Screensavers are an interesting tool in the modern computer age. As the name suggests, they were originally created to protect CRT screens from permanent burnout. An almost universal screen technology these days is the LCD.
While LCDs can permanently fade images, this really only happens with commercial screens in places like airports where the image has static elements for hundreds to hundreds of hours. As a desktop issue, it doesn’t matter anymore.
However, screensavers are still used. They can be used as a security measure if you forget to lock your computer while walking away from it. It is also an attractive decoration when not in use. Each iteration of Windows comes with a pretty decent selection of screensavers, but Windows 10 seems like a step backwards in a way.
In Windows 7, the built-in slideshow screensaver had many options. You can have interesting transitions, images appear in random places on the screen, and tend to bring things to life when displaying your collection of images.
On Windows 10, you can only use a centered image and no transitions. So while Windows 10 live wallpapers are pretty cool, those of us who want to showcase our own collection of images are not too happy.
So we started looking for alternatives that could bring back the charm of the old screensaver, and heck we found some good ones!
gPhotoShow (Free and Professional 10.90 â‚¬)
gPhotoShow can be quite feature-rich, but it is also quite simplistic and easy to use. You can add multiple folders as image sources, but unfortunately, you cannot display multiple images on the screen at the same time.
The first big advantage of gPhotoShow over the Photos screensaver is the random placement of small images. Windows Photos only supports centered viewing, so small images can look silly on large and wide monitors.
The pro version of gPhotoShow offers quite a few additional features, but none of them should necessarily be available to the average user. The free version is pretty much what you want from a decent slideshow screensaver.
Some Pro features that might be worth the asking price include pan and zoom animations, TIFF support, panoramic photo support, video clip support, and the ability to remember the last image in a sequence between plays.
For our money, the “scrapbook mode” that combines multiple images to fill the screen is the most profitable reason to buy the Pro version. However, the following screensaver offers almost the same feature for free.
Limitless Offer (Free and Professional Edition $ 19.95)
Endless Slideshow‘s main claim to fame is that it can automatically load images within multiple sets of predefined themes. On the plus side, you might be surprised by photographs you’ve never seen before. It’s also great if you’re not one of those who like to collect your own collection of pictures.
The endless slideshow is incredibly versatile and you can customize it pretty much to your needs. Multiple screen images, customizable backgrounds, multiple resizing options, and clearly labeled features make it easy to use.
Unfortunately, configuring the program to also include images that it automatically downloads itself is also a bit of a gamble. First, you can see images that you really don’t like. In the worst case, there is always concern that inappropriate photographs could accidentally get inside. This never happened during testing, but to be honest, the “infinite” part of the value proposition is actually the least interesting part of the package.
As a clean slideshow screensaver, Endless Slideshow is great, but there are some annoying limitations in the free version. Fewer transitions and limiting the number of images per screen to four per screen is no problem. However, the ability to manually promote your slideshow is a feature that should always be there.
Unfortunately, the free version of Endless Slideshow doesn’t let you do this. For some, this can be a hindrance, as the default Photo screensaver allows it. However, Endless is better overall, and you can create some really interesting personalized looks with it.
If you spend $ 20 on the Pro version, you get manual image viewer and more. One Pro license also allows you to install the software on two computers, so if you have two machines it will cost ten dollars each. This is a great slideshow screensaver and everyone should try at least the free version.
ScreenPaver ($ 14.95)
Unfortunately, ScreenPaver doesn’t have a free version and you’ll have to pay the asking price if you want to use it. The good news is that there is a 30-day trial with no feature limitations other than the annoying reminder of how many days you have left.
For your money, you get a full featured full featured slideshow screensaver with the expected features. You can randomly arrange images, stretch them, zoom out and generally tell the program how you want the images to be processed. This seems like a basic requirement for a splash screen like this, but the one that comes with Windows 10 doesn’t do it, other than a random selection of images.
Speaking of choosing images, ScreenPaver has a pretty robust system for letting you choose which directories you grab your images from. You can extract them from multiple discs, select subfolders, and even mark certain images in a folder as favorites. It doesn’t have as many transitions as some of the slideshow screensavers, but it’s doubtful that many people would be bothered by only a few dozen transition effects rather than hundreds of them.
Is it worth $ 15? It’s a good buy, especially if you don’t quite get what you want with the two free options above.