How to enable wallpaper Slideshow in Windows 10 and make it work on battery too

Surface Pro 3
Surface Pro 3 (Image credit: Windows Central)

We have already written a near volume on how to customize Windows 10 for the PC and laptop (link at the end). One of those is Slideshow, something I have never used until now. The concept is very straightforward. Create a folder of your favorite wallpaper and let the OS change them every X minutes. It is a fun way to keep your desktop looking fresh and even better if you just can't decide which wallpaper you like.

Besides showing you that, I'll also give you a quick tutorial on how to make it work while your laptop or Surface is not plugged into AC power. The reason? By default Slideshow only works on a plugged-in PC.

How to enable Slideshow

Enabling Slideshow is super simple. However, first you want to create a folder with all of your wallpaper that you want cycled. I recommend created a Slideshow folder under the Pictures folder. Once created, simply copy and paste (or move) all your images into that folder. You could even use a OneDrive folder if you please.

Remember, these wallpapers sync across all your Windows 10 devices, regardless if the wallpapers are on their drives too.

Now let's set up Slideshow.

1. Go to All Settings by clicking the Notification Center

2. Personalization

3. Background

4. Choose Slideshow from the background drop menu

5. Choose Browse

Navigate to your Slideshow folder that you created earlier to specify the directory

6. Set time interval

Under Change picture every choose your time preference of between 1 minute and 1 day. This selection is how often the OS auto-rotates your wallpaper. I elected for every 10 minutes for my system, but some of you may prefer just once a day. The choice is yours!

7. Choose a fit

This selection is purely optional. Most people opt for Fit under this setting. Although if you have a smaller wallpaper you may wish to Tile or Stretch.

As a neat bonus, if you are running a multi-monitor setup, each monitor runs a separate/different wallpaper from your image dump. I have to admit, it is rather fun seeing three separate wallpapers cycle on my home PC.

How to enable when not plugged in

By default, the Slideshow feature does not work when a laptop that is unplugged from AC power. The reason should be obvious: power savings.

It is not clear just how much energy is wasted in changing the wallpaper especially if it is just once an hour or more. Regardless, by default the OS puts the feature on pause until you plug the computer into a dedicated power source. So if you use Slideshow on your Surface Pro 3 and wonder why it is not changing…well, there you go.

You can, however, override this setting very simply using the OS tools. Just be aware that you are likely to impact your battery life, although it does not seem like a drastic action. Here we go!

1. Right-click on the Start menu

2. Choose Power Options

3. Change plan settings

Depending on which power plan is active (or all of them) choose Change plan settings

4. Advanced

Digging deeper, on this page you need to select Change advanced power settings

5. Desktop background settings

Under the section, Desktop background settings double click to expand the tree. You now see settings for Slideshow, one for On battery, another for Plugged in. Under On battery change the menu from Paused to Available. Now choose OK.

That is it! Now, Slideshow should run on your laptop or Surface regardless of the charging state. If, of course, you notice some worse battery life, you could simply retrace the steps above and put Slideshow back on Paused when on the battery.

My wallpaper

Finally, for those interested, the background images used in this article are from Michael Gillett (@MichaelGillett), and you can download it and others here from his OneDrive. I also often use the site Deviant Art and search for Windows 10.

