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How to Rotate your Windows 7 Background Image Using an RSS Feed

Groovy Windows 7 Tips, Tricks, Tutorials, News, Forum, How-To, Help, Answers, and SolutionsOne of the grooviest new features in Windows 7 is how it can .  The only setback with this is that to get brand new images, you’ll still need to manually search the Internet to find and add them to your image library.

No problem! Today I’m going to show you a groovy trick for using an RSS feed to get new images for your Windows 7 Background, so you won’t need to worry about finding and download new images ever again!

 

Using RSS and a .theme file tweak we can direct your Windows 7 backgrounds to download automatically from an online picture source.  In the tutorial below, I’ll use the Bing wallpaper feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/bingimages however you can use any RSS feed for this you like (perhaps your own Flickr RSS Feed???)

Just be sure it has lots of large images because text won’t be displayed and small images will look horrible when stretched across your screen.  With that said let’s learn how to do this groovy trick!

 

How To Rotate your Windows 7 Background Image Using an RSS Feed

 

1. Click the Windows Start Menu Orb and Paste in the following location and Press Enter:

1 
%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Themes\

load the theme folder within your appdate and useprofile location in windows 7

 

2. Select an existing .theme file, then Right-Click the file and Select Open With > Notepad.

open the windows 7 .theme file using notepad or any other text reader

 

3. Let’s give the theme a new name so we can easily find it.   Near the top of the text file look for [Theme] and then you’ll want to change the text after DisplayName= to whatever you would like to call your theme.  As an example, see the image below where I set mine to RSSTheme.

modify the theme displayname to whatever you want to call it

 

4. Do a search (Ctrl+F) for [Slideshow], if you find it in your theme file you’ll need to modify it to match the code below.  If it doesn’t exist yet in your file then just,

Paste the following code to the .theme text file.

[Slideshow]
Interval=1900000
Shuffle=1
RssFeed=http://feeds.feedburner.com/bingimages

Note: To rotate between new images faster you can decrease the Interval number which is Milliseconds. Take caution when doing this or you risk the theme crashing your system if you make it too fast.

past the slideshow rss code into the windows 7 .theme file

 

5. Next to make sure we don’t overwrite an existing theme, Click File and Select Save As.

save the windows 7 .theme as a new file

 

6. Name the file whatever you like and Click SaveIt’s important to make sure you don’t change the .theme extension at the end of the file. The file name must have .theme at the end of it.

saving a .theme file in windows 7

 

7. Right-Click any open area on the desktop and Select Personalize.

right-click the windows 7 desktop and choose personalize

 

8. Click the new theme we just saved.  In my example, I called it RSStheme.

pick your new rss theme in windows 7

 

9. With the subscription prompt that appears Select Download Attachments.

download all attachments directly to windows 7

Now you’re all set up to view rotated images downloaded from your RSS feed!  Just wait 1900000 Milliseconds (30 minutes) and new images will start to show up on at that interval.  If you want to test it out faster, then read on to Step 10, but keep in mind making changes will overwrite your current Unsaved theme.

 

10. Click Desktop Background at the bottom of the Personalization window.

adjust the background rotation speed in windows 7

 

11. Under Change picture every: Choose 10 seconds from the drop-menu and Click Save Changes.  If a new image doesn’t appear in 10 seconds, then you did something wrong.  If new images start showing up, congrats!  Now you can reset your picture change the time to whatever you would like since it likely isn’t something you want changing every 10 seconds.

set the windows 7 background rotation speed to 10 seconds and save, change it back when done

 

Now you can get groovy fresh new images directly from the Internet for your background without the need to manually surf around and find them!  Very groovy indeed!

a groovy windows 7 background

 

Have a favorite image feed that you love to use?  We’d love to hear about it below in the comments below!  If you have a question about the tutorial above, please create a new topic in our Free Support Area.

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9 Responses to How to Rotate your Windows 7 Background Image Using an RSS Feed

  1. Vadim March 6, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    Very nice. Appreciate this. Personally this is great for my photoblog. Will test that out and let ya know how that works IE: WordPress photoblog rss feed.

    Groovy 🙂

  2. Sbarro March 7, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    Thanks, I used this to pull a feed from a flickr search and now i’m getting non-stop new images from it!

    • MrGroove March 8, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

      Awesome! Flickr is a great one to pull the backgrounds from!

      • shockersh March 11, 2010 at 12:10 am #

        Flickr… Bah! Smugmug for the win baby!

        Hey, perhaps that’s a good write-up! Best online photo gallery/hosting/etc.. 😉

        • MrGroove March 11, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

          @ShockerSH

          True true. SmugMug for sure has a solid place in the Online Photo Hosting/Gallery vertical. Granted, it’s not FREE so i’ve not spoken much about it here on gP.com however I do like your suggesting about a write-up on the various services out there. I’ll throw something on the site on this topic!

          Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. shockersh March 9, 2010 at 10:16 pm #

    Oh yeah… this is really sweet. Thnx mate.

  4. Will S April 29, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    Great stuff. I am also considering this as default setup for new PCs across the org to keep inspiring photos from our (nonprofit education) work in front of staff.
    HOWEVER, my flickr feed is showing some images sideways on the desktop – those images taken with the camera at 90 degrees.
    The original photo comes out in the RSS feed and Windows is ignoring the EXIF data in the photo about rotation. Flickr itself autorotates the images when displaying them in the photostream, based on the data in the photo from the camera’s rotation sensor, but NOT the full size image in the RSS.

    Here is the flickr autorotation setting: http://www.flickr.com/account/prefs/autorotate/
    More info about this: http://www.flickr.com/help/forum/84301/?search=rotated
    The feed I am using is a tag feed in this format: http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne?id=FLICKRUSERID@N00&tags=TAGNAME&lang=en-us&format=atom

    Any solutions out there? Post processing somewhere like YPipes? A way to get Windows to use the EXIF data to rotate?
    (Pixelpipe will do this pre-processing, but I already have photos in Flickr: http://getsatisfaction.com/pixelpipe/topics/auto_rotate_images)
    Otherwise the only solution is probably turning off Flickr autorotate and manually rotating the images, either in flickr or before upload. http://www.pilpi.net/software/JPEG-EXIF_autorotate.php or http://annystudio.com/software/jpeglosslessrotator/

    • MrGroove April 30, 2010 at 9:38 am #

      Yeah…. I’ve run into this problem before when looking at pictures on my home TV using the original XBOX Extender and Windows Media Center. My only solution at the time was to rotate the images in advance…. Not pretty and not fun I know.

      Sorry man.. On the other side however, very cool application of the tool!

  5. joe May 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    the problem here is that it downloads 5 images from the rss feed, stores them in a temporary folder, and then never downloads any more. so you’re stuck with the same 5 images forever.

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