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an error is preventing this slideshow from playing

I need some help with my screen saver. There is an error message that comes up randomly it states"an error is preventing this slideshow from playing". I am not sure why is this happening? Can someone tell me what is this error could possibly be? and how to fix it?

Thank you,
Basem Khawaja, R.Ph.
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Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist | Looking for Opportunities
Author of the Year 2019
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Hi Basem,

There is an error message that comes up randomly it states"an error is preventing this slideshow from playing". I am not sure why is this happening? Can someone tell me what is this error could possibly be? and how to fix it?

I've come across that error before myself. This is a long-known problem with the Windows slideshow screensaver that goes all the way back to Windows XP and there is no single "Fix-It" for the issue as the cause can differ from user to user.

That said, there are a list of suggested fixes to try in the following off-site article: Fix: An error is preventing this slideshow from playing on Windows 10

In a nutshell, the suggested fixes include;

  • Changing the folder that the slideshow is using to select pictures from
  • Forcefully initializing a Slide Show
  • Ensuring the file paths are correct
  • Ensuring all pictures are compatible to be displayed in Windows. Ie: png, jpg etc.

Take a look at the above article and see how you go. If you need more specific instructions, feel free to reach out for more help here.

Regards, Andrew
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Hi Andrew
Thank you for the information that you provided. I looked at the article and I have a question about solution #4.It suggests to use .Jpeg instead pf .Png and it shows how to do the conversion. I do have a mix of various picture file types. .Png, Jpeg, .Bmp. Do you think this is what's causing the error message to come up? Once again it seems to happen sometimes the error message that is. Why not all the time? If any of these file types is the culprit. Either it should work all the time or shouldn't work all the time in theory. Lastly, There is jet lag a black screen appears varying in time ~5 minutes before the screensaver starts. I know the number of pictures could be a culprit , though there only 1000 pictures in the folder. Besides that what else could be causing that"the delay that is"?

Thank you my friend,
Basem Khawaja
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
test if it happens also if you copy the pictures to another folder, and check the desjtop settings, etc , as suggested here :
https://windowsreport.com/error-preventing-slideshow-playing/
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist | Looking for Opportunities
Author of the Year 2019
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Hi Basem,

I looked at the article and I have a question about solution #4.It suggests to use .Jpeg instead pf .Png and it shows how to do the conversion. I do have a mix of various picture file types. .Png, Jpeg, .Bmp. Do you think this is what's causing the error message to come up?

Possibly, yes. But without experimentation, there really isn't a way to make a determination.

Whilst the slideshow app that Windows uses to display does support JPG, GIF, PNG, and BMP formats, there are documented instances of certain formats sometimes cause problems like the one you're experiencing. This can be the result of a particular picture's size, colour depth, number of layers, and/or other effects not fully supported by the slideshow viewer.

JPG on the other hand, is a basic compressed picture format and doesn't have the additional features other formats might. GIFs, for example, can save with animations. JPGs can not.

As I've already mentioned though, there isn't a way to determine what particular picture could be problematic without some structured experimentation. I'll suggest how to do that for you in a moment.

Once again it seems to happen sometimes the error message that is. Why not all the time?

Why not all the time indeed. That's a good question, but only Microsoft developers could accurately answer that one for you.

There is jet lag a black screen appears varying in time ~5 minutes before the screensaver starts. I know the number of pictures could be a culprit , though there only 1000 pictures in the folder. Besides that what else could be causing that"the delay that is"?

A whole series of things, from a picture becoming corrupt after saving, its physical size, layers, depth, animations, number of colours contained etc. The possibilities for problems are always there and we're never aware of them until an issue occurs.

Also, remember that Windows creates a "cache" of the photos to be displayed in the slideshow screensaver. As contents of a folder change, that cache needs to be rebuilt and updated which can also pause or cause the screensaver to hang and not start.

The more pictures in a folder, the longer it will take for Windows to re-create the cache and more chances of delays and other problems happening.

I'd suggest the following troubleshooting experiment to get to the bottom of this problem.

Troubleshoot by Experimentation

1. Create a folder specifically for the pictures you want the slideshow to use. Call it something like "SlideShow"

2. Use the Browse button in the screensaver to point the Photos screensaver to the alternate folder you've created.

3. Now, copy (or move) the pictures you want the screensaver to use to the SlideShow folder you created. Start off with only a small amount of photos first (say 10 pictures and all JPG in format) and then test the screensaver.