How to customize your Windows 10 experience

For more resources, don't forget to check our Windows 10 help, tips, and tricks page. Or if you have any questions, you can always count post on our Windows 10 Forums at Windows Central for more help.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • See, no registry editing this time, that's more like it.
  • Dan that's unfair.... U deprived some people of a chance to comment.
    "Where can I get those wallpaper?"
  • On another, but similar topic.  Has anyone been able to add the "Fun Facts" from the Home edition to the Pro edition?  I believe this was "Spotlight" but seems to be only on the Home edition now.
  • Pretty sure hit hasn't be hacked yet. Also not sure why Pro doesn't have it. If anyone finds a way, let me know.
  • Yes, I'd love this too nothing been mentioned from Microsoft
  • Is there a way to enable slideshow and screensaver? They both disable each other. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • One good site for wallpaper download is InterfaceLIFT.  
  • Well... Nice to know
  • where is shuffle ? is missing.          
  • I couldn't find the shuffle either. Also, the folder you select doesn't seem to select all the files in sub folders. That didn't work for me, so I opened the old personalize program and set it there. I whined in the feedback app, so hopefully they add both.
  • sorry, but I have to shout: WHERE IS SHUFFLE?!?!?!? Shuffle was in Win7, but in current version of Win10 it's absent. I have this wonderful collection of more than 600 high resolution background images, collected during the years, and I am adding new ones each week. I love the background slideshow, but without shuffle the order is so bloody predictable that it loses all the charm. 
  • I found the solution buried a little deeper in Win10 - here is a description how to turn shuffle on: here are the moves you have to make: first,  keyboard command Win + R to launch the Run window secondly, copy paste this into the Run window: control /name Microsoft.Personalization /page pageWallpaper  thirdly, at the botton of the page that opens up you can check shuffle option, and it works
  • Love this articles :)
  • & also you can enable choose colors from wallpaper option , like this way your taskbar as well as action centre color also automatic changes with wallpapers . You can find it in colors option in personalization. I love to see different colors in transparent taskbar. It just blends in .. Try it
  • I wish they would let you snyc your W8.1 settings
  • Does anyone know how to make this work when the directory you choose has sub-folders?
  • Kind of off topic: So remember how we could have random Bing pictures as the lock screen during the technical preview? Is that option even present in the RTM? I can't find it anywhere.
  • Covered already. Look up Windows Spotlight. It's only on Home version and not in Pro, for whatever reason.
  • Everytime I click browse the browse window appears then quickly disappears and I can't click anything on the screen it freezes up, have to shutdown settings from the task manager, same when trying to attach something to an email. Anyone else with this problem?
  • In Windows 7, there was an option to change the wallpaper every 10 seconds. The minimum in Windows 10 is 1 min which is a bummer.
  • Try this.  This module lets you change the time to 10 seconds and you can choose to shuffle. Win Key + R control /name Microsoft.Personalization /page pageWallpaper
  • Thanks Mark. This did it. Funny how Microsoft chose to hide some obvious Control Panel options. Now if they only reduce the little lag when it changes the accent color automatically while changing the wallpaper, the experience will be even smoother. For me, the Start Menu has a little lag when the accent changes automatically.
  • Yes, WHY WHY WHY would they change something this basic and make it a chore to figure out how to go back to that option?  THANK YOU SO MUCH, Mark, for posting the solution.  I just don't understand why on earth they would change it to give us FEWER options in the new version.  Ridiculous. Why do they always do that stuff, screw with basic settings that people have been using for years and make all kinds of tasks more complicated.  THIS kind of thing is why we resisted upgrading for so long. Pisses me off.  (Thank you, I just needed to vent) 
  • To funny after all these years of using Windows I never used a slide show but set one up exactly like the article a few days ago, even named my folder slideshow in the pictures folder :) I have never customized my Windows user experience so much...must be a Windows 10 thing
  • How can I get the daily Bing picture as my Desktop?
  • Alas the option "automatically choose a theme color from the background" doesn't work (at least by me) -> When the wallpaper is automatically changed, the color isn't, nothing happens. Suppose it's another small bug/not-finished-thing that will be rectified!?
  • The themes I downloaded from Microsoft's website back then still work on Windows 10 and it changes seamlessly like on Windows 7. So looking for various wallpapers can be demanding at times. I suggest Windows central should take note of that as another option
  • Yes but you may notice that you can't choose which images to show from within that theme. It's all or nothing, unfortunately.
  • Or we can use the Bing Desktop
  • I wish the same thing. I think it is not yet available for Windows 10.
  • Twice I've clicked on Issues with Windows 10, and both times I've been taken to this Slideshow page. While I'm at it, the Windows Central app won't let me log in so that I can comment. It just keeps telling me 'Ok' each time I do log in, but then won't allow me to comment - it just takes me back to the log-in page.
    I am trying to get help with installation problems on my laptop. The installation on my PC went fine, but the laptop keeps stopping and reverting to Win 7.
    Sorry about all this in the wrong forum.
  • I have been playing this for a while and put the minimum time intervals and just stare at my desktop changed the background. It is the same as Win 8.1. I think it will be cool if its also available on Windows 10 Mobile. I love the Bing on my Lockscreen though.
  • Thanks, Daniel. I also hope that they bring back the option to select/de-select individual wallpapers from the slideshow within a theme as was allowed in previous versions of Windows.
  • When I use the slideshow and automatic color, the automatic color doesn't update as the wallpapers change. Instead it waits until I lock & unlock or reboot the PC. Pretty annoying compared to previous editions of Windows.
  • This didn't answer one question I have. If you download a theme from Microsoft for Windows 10 that has multiple images how do you those images to change? In Windows 8.1 the themes would change desktop images about once a day, yet in Windows 10 this is not happening. 
  • Using RUN control /name Microsoft.Personalization /page pageWallpaper to access the "old" personalization page does allow you to select which Theme pictures you want to show, It also allows you to set the display interval. When I selected Background ==> Picture in the Win 10 personalization page and then loaded a theme, the backgrounds changed at some random rate. It did not set Background ==> Slideshow and show the theme pictures. This needs to be fixed!
  • 1. Wallpaper sliddeshow wont let me choose anyother ffolder than pictures and 2. I cant edit my own themes ????!!!! Outstandingly crap!!
  • boooh! another missing Option in WIndows 10 ... now you have to copy/delete in a folder for slideshow. 8.1 got the Option to variate Your Picture in the Folder with chechboxes Maybe i don't know but how the how to that? anyway changed just every minute not 30 sec Desktop Background - Windows 10 VS. Windows 8.1 =  Winner  "Windows 8.1"  ( BACK IN THE DAYS WE WERE FREE!)
  • Have followed all the instructions listed here, and Slideshow doesn't start. What am I missing?
  • I've been on your page 4 times now, tried the easy steps that you have on your site to no avail.  The slide show won't work even folloeing your instructions to the letter.
  • If you haven't figured out how to do this yet in Windows 10, follow along: 1.  Right click on your desktop, select "personalize". 2. With background, select "slideshow" 3.  Choose the folder with all your pics in it. 4. decide how often to change the pic. 5. decide on "shuffle" 6.  Choose "fit" when choosing fit size.   DONE!  
  • Under Win7 it was possible to manually move from one slideshow picture to the next (you clicked a  right arrow in the notification area, as far as I recall).  Is it possible to do this under Win 10?