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Screen Savers for a Windows Photo Frame

PhotoFrame 2

What 'Screen Saver' (slide show) software is available 'for free' ?

WARNING - you may find yourself tempted by Magazine 'reviews' and Google 'ad-word' searches that will point you toward 'Free Download' (but 'Pay to Use') Screen Saver software. DON'T BE CONNED into parting with your money = there are plenty of free and Open Source choices !

Microsoft 'My Pictures Slideshow' (ssmypics.scr)

Pros - can 'expand' small images to fill the screen, can be set to 'allow keyboard scrolling through images'

Cons - only displays images from a single (selectable) folder, in 'windows file order', default minimum display time is 6 seconds (a shorter time has to be manually entered into the Registry), transition effect is either 'none' or random, if 'none' is chosen photo's smaller than the screen are displayed at random offset from the center of the display) & finally, the Microsoft Screen Saver may fail to 'cut in' if you have been too 'aggressive' in cutting down the Windows 'footprint' by removing MSIE (like almost everything else, including MMC, it seems to 'require' parts of MSIE before it will launch)

Microsoft "Picture & Fax Viewer"

Not really a screen saver but an application that has a 'slide show' mode. MS never seems to make anything easy and Picture & Fax Viewer is NOT a 'normal' stand-alone application (.exe) at all (heaven forbid) = but it is actually a DLL !!

It can be invoked from the command line to display {imagefile name} as follows :-
rundll32.exe c:\windows\system32\shimgvw.dll,ImageView_Fullscreen {imagefile name}
However the 'ImageView_Fullscreen' setting seems to be a 'dummy' key = it's case sensitive and the actual display is NOT 'full screen' (it's equal to whatever the size you last set Picture & Fax Viewer to within the Windows GUI).

Further setting {imagefile name} = '*.jpg' is not supported. In fact there seems to be no way to start it from the Command Line and get it running in 'slide show' mode (it just shows the one specified image)

This makes it unusable except when invoked from within the Windows GUI

Random Photo Screensaver 3.4.9

Pros - can be pointed at a 'root' folder and set to search all sub-folders for images. Named sub-folders can be excluded. Will support 'RAW' images (by creating a local .jpg). Choice of random or sequential image display order. Supports 10,000+ images and still 'starts up in a few seconds'. Supports multiple monitors.

Cons - Requires MS .NET 4.0 (but will auto-download from MS) but still 'fails to initialise' on a cut down XP (without any obvious reason why). It resizes JPG's 'on the fly' (no caching of JPG's). You can not choose a specific transition style (it's either 'none' or 'random'). Finally, there is a long annoying delay when opening the Screen Saver tab (and after closing it's 'settings' window)

'Yet another photo screen saver'

Pros - Open Source, generates a 'montage' or 'gallery' type effect (good when you have lots of similar images)

Cons - aimed at 'Flickr' users (so expects to fetch your images from your web based Flickr account 'photo repository') but it can be set to display the contents of a local disk (you set the 'root' folder). Unfortunately, I found it kept on 'looping', constantly replacing one image with the same one again, instead of going onto the next ..

GPhotos from Picasa

Pros - display speed is from 0.1 - 9.6 seconds, you choose a transition effect ('none' is not an option), you can set multiple source folders, you can also show photo's you added to the Picasa 'Screen Saver Album' and those photo's you 'starred' in Picasa

Cons - you have to install the whole package to get access to the screen saver**.

Picasa also attempts to "take over" your entire image collection (on install, it insists on 'scanning' either your desktop + My Pictures etc. or your entire C: for photo's & then creates thumbnails, which takes long enough when you only have a few hundred photo's, so DON'T point it at your Tbyte 100,000+ photo archive :-) ).

Small images are not 'expanded' to fill the screen (large ones are reduced OK). It also attempts to install the 'GoogelUpdaterService' as a Service at power-on and keeps trying to access the internet (despite being set to show photo's from the local hard disk only). Finally (and this may be a deal killer for some) it is only capable of showing images in a random order

Despite all the 'cons' above, I use 'Gphotos' from Picasa. It's 'random order only' sequence is OK for me (since I tend to take & archive dozens of photo's of the same subject) and it works 100% just fine on my 'cut down' XP nLite'd system with MSIE removed !!

**You don't actually need the entire installed Picasa package. To get the screen saver working on your PhotoFrame, ALL YOU NEED is the 'Google Photos Screensaver' component, GPhotos.scr, which you copy to C:\windows\system32\GPhotos.scr.

On your PhotoFrame PC, right click GPhotos.scr & choose 'install'. You can then adjust the photo display settings in the Display Properties / Screen Saver tab. You can also launch it from the command line :-
start Gphotos.scr /s
'/s' means start the Photo Show running in full screen mode. 'start Gphotos.scr /c' will open the Google Photos Screensaver configuration window (same as Display Properties / Screen Saver / Settings button)

Click 'Next >>' in the Navigation Bar (left) for how I loaded images into my digital Photo Frame using 'Command line' scripts.

Next page :- CMD Script - (for Windows PhotoFrame)