FIX: An error is preventing this slideshow from playing

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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  • The screensaver doesn’t always work as it should and you occasionally end up with an error message stating that An error is preventing this slideshow from playing.
  • To fix this, you may edit the photo file titles in the source folder or change the folder source for the slideshow.
  • The best slideshow makers are often error-free. You can also play slideshows by using Adobe Spark and chances are it will turn into your top pick for graphic creation.
  • We have a dedicated Windows 10 Errors Hub that will help you troubleshoot other issues you are experiencing.
Fix error is preventing slideshow from playing

Windows includes an image slideshow screensaver that you can showcase your fave photos with.

However, that screensaver doesn’t always work. Moreover, it occasionally throws up the same error message stating that An error is preventing this slideshow from playing.

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Consequently, the screensaver doesn’t display any image slideshow. These are a few resolutions that can fix the slideshow screensaver in Windows 10.

What can I do if slideshow won’t play?

  1. Play slideshows by using Adobe Spark instead
  2. Check the Desktop Background settings
  3. Edit the photo file titles in the source folder
  4. Change the folder source for the slideshow
  5. Repair Windows Essentials Program
  6. Add Google Picasa to Windows

1. Play slideshows by using Adobe Spark instead

Adobe Spark

As a quick reminder, Adobe Spark is often used to create unique graphics, engaging web pages, and even short videos.

As convenient as the image slideshow screensaver offered by Windows really is, creating graphics for social media and enjoying slideshows is extremely intuitive while using Adobe Spark too.

That’s your chance to enjoy free professionally designed fonts and themes and even to create animated videos without needing any After Effects skills.

Just upload your videos, add text, music, and voiceovers to create your very own animated masterpiece in minutes.

Moreover, all slideshow issues and bugs that you often have to deal with are gone for good when using a professional software tool.

As for that simplistic UI, it will help you work in Adobe Spark like a breeze.

Download Adobe Spark free here


2. Check the Desktop Background settings

Windows 10 includes Desktop background settings on its Power Options window with which you can pause, or switch off the slideshow screensaver.

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Firstly, check that those settings aren’t configured to paused. You can adjust those settings as follows.

  1. Press the Win key + X hotkey to open the menu shown directly below.
  2. Select Power Options to open further settings.
  3. Click Additional power settings to open the window in the snapshot directly below.
  4. Click Change plan settings to open the plan options shown directly below.
  5. Select Change advanced power settings to open the window in the snapshot directly below.
  6. Click Desktop background settings and Slide show to expand the options as shown in the shot below.
  7. Now select Available on the Plugged in and On battery drop-down menus.
  8. Press the Apply button and click OK.

3. Edit the photo file titles in the source folder

Editing file titles is another way to fix the image screensaver. Edit the file titles in the slideshow’s image source folder so that none of them are longer than 12 characters. In addition, erase symbols from the file titles.

You can edit any file title in File Explorer by right-clicking the file and selecting Rename.


4. Change the folder source for the slideshow

It might be the case that you’ve deleted the current source folder for the image slideshow or selected a Pictures subfolder in Libraries as the source. If so, selecting an alternative source folder might fix the slideshow.

This is how you can select an alternative slideshow path.

  1. Right-click the Windows 10 desktop and select Appearance > Screen Saver to open the window directly below.
  2. Next, press the Settings button for the Windows Live Photo Gallery screensaver.
  3. Press the Browse button to select an alternative folder source for the slideshow.
  4. Press the OK button on the Browse For Folder window.
  5. Press the Save button.
  6. If you need to retain the same images in the slideshow, set up a new folder and move the pictures to that folder. Then select the new folder as the slideshow source.

5. Repair Windows Essentials Program

Windows Essentials is a suite of apps that Windows Live Photo Gallery is a part of. Thus, repairing Windows Essentials might also fix the Live Photo Gallery image screensaver.

You can repair Essentials as follows:

  1. Press the Windows key + R to launch Run.
  2. Input appwiz.cpl in Run’s text box, and click the OK button. That will open the window in the snapshot directly below.
  3. Now enter ‘essentials’ in the search box as shown directly below.
  4. Select Windows Essentials 2012 or Windows Live Essentials suite, and press the Uninstall/Change button.
  5. Press the Yes button to confirm.
  6. Select the Repair option on the window shown directly below.
  7. Press the Continue button to repair and update your Essentials suite.

6. Add Google Picasa to Windows

There are alternatives to Windows 10’s image slideshow screensaver. Why not add a better picture slideshow screensaver to Windows instead?

Google Picasa includes its own photo screensaver that has more customization settings. Google isn’t supporting Picasa anymore, but it’s still great photo-cataloging software.

This is how you can add the Picasa screensaver to Windows.

  1. First, press the Download button on this webpage to save Picasa’s setup wizard.
  2. Open the setup wizard to install Picasa.
  3. Thereafter, you can select a Google Photos screensaver on the Screen Saver Settings window. So right-click the desktop, select Appearance and Screen Saver to open the window directly below.
  4. Select Google Photos Screensaver, and press the Settings button. That button will open the Google Photos screensaver settings shown directly below.
  5. Select the Specific folders on my computer checkbox, and press its Configure button.
  6. Select the source folders for your slideshow on the window shown directly above.
  7. Click the OK button to close the Folder Settings window.
  8. Select a transition from the Visual Effect drop-down menu.
  9. Press the OK button to close the Google Photo Screensaver window.
  10. Click Apply and OK to confirm your selected screensaver.

That’s how you can kick-start the Windows 10 image slideshow screensaver so that it displays your favorite snapshots once more. Remember that there are lots of software you can set up better slideshows with.

Check out this software guide for the best Windows 10 slideshow software.

FAQ: Learn more about slideshows in Windows 10

  • Can Google Photos do a slideshow?

Yes, it can do a slideshow. To display a Google Photos album as a slideshow, create an album with your best photos and use the tips from this dedicated guide.

  • What is the best program to use to make a slideshow with music?

Adobe Spark is by far the best program to use to make a slideshow with music. Take a look at our top picks from this handy list for more options.

  • How do I make a slideshow of pictures on my computer?

To make a slideshow of pictures on your computer, choose a comprehensive software tool with beautiful templates and no watermarks, as the ones found in this awesome article.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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