4. If all works to your expectations, continue adding more photos (10 or so at a time, only this time with the PNG format) and test the screensaver again.

5. Continue with the above process (adding different formats in one go - say BMP this time) until the problems you're having recur.

That's really the only way I can think of to reliably nail down which pictures are the cause of a problem. When working with ~1000 pictures in your folder, that makes it very difficult to identify a photo (or format) that could be causing the problem.

Make sense?

Give that a try and let me know how you go.

Regards, Andrew
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist | Looking for Opportunities
Author of the Year 2019
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
@Nobus
test if it happens also if you copy the pictures to another folder, and check the desjtop settings, etc , as suggested here :

What options in your link (apart from using an alternate solution like Google Picassa which doesn't address fixing the problem with the Windows Photo screensaver) do you see different on your linked page, to the page that I already pointed to?

Using an alternate folder for pictures is the very first solution suggested by the page I already provided a link to.
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Hi Andrew

I guess I should get used to not having everything works the way it supposed to in life . The folder that is currently showing the error message contains various types of picture formats as I had stated. I know also you had mentioned all those formats are compatible with the screensaver[.JPEG, .PNG, .BMP, and GIF]. That being said I don't the underlying reason for the folder to be temperamental! Works at times and then at other times it decides to spice things up on the screen by displaying the error message. I guess the only solution which I don't feel is quiet productive is to separate the formats by placing .JPEG into 1 folder and see if the error message comes up? I know that will take some time. The remaining issue is the CURRENT folder [Has 1000 pictures] once again is an abbreviated version of the parent folder which contained ~20000[Twenty Thousand pictures]. That folder I created my self by transferring 1000 pictures from the parent folder once again. So I am not really sure what is the maximum acceptable number of pictures to be included in a folder to prevent the jet lag or the black screen before it actually gets activated. I would appreciate your final thoughts on this issue Andrew before I can close this question.
Thank you my friend,
Basem Khawaja
IT Professional | Freelance Journalist | Looking for Opportunities
Author of the Year 2019
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
Hi Basem,

I don't the underlying reason for the folder to be temperamental! Works at times and then at other times it decides to spice things up on the screen by displaying the error message.

That's just the nature of computing, unfortunately.

Things can and often will go wrong and that's one of the main reasons software developers make you agree to such long-winded Term of Use clauses when installing software.

In the case of Microsoft, (like most developers) they basically say you're welcome to buy a license to use their software, but you must agree that you won't hold them responsible if it is still full of bugs, is insecure, may not work sometimes, or that it may just break completely for no apparent reason from time to time and need to be reinstalled.

That's pretty much Microsoft's "End User License Agreement" (EULA) in a nutshell  :)

I guess the only solution which I don't feel is quiet productive is to separate the formats by placing .JPEG into 1 folder and see if the error message comes up?

Yes. When faced with an intermittent occurring error, the only thing you can do is troubleshoot to try and find the cause or move to an alternate product.

But even if you move all of your JPG photos to a separate folder, you *still* may get the error if one of those jpg pictures has become corrupt or unreadable. That too can sometimes happen. That's why I suggested trying it in smaller blocks.

The troubleshooting process I described was designed to rule out the fact that a particular picture format was causing grief. That's why I suggested putting 10 or 20 JPGs first, then if no errors after testing, add PNGs and see if the error occurs with those in the mix and so on.

If the error isn't being caused by photo format(s) in your case, then you would add blocks of pictures to the folder until the error recurred and then manually check the last bunch of pics you added to try and identify which photo(s) from the bunch last added was causing the problem.

Troubleshooting an intermittent problem like this can be a slow and tedious process and needs both patience and persistence and there are rarely any shortcuts to a quick fix.

The only sure quick fix, in this particular case, would be to stop using the Windows built-in screen saver and install a third-party screensaver utility instead. Whether or not you'd want to go that route I guess depends on how much the issue is bugging you personally. For me, it wouldn't be worth it, but for you it might, so your mileage may differ.

For example, (note I've not tried this program myself), a quick search I did just now turned up this third-party slideshow software;


It claims to be unlimited in the number of photos that are supported (says it's been tested with over 30,000 photos) and also looks like it has a few neat configuration features, but whether or not it would solve your problem I can't say. You would need to try it out for yourself and see.

Many other similar software packages are out there you could try too. Some are free, most require payment for all of their features to be available to you.

So I am not really sure what is the maximum acceptable number of pictures to be included in a folder to prevent the jet lag or the black screen before it actually gets activated.

