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A Hack To Keep Your Desktop Fresh

desktop

File this one under the “uber-geek” tag (You know you have that tag somewhere out there).
I’m one who likes to have a variety of different desktop backgrounds rotating on my Mac ‘desktop’ for no other reason than I like to keep things fresh on my computer. If you need any evidence of this, feel free to check out the library of Desktop Backgrounds I’ve created and posted here on my site. We all know that the ones provided by computer manufacturers are far from esthetically pleasing, save Apple. Add to this the fact that in today’s ultra-mobile, on-the-go lifestyle where we use multiple ‘client’ machines – work computer (maybe a PC), home computer (probably a Mac), laptop, etc. – it’s always nice to do a few things to make these machines feel like they are yours. However, trying to download or acquire desktop images for each computer could get time consuming and never know when you’ll see an awesome image that would look perfect as your desktop wallpaper/background. Having a single folder to just drop new images into and have it serve up to all of your computers would be a nice way to solve this. So for the past several years I’ve been using a simple little ‘hack’ that I concocted to solve for this need that only your inner Cliff Claven would claim to need.

To start, you’ll need two things:

  1. A Dropbox account
  2. A folder in said Dropbox account full of desktop backgrounds. Feel free to download a few from my site or head on over to Simple Desktops to find some really awesome minimalist ones (the kind that I like).

First thing you need to do is create a folder in the Dropbox account called “Desktop Backgrounds” (or whatever you want to call it). Then, fill it up with a variety of desktop background images to your liking. Once you have done this, you then need to install Dropbox on each of your computers to ensure that this same Dropbox folder with the desktop images is available on each computer. If you are already a Dropbox user, then this step may already be done.

Next, you need to enable your computers to pull the images from this folder and display them as your Desktop backgrounds. On all of your computers, go through the following exercise:

  1. On a Mac, go to Settings > Desktop & Screen Saver > Desktop (I forget what the equivalent is for Windows but I think it’s Display or Themes).
  2. Click the “+” button at the bottom left, navigate to the Dropbox folder “Desktop Backgrounds” you just created, and have this folder be the source of your Desktop backgrounds (see image below).
  3. Then, select “Change Picture”, pick a time interval, and if you so desire, select “Random Order”.
  4. Wash, rinse, repeat on all of your computers and you now have the same backgrounds rotating on all of your computers.

pref_desktop

The extra bonus is that with this set up, all you have to do is drop new images into this one Dropbox folder and the new image(s) will automagically get included in the rotation on all of your computers.

And that’s it. Now you’ll have a nice rotation of different backgrounds on your computer desktop to keep things fresh and different as you take on the day ahead of you.