Troubleshooting problems with Windows DreamScene

Windows DreamScene is a Windows Ultimate Extra. To get Windows DreamScene, you must be running Windows Vista Ultimate, and you must download the Ultimate Extra.

Here are solutions to some common problems with Windows DreamScene.

Show all

I get the message, "Windows DreamScene cannot run because the total desktop size exceeds the primary video adapter's maximum texture size."

To run Windows DreamScene, you can disable one or more monitors, reduce the screen resolution of one or more monitors, or upgrade to a more powerful video card. For more information about changing the screen resolution and other display settings on multiple monitors, see Change display settings on multiple monitors.

Windows DreamScene does not work with your multiple monitor setup if your total desktop size exceeds the maximum texture size that your video card supports. Maximum texture size affects the visual details of video images. The total desktop size is the size of the virtual rectangle that encompasses all of your monitors. The size takes into account how you told Windows to position the monitors. For example, if you have two monitors side by side that are both running at a resolution of 1600 x 1200, your total desktop size is 3200 x 1200. If the same two monitors are stacked on top of each other, your total desktop size is 1600 x 2400. In an extreme example, if you have the same two monitors configured diagonally as shown in the image, your total desktop size is 3200 x 2400.

Picture of two monitors configured diagonally
Two monitors configured diagonally

Windows DreamScene runs slowly or with limited performance.

Try using a different video for your desktop background, or upgrading your video card. If Windows DreamScene still runs slowly or with limited performance, change your desktop background to a stationary picture or a color.

The performance of Windows DreamScene depends on several factors, including:

  • The performance of the video card in your computer.

  • The size of the video file that you set as your desktop background.

  • The format of the video file that you set as your desktop background.

    With Windows DreamScene, you can choose a WMV file or MPG file to use as your desktop background. WMV files tend to be smaller in size, but require more resources to run. MPG-encoded video files tend to be larger, but require fewer resources to run. As a result, an MPG file can achieve better performance, despite the larger file size.

Windows DreamScene pauses.

Windows DreamScene pauses in the following circumstances:

  • You are running a program that is maximized. If you have multiple monitors and you maximize a program on only one monitor, Windows DreamScene pauses on all of your monitors.

  • You are running a 3-D game.

  • You are connecting to a computer remotely that is running Windows DreamScene. To improve the performance of the connection, Windows DreamScene is not available over Remote Desktop Connection.

  • The Windows Aero color scheme has been turned off automatically. Windows DreamScene can run only when Windows Aero is selected. For more information, see Why are some visual elements being automatically turned off?

  • Your mobile PC is running on battery power. To conserve battery power, Windows DreamScene pauses by default when you unplug your mobile PC. To change this setting, see Change, create, or delete a power plan (scheme).

  • You have turned on presentation settings in Windows Mobility Center.

  • You are sharing your desktop over a network. For example, you are connected to a network projector, or you are sharing your desktop by using Windows Meeting Space.