How to Set A Bing Wallpaper Desktop Slideshow In Windows 7

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BingLogoI still use Google as my default search engine, but I sure do love the stunning photographs Bing displays in its homepage. Bing and RSS-powered desktop wallpapers in Windows 7 are neat and cool, so why not combine them? How lovely if you could get new Bing images automatically as your desktop background!

One way to download Bing wallpaper images is by using Bing Downloader. You can also check out how to switch wallpapers automatically on all Windows platforms, or with our collection of wallpaper changer apps for Linux. But if you are using Windows 7, you don’t need a separate third-party application.

Long Zheng of I Started Something started the Bing Image Archive, where images shown by Bing to worldwide users are archived for your viewing (and downloading) pleasure. I asked him to get its RSS feed to work with Windows 7 desktop slideshows, and he was happy to oblige. So thanks to Long, we can now get a Bing powered desktop slideshow in Windows 7 in 4 easy steps.

BingArchive

Step 1: Create Theme File

Copy this text in Notepad or any text editor:

[[Theme]
DisplayName=Bing

[Slideshow]
Interval=1800000
Shuffle=1
RssFeed=http://feeds.feedburner.com/bingimages

[Control Panel\Desktop]
TileWallpaper=0
WallpaperStyle=0
Pattern=

[Control Panel\Cursors]
AppStarting=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_working.ani
Arrow=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_arrow.cur
Crosshair=
Hand=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_link.cur
Help=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_helpsel.cur
IBeam=
No=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_unavail.cur
NWPen=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_pen.cur
SizeAll=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_move.cur
SizeNESW=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_nesw.cur
SizeNS=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_ns.cur
SizeNWSE=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_nwse.cur
SizeWE=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_ew.cur
UpArrow=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_up.cur
Wait=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_busy.ani
DefaultValue=Windows Aero
Link=

[VisualStyles]
Path=%SystemRoot%\resources\themes\Aero\Aero.msstyles
ColorStyle=NormalColor
Size=NormalSize
ColorizationColor=0X6B74B8FC
Transparency=1

[MasterThemeSelector]
MTSM=DABJDKT

Step 2: Save Theme File

Save the file as “Bing.theme” on your desktop. Make sure you do not name it Bing.theme.txt accidentally.

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Step 3: Activate Bing Theme

Double-click the file to set it as your visual theme. In the Subscribe to RSS Feed? prompt, click Download Attachments.

SubscribeToRSSPrompt

That’s it! You should now see the Bing theme selected in the My Themes section.

BingThemeApplied

Step 4: Customize Slideshow Settings

You can customize the slideshow settings in the Desktop Background link at the bottom.

Slideshow Settings

You can choose these settings as you like. In resolutions higher than 800×600, the images look better if they are centered. Since the feed contains multiple images from around the world every day, set the slideshow to change pictures every few hours to see all the images.

Make Sure It Works

Depending upon the speed of your internet connection and other variables, it might take time for Windows to download the images. You might need to do these steps if you’ve not used Internet Explorer in Windows 7 too much. In any case, it is a good idea to double-check that the feed is set up correctly.

Start Internet Explorer, go to Tools->Explorer Bars->Feeds or press Ctrl-Shift-J. If you have activated the Bing theme, you should see the Feed URL already added. Click on the feed, so that Internet Explorer loads the feed page on the right.

Feed in Internet Explorer

If you see the following message:

AutoUpdatesMsg

Click Turn on automatic feed updates. Click Yes in the prompt dialog, so that you don’t need to run Internet Explorer to get your Bing wallpapers.

AutoFeedUpdatesPrompt

Now you should see images downloaded from the feed. If you wish, you can view the feed properties by clicking the link on the right.

FeedProperties

Remember that the Automatically download attached files box should be checked. You can click View Files to see the downloaded images.

Finally, sometimes the theme does not change images even though they are downloaded. Simply right-click on the desktop, select Next desktop background. A logout/login also forces a refresh of the theme.

More Cool Wallpaper Feeds

For the RSS powered desktop slideshow to work in Windows 7, the RSS feed needs to have images in an enclosure item. Thus, for example, Deviant Art feeds did not work at the time of this writing. But you can enjoy Flickr feeds! Simply replace RSSFeed= with the URL of your choice and set DisplayName= with whatever you like in the theme file you created in Notepad. You can set your own favorite feed in Flickr, or here are a few you might want to check out:

  • Flickr Wallpapers 1024×768: http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/groups_pool.gne?id=40961104@N00&lang=en-us&format=rss_200
  • Flickr Wallpapers 1200×800: http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/groups_pool.gne?id=78305319@N00&lang=en-us&format=rss_200
  • Flickr Wallpapers 1680×1050: http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/groups_pool.gne?id=594506@N20&lang=en-us&format=rss_200

Do you enjoy your new wallpapers? Let us know in the comments!

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30 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Bing Wallpaper

If you like Bing wallpapers, please check out bing-wallpaper.com.

