A wallpaper changer that works
January 11, 2008 10:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recommendations for a wallpaper changer or desktop photo viewer that's compatible with Vista. It must be able to change photos at least every 10 seconds or so, resize large photos properly, work with locally stored images, and be able to fill the screen.

I formerly used Google's Desktop Photo Gadget for this but the version that's compatible with Vista doesn't resize photos properly. With versions 4 and earlier photos bigger than the system resolution were reduced in size so the whole picture was viewable. The current version crops instead.

Vista comes with a photo gadget but it can't be resized. Note that I'm not looking for a screensaver that has these functions.

I've downloaded and tried about a dozen free/trialware programs and they're either crap and don't work, can't change photos faster than 1-minute intervals, or only work with RSS/web feeds & photos, etc.

I'd prefer something free but I'd be willing to pay for something solid.
posted by aerotive to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Wallpaper Master. Used it for over 3 years, free shareware (paid version available), does what you ask, works on my friend's Vista install. To change at quicker intervals than one minute, use decimals. Has auto-resize function that works well except when running on different-size multi-mon setup.
posted by sonicbloom at 10:59 PM on January 11, 2008

Best answer: ThumbsPlus is an excellent program. It can display slide shows fullscreen, and you can set frame rates in hundredths of seconds. For some kinds of things I will use 0.05 seconds or 0.1 second in order to get animation. (Of course, you can set longer intervals than that, too.) It's a full-function batch image processor, and both resizing and cropping are among the batch functions available. But in slide shows you don't have to do that; one of the slideshow options is "reduce bitmaps to screen" which resizes them to fit without lousing up the aspect ratio". There's also a "stretch bitmaps to screen" for images smaller than the screen.

It costs about $50 and is worth it, but you can use it for free for 30 days. I have a list of about 7 programs I cannot live without which get installed immediately on every new computer I buy. ThumbsPlus is one of them.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:22 AM on January 12, 2008

Response by poster: Sonic I've downloaded Wallpaper Master and it seems to do the job well. I'm pleasantly surprised for a 3-year old program that it works without compatibility problems. I'll continue to use it till the 30-day trial expires and if there are no major problems I'll buy a license.

SCDB I'll also try ThumbsPlus. Looks like it would be superior to irfanview or at least a useful adjunct. I'd also like to know what your other six programs are.
posted by aerotive at 7:39 AM on January 12, 2008

I'd also like to know what your other six programs are.

Winzip, only now 7-Zip

Netlab is a freeware GUI tool for doing things like DNS lookups, pings, traceroutes.
WSFTP is a freeware FTP utility
Batchname is the freeware cure for "[1].jpg" and "-1.jpg".
RTVReco is the cure for excessive "Are you sure?" popups
7-Zip lets me get into RAR archives
Photomagic is an obsolete graphics editor, but I know it and I like it. I also use Paint Shop Pro, but there are some things that are just more convenient with Photomagic.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:54 AM on January 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

aerotive, the freeware version doesn't need a license and is no-nag.
posted by sonicbloom at 8:19 AM on January 12, 2008

GQView is the open source photo viewer I use in Linux, and it supports Windows too. Totally free, does slideshows, configurable interval.
posted by knave at 9:40 AM on January 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Nice list. I prefer Bulk Rename for mangling files.
posted by meehawl at 12:10 PM on January 12, 2008

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