Ashley over at CyberNet News got a simple post started that created a flood of comment posts.
Free Desktop Wallpaper Sources - CyberNet News.
Her post only contained two desktop wallpaper sites. But then the community jumped in with a wealth of follow-up sites, Claus included.
So, since the tips are so awesome, I've combined them (and a few others) all here for you.
Many, many of these sites are ones that I haven't ever heard of, yet have some stunning images.
But first....let's talk about how to manage those piles of desktop wallpapers you are about to waste hours downloading.
Display Fusion and UltraMon - Windows Wallpaper Management
Although by default Windows Vista and XP do have a pretty good foundation for handling desktop wallpapers, and can even (with a bit of work) stretch them across multiple monitors, there are two programs I recommend and use that assist me with the process.
Display Fusion is a freeware/$ offering from Binary Fortress Software. I use this on my dual-screen laptop/monitor configuration at work as it is free. You can set different wallpapers on each monitor (not easily accomplished with XP/Vista's built-in tools) even if they run at different screen sizes/resolutions. You can span a single wallpaper across multiple monitors, and resize (scale) it to flow naturally (wicked cool). Set your desktop image(s) to change periodically ($-version). Align the wallpaper on the displays in a number of ways. Hotkey support (limited in the free version). Display Fusion is able to search and download images directly from Flickr. Latest version (2/7/08) is v2.0.1. Lots of new features have been added since I last updated it months ago! Comes in both "install" and "no-install" versions. Nice touch. Does require .NET 2 or higher to run.
UltraMon - ($) - is the software I bought right after my cherished brother surprised me with dual-flat-screen monitors one day. I use this product at home and it was money well-spent. A full-featured trial version is available. UltraMon assists you with setting up multiple monitors in a way that is similar to Microsoft's drag-n-arrange method. Once you have the monitor orientation down, the fun begins. Additional icons are added to windows allow you to one-click shift them between displays, as well as to span them across all the monitors at once. UltraMon puts a task-bar on each monitor. You can then set the option to mirror the same taskbar at the bottom of all the displays, or use "Smart Taskbar" which will only display the applications running on that display in it's own taskbar. This is how my system is configured. You can set special shortcut handling. You can set one desktop image to span all your displays, or set a different one for each. It also supports gradients for background colors if you don't use an image (or the image you use is smaller than the screen resolution size). UltraMon also allows you to run the same screen saver on all displays, or a different one for each display! Cool! While not useful in the home, UltraMon supports "mirroring" of displays. It also supports hotkeys, icon location preservation and a custom display applet.
Free Applications, custom program icons, scripts, and screen-savers are also available to enhance UltraMon.
The Main Wallpaper List
OK, here you go, kiddos!
By no-means complete. Listed in alphabetical order.
Note: I use Firefox as my web-browser (with the NoScript extension). I didn't encounter any pop-ups or problems with any of these sites. However, depending on your chosen browser, you may encounter things differently. Also, some sites require Java, Flash or pop-ups to be enable to see and/or download wallpapers. Just thought I would point that out.
- 3Data - Digital wallpapers captured in high-detail photography and digital manipulation.
- 555design - Like Grunge? Like Urban Decay? Like smarty comments on your walls? Like unexpected views? This might be the site you want to use for your walls. Despite the themes, the walls are mostly bright and captivating. Use the scroll-bar at the bottom to view the thumbnails. Click to select. Right-click to save.
- adni18 - OK, the navigation page sucks, but once you start clicking the subject links, be amazed at the abstract and amazing wallpapers here. Really good conceptual art. Lots with an XP/Vista logo theme, if that's your thing.
- Anime Wallpapers.com - Yes, I know, most folks leave the anime to the kiddies. However there is some stunning artwork done by both the character designers and the fans. Worth taking a look at least once.
- The Apple Collection - Don't let the "Apple" fool you. Lots of nice wallpapers and tons of subjects for the Mac and Windows crowds alike. However it does help if you like Mac's. Some NSFW desktops. Browse carefully. Well categorized.
