Need a specific screensaver
July 12, 2006 5:38 AM   Subscribe

I'm hunting for a screensaver for my company with some very specific requirements. I need one that can rotate through images in a directory (and specify a directory, not the images themselves so that we can just push new slides out to our machines without having to muck with the configuration of the screensaver). Also, when the screensaver activates, it locks the computer, and when the user comes back to the machine, it asks if you want to unlock or logoff the machine (in case someone locks a public machine and leaves for the day or what have you). Any suggestions? This is going to be distributed on a lot of Windows XP machine and mandated through group policy.
posted by Ikazuchi to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The first requirements are possibly available on screensavers, but the unlock/logoff feature might be necessitate a custom screensaver. One that does what you're asking could be coded relatively easily (For example -- I'm not a genius programmer by any means, but I imagine I could do this in Visual Basic in about an hour or less if I still had it installed).

So if you can't find one that suits you, perhaps solicit a coder.
posted by empyrean at 5:47 AM on July 12, 2006

Might I suggest Slickr? It's a great screensaver that utilizes Flickr very well, though you can also use it locally. You may specify a directory and choose to have it pan, fade or zoom through your slides for some subtle, cool effects (or just turn effects off altogether).

The only thing it may not do for you is give you the option of unlocking or logging off the machine. There is the option in your Display > Properties of control panel to "on resume, password protect" however.
posted by freudianslipper at 5:47 AM on July 12, 2006

The Nostalgic screensaver pulls a list of images in your specified directory when it starts up—no need to specify all the images you want beforehand. It does everything you want except provide the option to log the current user off—the normal XP lock/"password protect on resume" feature works with it, though.

And it looks great, to boot.
posted by limeonaire at 5:55 AM on July 12, 2006

Isn't the Login request part of the Win screensaver? I know my system at work locks out after 15 minutes, goes to the screensaver, and asks for a password when disturbed.
Not to be snippy, but the pick your folder of photos for screensaver feature is built in to OSX. So I think the trick is to find where the Win screensaver looks for its images.
posted by Gungho at 6:06 AM on July 12, 2006

Google's screensaver fits the bill. It's part of the "Google Pack", but somebody out there on the internet has extracted it and removed the Google branding from it. Poke around with web for "google screensaver without logo" or other things like that, and you should find it. The password portion of your request is tougher. Most screesavers abdicate the locking and login work to Windows, so you're going to be dealing with the default "locked by user X" behaviour.
posted by cosmicbandito at 6:55 AM on July 12, 2006

an XP mod from M$:

it extracts from a given folder and acts as your screensaver, just tried again for first time since initial DL, stil works lol

not sure about the rest of your parms. but maybe...
posted by BillyG at 7:41 AM on July 12, 2006

Isn't the screensaver part of this just the 'my pictures' screensaver that's built in to windows?
posted by chrissyboy at 7:46 AM on July 12, 2006

sorry. 'my pictures slideshow' it's called. you can specify the direcory it shows pictures from, and set it to ask for a password when you come back to the machine.
posted by chrissyboy at 7:47 AM on July 12, 2006

WinXP has this screensaver built in. Its called 'My Pictures Slideshow.' To make it lock you simply click on the "On resume, password protect' box 2cm below the box you select the screesaver.

Yep, it does. I just used this at my son's middle school dance with a laptop hooked up to a projector to show a slide show of the class' photos. You can point it at any directory, not specificly your "My Photos" directory only, and it'll include subdirectories.
posted by thanotopsis at 11:35 AM on July 12, 2006

The behaviour of the windows logon/logoff process is controlled by GINA.DLL a core part of the Windows OS. You have to think really carefully about the security implications before replacing that with some 3rd party software.

Having looked into a few posible solutions for this problem I havent found one that didn't reveal significant downsides when tested.
posted by Lanark at 1:09 PM on July 12, 2006

You sure did get a lot of people who didn't read/understand your specific requirements.

In response to the last post, a custom screensaver, in VB for example, would use shell32 library calls to logoff the computer without replacing any file whatsoever. No negative security implications, no downsides.
posted by empyrean at 7:10 PM on July 12, 2006

I read the requirements—I just didn't know of any screensavers that already include the option to allow log-off on resume. I did know of a slideshow screensaver that was better than the ones suggested before mine, though, which also met the poster's requirements a little more closely. Further, it could be the case that a capable individual could modify the screensaver I suggested to include log-off on resume.

Thus I suggested it.
posted by limeonaire at 7:51 PM on July 12, 2006

OK I should have worded that better, when looking for a solution for this problem I did find some 3rd party utils but they involved replacing GINA.dll

The problem with any logoff routine is that if it fails (due to file locks or a software package that has hung) there is a real possibility that it will kill some programs (including the screensaver) and then stop - revealing the users unlocked desktop to a 3rd party.
posted by Lanark at 3:29 AM on July 14, 2006

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