18 Cool 4K Desktop Backgrounds for Windows - Make Tech Easier (2023)

An inspiring desktop background can perk up your workday and create a magnetic impression on others who glance at your screen. The following are some of the coolest 4K desktop backgrounds you can add to your Windows 10 or 11 desktop. While 4K does refer to 3840 x 2160, these wallpapers will accommodate any screen size easily.

If you’re not sure why 4K and 8K wallpapers are all the rage, find out with our screen resolution guide.

Note: the wallpaper sources have been tested for viruses and other malware, so you can download the wallpapers without worrying about unsafe images.

Content

  • 1. Light Particles
  • 2. Beetle
  • 3. Miami Windows
  • 4. Apple MacBook Pro 4K
  • 5. Astronaut Digital Wallpaper
  • 6. Sim Aquarium by Digital Illusions
  • 7. Lake Waterfalls
  • 8. Desktop Live Wallpapers
  • 9. Pixabay
  • 10. League of Legends
  • 11. Rainmeter
  • 12. Mountains and Landscapes in 4K
  • 13. Storyblocks Animated Wallpapers
  • 14. DeviantArt
  • 15. Alphacoders Anime Collection
  • 16. WSupercars
  • 17. Water Droplets
  • 18. Rainbows
  • Frequently Asked Questions

1. Light Particles

The best 4k Windows wallpapers are those which really take advantage of all the thousands of pixels on-screen at once, so the finer the components of the image, the better it looks.

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That’s why I love this Light particles screensaver: t’s granular and has pop, but crucially, it’s not noisy, with clean darkness around the edges of the screen, ensuring that your desktop apps won’t get drowned out in the pretty colors.

2. Beetle

Is it a beetle or some other kind of grub? It doesn’t really matter, as either way, this picture is utterly mesmerizing and a perfect way to utilize every pixel of that new 4K display.

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This image isn’t just about the high resolution – it’s the beautiful colors as well, which will particularly benefit lucky owners of IPS panels.

You’ll find this and other great works on Imgur.

Note: if the download links aren’t working, open the full-sized image in a new tab and save it to your computer.

3. Miami Windows

Maybe not as outright eye-popping as some of the other backgrounds here, but why does everything have to be so bright that it leaves permanent marks on your retinas? This super-smooth variation on the default Windows background has a beautiful gradient from purple to pink, giving it that kind of sun-kissed Miami Vice feel.

You can find this Windows Logo 2020 wallpaper at UHD Wallpapers.

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4. Apple MacBook Pro 4K

Can you put a Mac background on Windows? Wallpaper Flare has the right collection of such screens absolutely free. The resulting display is, frankly, gorgeous: prepare to be blown away by the pixelated graphics and rich colors. Apart from the 4K display, these screens are available for any standard laptop resolution as a MacBook desktop; dual, triple, or quad monitor; or Android or Surface tablet.

To download any 4K wallpaper on Wallpaper Flare, click the link that says “Choose resolution & download this wallpaper,” then select 3840 x 2160 as the desired resolution for Windows devices.

Tip: if you have moved from macOS to Windows, the wallpaper is not the only change you have to deal with. Pay attention to these essential tips if you’re a Mac transplant.

5. Astronaut Digital Wallpaper

What could be more surreal than watching an astronaut circumnavigate the earth? Wallpaper Flare has a free, fantastic collection of space art in 4K to give you an Interstellar-like background. The related HD wallpapers range from wormholes to Martian colonies and the surface of the Moon. Consider hiding your desktop icons with a right-click to enjoy the full visual perspective of space travel.

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6. Sim Aquarium by Digital Illusions

If you want a splendid aquarium on the screen with all manner of fish bumping into one another, Digital Illusions has just the one for you. The free Sim Aquarium screensaver comes pretty close to the real thing.

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After a simple installation, your eyes are in for a treat. There’s nothing quite like water gushing down the desktop amid a backdrop of corals, anemones and jellyfish while your chosen fish go about their daily business. This aquatic background comes alive with soothing fish tank sounds.

7. Lake Waterfalls

One of the most soothing PC backgrounds is of a waterfall pouring in feeding a natural pool. Wallpaper Up has a rich collection of such visuals, perfect for nature-lovers. What’s noteworthy is that these visuals are from actual photos captured at an outdoor location. The resolutions are actually much higher than 4K (up to 8K visuals are available), but the backdrop easily scales down to any screen size. All of the images are absolutely free.

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8. Desktop Live Wallpapers

Desktop Live Wallpapers from Microsoft Store not only gives you plenty of free animated wallpapers to choose from, but also helps you manage your video wallpaper collection. This desktop app has a customized interface to set any downloaded video as your desktop background. It lets you use personal video files as well. Whether uses the scenes from your favorite movie or beautiful memories spent with a loved one, it is now very easy to make those moments permanent on your desktop.

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Here’s a minor downside. The free version of this app only supports the WMV format, so you need to run your downloaded MP4 videos through a simple conversion using online sites such as FreeConvert.