- Blatte's Pages - Simply stunning fractal backgrounds and images. A number of dual-monitor fractal desktop wallpapers are also available. Highly recommended. Updated to post list 03-01-08 as suggested by faithful reader Jim Thomspon.
- Caedes Desktop Backgrounds - Photography, Abstract, 3D wallpapers submitted by the artist community. Really unusually beautiful and original works.
- Caedes - Rework gallery - images modified by other artists. Beautiful x2!
- Cognitive Distortion - Almost always shows up on someone's wallpaper site list. Stop by and see why.
- Customize.org - Themes, Skins, Wallpapers and Icons for Windows.
- Desktop Nexus Wallpapers - Over 13,000 wallpapers submitted by the community.
- Desktopia - Lots and lots of free desktop wallpapers.
- Desktopography - Natural Desktop Aesthetics. (Flash based site.) Fusion of nature and technology. Beautiful works that I frequently rotate on my dual-screens at work. Nothing to offend here for the work-crowds.
- deviantART - Multi Display Gallery. Sometimes there are lots and sometime slim pickings. Click on the time-range links to display a wider range. Good thing is there is a wide range of multi-display wallpapers here. I often re-crop to fit my dual-monitors.
- Digital Image Cafe - Might take a bit of work to resize for full-screen coverage as your wallpaper but some really beautiful photography exists here. I would be remiss not to include it.
- dmb - Dual Monitor Backgrounds - Not a large number of items, but those here are very high-quality images. Simply one of the best places to get your first sets of dual-monitor desktops.
- Endeffect - Very unusual wallpapers. Though not truly monochromatic, they do have that feel to them. Unexpected designs and images. Take a look. Lots of different monitor resolutions are supported. Reminds me of digitized Rorschach images for some reason.
- eWallpapers - High resolution & widescreen wallpapers. Very wide-range of subjects.
- Fifty Foot Shadows: - Images from nature and people having fun. Really peaceful images.
- Flickr: The Designer Wallpaper Pool - Flickr collection of wallpapers that runs the range from photography to digital art. Wide collection of subject. Prepare to browse.
- Flickr: The Wallpapers (1024x768 minimum) Pool - Passed on by Dwight Silverman back some time ago. This link is to all images that are at least a certain screen resolution. If you are looking for "slice-of-life" images, here is your place.
- Fractal Art by Vicky - Fractal wallpapers for desktops.
- Freddie's Wallpaper - A massive collection of high-quality anime (and then some) wallpapers.
- HDRwalls.com - Your source for HDR wallpapers for desktop, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPod, and PSP.
- Ink-Blot Test wallpaper - I don't know. You tell me what you see? True Rorschach beauty.
- InterfaceLIFT - Wallpapers, icons and other things. Very high quality images in a range of resolutions.
- KDE-Look.org - You don't have to be a Linux-head to use and enjoy this community-built collection. Lots of digital images and "techie" styles.
- KoL (Javier Ocasio) - Simply incredible futuristic/naturalistic images from this DeviantArtist. One of my all-time favorite dual-monitor artists.
- Landscapes 2.0 - Landscapes with a soul.
- Louie Mantia › Desktop Pictures - Bold, simple and beautiful.
- Louie Mantia › Desktop Pictures › Red - More information on the (RED) campaign.
- mandolux - Simple the pinnacle of High Quality walls. Really the first place to go when looking for a range of beautiful dual/multi-monitor wallpapers for your desktop. His is the best!
- Mike Swanson's Blog : Wallpaper Images - Mike is a photographer who has graciously posted many of his best shots optimized for wallpapers to the web. Nature rules!
- my best desktops - If you like color in your wallpapers, this is the site to visit. A rainbow of colors. Use the Tag Cloud to browse the works.
