the screen, leaving the sides, top & bottom with a default wallpaper or the last non-animated wallpaper you selected.
  • Fit to screen keeping aspect ratio - this will increase or decrease the size of the image, while maintaining the aspect ratio. The aspect ratio keeps the image from being distorted as it is resized.
  • Fit to screen with cropping - this will resize the image to fill the screen, allowing parts of the image to basically overflow the sides of the screen, in effect cropping (i.e. cutting off) parts of the image.

Picture position.

An additional option which may be available is "Use internal player" (unchecked by default) which allows you to use the DeskScapes internal video player vs. the Windows player. This option is only available if you have Windows DreamScene™ installed on Vista Ultimate. Check the box to select the DeskScapes video internal player, uncheck to use the Windows player. If Windows is having trouble playing the video dream, try checking this box to use the DeskScapes player.

Use internal player.

An additional setting available for Triggered Dreams is "Choose a specific video from set" which is a blue link located under the picture position thumbnails. Triggered Video dreams include multiple videos that start at different times of the day. Clicking this link opens a "Triggered Dream Settings" dialog box that allows you to select which video plays or let it "Automatically select which video to play (Default)".

Triggered Dream Settings.

To change the video, under the option "Always play a specific video from this Dream" (selected by default) click on the pull-down menu and select the desired video. Click OK to apply the change. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)

Dynamic Dream Options

Dynamic dreams may offer two options: "Dynamic wallpaper settings" and "Performance settings". These options (if available) are located under the list of available dreams, in the lower, left corner of the window. Clicking either will open a dialog box.

Dynamic dream options - in the lower, left corner.

Dynamic Wallpaper Settings

Each dynamic wallpaper may offer options to change how it works, however not all dreams may give you the option the change the settings. If you click on a dream and do not see this link appear, it is not available. For dreams that do offer it, each will be different.

The first dream is a Bouncing Box, which shows a rotating, bouncing box with the Stardock logo and name on the sides. The settings allow you to change the size & speed of the cube by moving the Slider sliders. Changing the box size or speed will dynamically change the box on your desktop as you move the slider. Click OK to accept the changes. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)

Bouncing Box Dream. Bouncing Box Settings

The Desktop Earth dream shows the day & night cycle of the planet as it rotates, based on your system clock. The settings allow you to toggle the earth from revolving (on by default). Uncheck the box Unchecked next to "Revolving Earth" and the earth will stop spinning. With the box checked you can adjust the "Rotation Speed" fast or slow of the earth by moving the Slider slider. Clicking Restore Defaults will return the settings to the default positions when the dream was first installed. Click OK to save changes. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)

Desktop Earth Dream.
Desktop Earth settings

The Water Dream is a video-based dream, with water droplets splashing on a pool of claim water above a sandy bottom. The settings offer a number of options that affect the water surface (i.e. Time Between Drips, Drip Size), background (i.e. Ground Image) and Tiling of the background image. After changing anything, click OK to apply the changes. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)

Water Dream.
Water Dream Settings.
  • Time Between Drips - the "Less" time, the more water drops splash in the water to make waves. The "More" time, the less drops and less activity.
  • Drip Size - selecting "Small" drops makes the water less active, while the larger you make the drops the more active the water surface becomes.
  • Reflection Image - grayed out by default (no changes allowed). To change the Reflection Image (i.e. Clouds) you need to purchase "Liquid Dream" from Stardock Design ( which adds more options for water related dreams like this one.
  • Ground Image - allows you to change the background image from the default (Sand) image to anything you want. Click the pull-down menu under "Ground Image", then select <Browse...> which opens a Windows Explorer type window you can use to browse your computer for a suitable image. After you find the image, click on it, then click Open. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)

Ground Image pull-down menu.

  • Tiling - allows you to select how often the background image (i.e. Sand) is repeated on the screen, Less or More. Move the Slider slider to play with what looks best to you.

Tiling of Sand - default setting.Tiling of Sand (default setting).

Tiling of Sand - set to highest setting (far right).Tiling of Sand - highest setting (far right),
notice more vertical ripples in sand.

To restore all settings to the way they were when the dream was installed, click Default. Click OK to apply the changes. (Click Cancel or X to keep the settings the way they were.)

The Watercolor Dream settings allow you to change how fast the screen is drawn by moving the Slider (slider), slower or faster. The change can be seen as you move the slider. Click OK to apply the changes. Clicking Default will return the slider to the way the dream was when installed. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)

Watercolor Dream.
Watercolor Dream settings.

Performance Settings

The "Performance Settings" allow you to adjust the balance between quality and performance on your computer. This affects all dynamic dreams, not just the currently selected dream. At the top of the dialog box is "Your Video Card" which displays the brand, model, memory and number of monitors. To the right of that is the Vista Experience Index (i.e. 5.7).

Performance Settings for dynamic dreams.

Below "Your Video Card" is the Slider slider for adjusting the "Quality Setting", between "Best Quality" and "Best Performance". Under that is "Your Current Setting" which displays the result of where the slider is positioned. If you click the link for level of quality (i.e. Top Quality) to the right of "Recommendation for this computer", the slider Slider will move to the recommended setting.

Finally, there are two check boxes at the bottom which allow you to adjust settings if using a laptop on battery power.

Automatically pause when on battery power - (checked, default) means this will pause the animated wallpaper (dream) when your laptop is unplugged and goes on battery power. Uncheck this box to run the dream regardless of battery power.

Notify me when pausing due to being on battery power - (checked, default) means you will be notified when a dream is paused, because you unplugged the laptop and running it on battery power. Uncheck the box not to be notified. After making the desired changes, click OK to apply. (Click Cancel or X to abort.)

Pausing a Dream

If you ever want to pause the animation of a dream, right-click on the open desktop (away from icons or program windows) and select "Pause DreamScene". If you do not have Windows Vista Ultimate with DreamScene™ installed, you will see "Pause DeskScapes".

Pause DreamScene

The dream will pause until you open the menu again and select "Play DreamScene" (or "Resume DeskScapes").

Play DreamScene - resume animation.

Add/Remove Animated Desktops

From the DeskScapes menu, clicking "Add/Remove Animated Desktops" opens a Windows Explorer type window. This allows you to add new dreams (double-click to apply), remove ones you do not want (select & press delete key) and manage the dreams in the folders on your computer.

To add new dreams that you downloaded or have in other folders, use Explorer to move them to C:\user-data\<user login>\Dreams folder. (C: is the default drive, <user name> is the name you logged on as and the name of the folder where your Documents are stored.) Double-clicking on a dream in a different folder will apply it to your desktop, but will not add it to your Desktop Background window which lists installed dreams. New dreams must be moved to the above folder.

Get More Animated Desktops

From the DeskScapes menu, clicking "Get More Animated Desktops" will launch your web browser and display the WinCustomize web site for Dreams. You must be connected to the internet to view this site. This will display information and links to new, popular and premium dreams for download. You can also join in discussions in the forum, upload a dream you created and want to share with the community and more.

Additional Tips

On the DeskScapes menu, clicking the unhide Down arrow arrow next to "See additional tips" extends the bottom of the window to reveal tips. To hide the tips, click the Hide tips. arrow.

Helpful Tips.