3 slideshow screensavers, much better than Windows 10 default

Screensavers are an interesting tool in the modern computer age. As the name suggests, they were originally designed to protect CRT screens from permanent burn-in. The almost universal screen technology these days is LCD.

While LCDs can suffer from constant image burn-in, this really only happens to commercial screens in places like airports where the image has static elements for hundreds and hundreds of hours. As a desktop problem, it no longer matters.

However, screensavers still have their uses. They can be used as a security measure if you forget to lock your computer when you leave it. It is also an attractive decoration when the PC is not in use. Every iteration of Windows has had a pretty decent selection of screensavers, but Windows 10 seems to be a step back in one particular aspect.

In Windows 7, the built-in slideshow screen saver had a relative amount of options. You can have interesting transitions, images appear in random places on the screen, and generally add spice when displaying your image collection.

In Windows 10, you are limited to a centered image and no transitions at all. So, while the Windows 10 live wallpapers are pretty cool, those of us who want to show off our own image collection aren’t too happy.

So we started looking for alternatives that could bring back the charm of the old screensaver, and we found some good ones!

gPhotoShow (free and pro version €10.90)

gPhotoShow manages to be quite feature-rich, but at the same time quite optimized and easy to use. You can add multiple folders as image sources, but unfortunately you can’t display multiple images on the screen at the same time.

The first big advantage gPhotoShow has over the Photos screensaver is the random placement of small images. Windows Photos only supports centered viewing, which can make a small image look dull on large, wide monitors.

The professional version of gPhotoShow offers many additional features, but none of them are necessary for the average user. The free version is pretty much what you want from a decent slideshow screensaver.

Some Pro features that may be worth the price include pan and zoom animations, TIFF support, panorama photo support, video clip support, and the ability to remember the last image in the sequence between playbacks.

For our money, “Scrapbook Mode,” which combines multiple images to fill the screen, is the best reason to buy the Pro version. However, the next screensaver option offers almost identical functionality for free.

Endless Slideshow (Free and $19.95 Pro)

Endless Slideshow’s main claim to fame is that it can automatically upload images within several sets of predefined themes. The advantage of this is that you may be surprised by photos you have never seen before. It’s also great if you’re not the type of person who likes to curate your own photo collection.

Endless Slideshow is incredibly versatile and you can customize it almost to your needs. Multiple images on the screen, customizable backgrounds, multiple size options, and clearly labeled features make it a cinch to use.

Unfortunately, configuring the app to include images that it automatically downloads itself is also somewhat risky. First, you may see images that you really don’t like. At worst, there’s always the worry that some inappropriate images might accidentally sneak in. 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 pure slideshow screensaver, Endless Slideshow is great, but the free version has some annoying limitations. Fewer transitions and limiting the number of images on the screen to four per screen is not a big deal. However, the ability to manually advance a slideshow is a feature that should always be there.

Unfortunately, the free version of Endless Slideshow does not allow you to do this. This might be a deal breaker for some, as the default Photos screensaver allows it. Still, Endless is generally better and you can create some really interesting custom looks with it.

If you spend twenty bucks for the Pro version, you’ll get the manual image preview feature and a whole lot more. One Pro license also allows you to install the software on two computers, so if you have two computers, it costs ten dollars each. This is a great slideshow screensaver and everyone should try at least the free version.

ScreenPaver ($14.95)

Unfortunately, ScreenPaver does not have a free version and you will have to pay the corresponding price if you want to use it. The good news is that there’s a 30-day trial with no feature limitations other than a nagging reminder of how many days you have left.

For your money, you get a solid, full-featured slideshow screen saver with the features you expect. You can randomize the position of the images, stretch them, reduce their scale, and generally tell the software how you want the images to be processed. This seems like a basic requirement for such a screensaver, but the screensaver included with Windows 10 doesn’t do any of this except randomize the images.

Speaking of image selection, ScreenPaver has a pretty robust system for selecting the directories you draw your images from. You can retrieve them from multiple drives, select subfolders, and even mark certain images in a folder as favorites. It doesn’t have as many transitions as some slideshow screensavers, but it’s unlikely that many people will be bothered by only having a few dozen transition effects instead of hundreds.

Worth $15? It’s a solid buy, especially if you’re not quite getting what you want with the two free options above.

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