You will see everyday Bing wallpapers of its worldwide sites. You can also view and download past Bing wallpapers.

shraqs

Thanks for the link. Appreciate it

mottey

Too bad their isn’t an rss feed for this feed…
Long Zheng’s Bing feed just gives me feed normalization error!

Reply

dub

I’m trying out Windows 7 on a laptop with only a gig of RAM, so I use basic themes instead of Aero. I’ve looked at the C:\Windows\Cursors directory and tried to match up the filenames (basically removing ‘aero_’ from the filename), but haven’t had much success. Can you post the text for a ‘bing.theme’ for us poor people using basic themes? With only so much RAM, I don’t mind opaque windows…

Reply

dub

Ah, I should have played around more before posting. All I had to do was go revert to the basic theme and go to Personalization -> Desktop Background and select the dropdown for ‘http://feeds.feedburner.com/bingimages’. So easy.

I blame it on the Evan Williams.

Reply

Mahendra Palsule

@dub: Glad you got it working! The glitch in Windows RSS Framework as implemented in Win7 is that the dropdown is not available on a Win7 default install, until you activate a RSS-powered theme.

Reply

whizkid

Excellent post! was looking around for this information for quite some time..

Reply

anonymous

does it work on vista?

Mahendra Palsule

@anonymous: No, unfortunately it doesn’t. The Windows RSS Framework is first implemented in Windows 7.

ahdman

Could I use any RSS address for this wallpaper??

Mahendra Palsule

As mentioned in the last section, this works only with RSS Feeds that have images in an {enclosure} tag. Best way is to try it out and see if it works!

Reply

SOHIN

How to do it for Vista ?

Reply

Adam

When I double-click the .theme file and the Theme control panel comes up, the icon for the theme does not include the RSS logo as part of it as shown in your screenshot. The images do not download. I have verified the attachments checkbox is checked and that the feed is synching in IE8. Any suggestions on where to look next?

Mahendra Palsule

Adam,

1. Did you get the ‘Subscribe to RSS’ prompt and clicked Download Attachments?
2. Are you seeing the images on the right in IE8?

If the answer to both is yes, I don’t see why it is not working. If not, try creating the theme file from scratch.

Adam

Had to delete everything and now it works. I did that before but this time I even deleted the RSS feed from IE. That’s the only thing different, but it works. Thank you!

Reply

Cap

Thanks for the instructions Mahendra. Quick question though, I notice the feed has only aggregated the last 10 images/items, is there a way to go much further back? I’m guessing for those that want older images showing up in the feed will have to request Long to change the feed setting so that it shows more items per feed.

Reply

Mahendra Palsule

Cap: You guessed right. Unless Long changes the feed settings, there is no way you can go further back. Once you’ve subscribed to it however, you will get all the images from that point onwards.

We need to be grateful to Long for providing this for free!

Aaron

Any chance you can get country specific rss feeds made? The RSS feed that is currently being used is great but pulls all of the Bing pictures from all of its counties (US. UK, AUS, JPN ex…) Looking back in the archives the same picture is used on the same or differnt days in each country, so when I first subscribed to the feed I got 10 photos only 4 of then were unique. By clicking the individual countries flag on http://www.istartedsomething.com/bingimages/ you get only that countries photos. Is there anyway we can get an rss feed of that made?

Reply

Jason

Try Bing Wallpaper Downloader: http://www.bing-wallpaper.com/download.html

It will do everything automatically for you: download all the wallpapers (including old ones) and set them as your desktop wallpaper.

Reply

Jack Jackson

A very useful tips, I also love with bing and I will apply this on my windows 7.

Reply

diagg

hi, i just made an RSS FEED to bring interfacelift.com to the desktop :http://zany-openeyes.blogspot.com/2009/11/interfaceliftcom-on-desktop.html

Reply

Chris

I would love to have this in high resolution (I’m running 1920×1080). MS released a Best of Bing theme, which came with the high-res images. Anyone have an idea where to get the daily image in high-res?

Reply

dr3d

Hi – great article! However I couldn’t get the Flickr wallpaper feeds to work – wasn’t getting enclosured jpgs. So I changed &format=rss_200 to &format=atom in the URLs. Works fine now! Thanks again!

* Flickr Wallpapers 1024×768

* Flickr Wallpapers 1200×800

* Flickr Wallpapers 1680×1050

Mahendra Palsule

@dr3d: Thanks for sharing the info!

Reply

adigayu

thanks for it

Reply

E. Wormuth

What am I doing wrong? When I double-click on the notepad file saved on my desktop, the notepad document just comes up. I must be missing a step somewhere.

E. Wormuth

I see what the problem is — I should save the file as Bing.theme, rather than Bing.theme.txt. But in Windows 7, I can’t see an option to save without the .txt — can you advise how to do that?

Mahendra Palsule

@E. Wormuth: From the “Save as type:” drop-down, choose “All Files (*.*)”.

Reply

E. Wormuth

Thanks — I’ve got it.

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