- 经典桌面资源站 - MY DESK CITY - Chinese site. Amazing collection of walls. Be prepared to browse a lot as the categorization leaves a bit to be desired. Worth the visit though! Simply stunning collection. I visit here often.
- National Geographic Wallpapers - NG's photographers capture the best of the best when it comes to nature, travel and world cultures. NG has heavily redesigned their wallpaper website and it is more user-friendly than ever. Definitely a keeper. Like all those NG magazines sill in the garage!
- Patrick Bennett - Graphic artist with incredible work. Now hosting his best wallpapers on my best desktops.
- PixelDécor! - Looking for retro-walls? Here is your site. Mostly patterns and blocks. Hasn't been updated for quite a while, but still there is lots of great things to enjoy here.
- Renato Valdés Olmos - Not many, but stunning vector-based multi-monitor wallpapers.
- Sensitive Light: Wallpaper - Natural photography captured at it's best. Light rules here!
- Social Wallpapering - Clever new wallpaper site. Very social. Join in to rank, classify and share high-res wallpapers. Includes offerings for both standard, widescreen, and dual-monitor walls.
- ToeTag's deviantART Gallery - ToeTag has become one of my two favorite DeviantArtists for dual-monitor wallpapers. Stunning multi-monitor shots of farmlands and nature (and a few P-51 Mustangs for good measure!). What's not to like?
- Vista Wallpaper - German site with digitized desktop artworks. Abstract and futuristic.
- Vladstudio Wallpaper Gallery - An eclectic collection of free desktop wallpapers, widescreen, dual monitors, iPhone wallpapers, backgrounds for mobile phones, wallpaper clock. More images and material at VladStudio
- WallpaperStock - Stunning collection of high-quality wallpapers, vectors, models, themes. One of my top, top, top websites for finding wallpapers. Not too many dual-monitor options, however
- Wallpapers Zone - French wallpaper site. Humongous categories and selections. Some NSFW so be careful!
- Wallpapr – Cool wallpapers search widget for Flickr Groups. Very Web 2.0 interface. Simply amazing!
- Yumeiroyakata - Pastel graphics, textures, and images. Best for tiling effect background wallpapers.
Need something local?
Houston and Texas Wallpapers
- 3Data - Houston Wallpapers - Small collection of sights from Houston.
- FREE Texas Wallpaper - More country than rock-n-roll. Quite nice if you are looking for that down-home touch.
- Historic Texas Postcards - Could be easily made into neat vintage wallpapers.
- Houston Architecture Info - Houston architecture-related wallpapers.
- Ian's Texas Icons - OK, not wallpapers, but they are cute and Texas-related
- TexasFreeway's Old Houston Road Maps - Could be made into some wicked-cool wallpapers!
Not happy with these?
Make Your Own Wallpapers
- Fractal Wallpaper Home Page - Freeware software that allows you to build your own fractal wallpaper images.
- Textorizer - vectorise a picture using text strings - See sample at (Textorizer: vectorise a picture) blog. Upload and image. Add some text. And let it blend to create your own personalized wallpapers.
- VectorMagic | Precision Bitmap to Vector Conversion Online - Stanford University project which is amazing. Upload an image, set some parameters using a brilliantly designed wizard, let it run (may take a while depending on image size and options selected, output amazingly well done vectorise versions of your image! download and/or share the results. Click this link to see what happens when I uploaded and vectorise an old 1952 Humble Oil roadmap of Houston. Cool!
- WallPaperMaker - Sexy Wallpapers Built By Yourself. Not really my thing, but I'm sure there are some folks who will love the site. Clever attempt.
Enjoy! and special thanks to all the Net Citizens who shared their favorites. This list couldn't have been built without them! Ashley, OldManDeath, Syahid A., Navaljayhawk, Transcontinental, Lappy, Nate, bluegecko, leland, Kate, Andrew, Fab, and scottgrabs.
Now I've got to go and reorganize my Wallpapers bookmark folder to accommodate all these additions! Yikes!