9. Pixabay

If you like video wallpapers on your desktop, don’t forget to check out Pixabay, which has a massive collection of such videos in 4K and HD formats. From nature scenery to urban skyscrapers, there is so much to choose from. Each of these videos is designed to render well on a Windows (or Mac) desktop. The length of these videos ranges from just a few seconds to nearly one minute. You will have to install the Desktop Live Wallpapers app to run these videos.

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10. League of Legends

Fans of this multiplayer online battle arena will now be treated to the most brilliant 4K multiple screens and vertical displays from the official game website. Consisting of more than 600 MB, the League displays require a full installation, healthy RAM (8 GB and more), and quite a few setting adjustments.

But the wait is worth it, as there is a huge collection of display sets and animated art, as well as online updates with every game release. This is an amazing collection that covers everything from animated art to cosmic displays and 4K screensavers.

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The League of Legends fantasy comes alive to fill you with amazement due to the sheer variety of visuals.

11. Rainmeter

Rainmeter is more than just a wallpaper display. It’s the ultimate live function desktop that gives you an interactive overview of your system health and resources right from the desktop screen. Whether it’s learning about your CPU and RAM usage or working with the calendar and individual folders, you can “feel” the wallpaper very personally. After downloading Rainmeter, you can import many customized display skins that can scale to 4K resolution. Follow our in-depth guide to customize your Windows desktop with Rainmeter.

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12. Mountains and Landscapes in 4K

For those looking for stunning 4K visuals of mountains and landscape scenery, you will be spoiled for choice with Wallpaper Flare’s nature collection. All the pictures are drawn from actual mountain scenery and cover everything from snow-capped peaks to the reflections of mountains in lakes.

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This site does have a big landscape collection. One scene that particularly stands out is this picturesque image of a wild Siberian husky wading through shallow frigid waters.

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13. Storyblocks Animated Wallpapers

You may need a search engine for 4K wallpapers on a variety of abstract topics. Storyblocks gives you the option to choose new ideas from a large inspiring collection, whether you want an abstract wavy transition on your desktop or DNA molecules, with many more choices available. Use an app like Desktop Live Wallpapers to run these downloaded videos on your Windows desktop.

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14. DeviantArt

For one of the finest collections of inspiring artwork for Windows desktops, DeviantArt shouldn’t be ignored. Using a 4K tag for search, you get access to a range of professional key concepts created by actual artists. All of these wallpapers come at a price but are unique, original, and unreplicated elsewhere online. This can be your own customized desktop signature.

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Tip: DeviantArt is a great place to find iPhone and iPad wallpapers, too!

15. Alphacoders Anime Collection

Anime lovers should definitely bookmark this one. Alphacoders hosts what it calls a curated list of anime wallpapers in 4K – an endless parade of 20,000 high-quality visuals from the world of Naruto, Goku, Katsuki, Sasuke, and many of our favorite characters. If you look hard enough, you’ll find a few anime wallpapers where you can add your own anime name to be displayed on your desktop.

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16. WSupercars

If you aren’t a fan of comic books, perhaps you should give your desktop an actual muscle designation. WSupercars probably has the best 4K car wallpapers collection you can find on the Internet.

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While you can search for car pictures on many other websites, WSupercars does an amazing job helping you find what you need. You can refine your search based on filters such as brand, model and year. Aside from the latest models, the website hosts a massive vintage car photos collection.

17. Water Droplets

There is nothing quite as relaxing as magnified drops of water glistening against an all-natural background. Pexels brings you a massive collection of macro photographs featuring water droplets and ice crystals. Pair the visuals with calming rain sounds for a meditative experience.

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You could choose from dew drops on a green leaf, tiny bubbles in a pool, or rain condensation falling on a windowpane. Each and every photograph makes a stunning desktop wallpaper.

18. Rainbows

Are these colorful crystals or candies? There is something about a rainbow that makes us all stop and stare, so we’ve brought you rainbow-themed 4K wallpapers featuring thousands of neon glows, umbrellas, crayons, candles, wedding sprinklers, and more!

The best part is that they affect your taskbar and file folders, too, giving your desktop a rich, kaleidoscopic feel.

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Tip: if you want more skins to change how your Windows interface looks, try these beautiful Windows themes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do wallpapers affect PC performance?

When you use a very high-quality static or animated image/video as wallpaper, it may accelerate battery drain due to increased brightness levels. However, the impact is very minimal for any modern laptop, especially a Windows 11 device. The choice of display should not affect RAM or CPU performance, unless it’s a very lengthy video.

Can you use copyrighted images for wallpapers?

If an image requires copyright permissions for usage, then you cannot legally download it for use as a desktop wallpaper. You may think it is alright for personal use on a machine you own. Still, it is always better to go for public domain and copyright-free images. All the 4K wallpapers sourced from the websites covered in this guide are free to use without any copyright worries.

What is the difference between screensavers and wallpapers?

A wallpaper is a static or animated image on your device’s desktop, whereas a screensaver is a static or moving graphic that comes into view after your system has been idle for a while. While some of the 4K video wallpapers featured in this guide can be used as screensavers, also consider this awesome collection of Windows screensavers.

Image credit: 4K Wallpapers. All screenshots by Sayak Boral.

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Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over eleven years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

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