I've never worked with 1,000 to 20,000 pictures configured into a Windows slideshow screensaver, but I do know that the more photos (and sub-folders) in the source directory, the longer it will take Windows to create its cache and for the screensaver to kick in.

If I had to make a guess, I would say Microsoft didn't even consider problems that could occur if users pointed to folders with that large an amount of photos for the screensaver function.

Speed depends on the hardware you have, the graphics card and drivers, the amount of RAM, etc. so it will work differently for everyone.

I know that's not particularly helpful to answer your question, but that's just the way it is.

I would appreciate your final thoughts on this issue Andrew before I can close this question.

No worries Basem. I hope the above is of some help to you.

Regards, Andrew
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Thank you Andrew for your detailed and very informative answers. One last question. This might be wishful thinking. Is there any program that can look for corrupted files in my pictures folders? I doubt if there is such thing. I thought I just ask anyway.
Thank you,
Basem Khawaja
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist | Looking for Opportunities
Author of the Year 2019
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Hi Basem,

Is there any program that can look for corrupted files in my pictures folders?

Good question and funny you should ask :)

I was actually looking for something like that earlier after I'd written my last answer to you, as it occurred to me that there might be some method of being able to test a large number of graphic files for damage and I found a couple of options. I've been testing one program I found called "Bad Peggy".

Not sure how accurate it is, but I used it to test 3,513 graphic files in my own Pictures folder (it did it quite quickly too) and it found 72 that it reported as damaged.

It's called "Bad Peggy" and can be downloaded from here:

Direct download link for Windows: https://www.coderslagoon.com/files/badpeggy23_windows.zip

Download link Source Page: https://www.coderslagoon.com/

I did find a couple of others, but they only appeared to only support checking the jpg format.

This one seems to support a wide variety of formats.

It doesn't have an installation program per se, so I'll quickly explain how to use it.

1. The Zip file you download will contain a folder inside it called BadPeggy23. Extract that folder to a temporary location somewhere on your hard drive.

2. Now drill into the BadPeggy23 folder with File Explorer and run the file "install.vbs" - That will create an icon on your desktop called Bad Peggy

3. Double click the Bad Peggy icon on your desktop to open the program.

4. Once the program opens, click on File > Scan - It will prompt you to select a folder containing images that you want it to check.

5. Note: You must select a physical Folder and not a Windows 10 library shortcut. Drill down into your Windows Username and select the physical pictures "Folder"  

If you make a mistake, it will tell you and let you select again.

As soon as you select the folder you want to be checked, it will begin scanning its contents, as well as the contents of any other subfolders.

To select another root folder to check, just repeat the above process of clicking "File > Scan" again.

After it scans, you'll get a report similar to this:

Bad Peggy Version 2.3
You can double click each picture found to view it as shown in the above screenshot.

Not sure how accurate it is, so I wouldn't permanently delete any photos it reports as damaged, however, I would suggest moving whatever it reports as damaged or unreadable out of your Pictures folder and into another location temporarily, and then checking your screensaver again to see if the error persists.

That may or may not help your problem, but it's worth a shot as there's really nothing to lose.

To uninstall it again, all you should need to do is delete the Icon from your desktop, and the extracted BadPeggy23 folder from your hard drive.

Hope that's helpful.

Regards, Andrew
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Andrew

Thank you very much my friend for all your help. I guess I will try to see if I can ultimately figure out the culprit in the screensaver error. Hopefully one day. I don't think I am ready yet for the Bad Peggy app. But thank you anyway for mentioning that. I will look into the Third-Party screensaver apps so that it may bring some peace of mind to me if all fails with screensaver in Windows 10. I found a screensaver while Googling called""gPhotoShow.com". I am not sure if you had heard of it. Just let me know if you have heard anything good or bad.

Thank you Andrew once again,
Basem Khawaja
Basem KhawajaClinical Pharmacist

Author

Commented:
Thank you Andrew. You are truly a very intelligent man.
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist | Looking for Opportunities
Author of the Year 2019
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Hi Basem,

I found a screensaver while Googling called""gPhotoShow.com". I am not sure if you had heard of it. Just let me know if you have heard anything good or bad

No, I've not seen or heard of it before, but taking a look at it from your link, I don't see any red flags that would make me hesitant to try it out. I don't bother with screensavers myself and prefer to just let my monitor go to sleep and go dark :)

You're very welcome Basem, glad I was able to help a little.

Regards, Andrew