About the screensaver

So you downloaded Google Screensaver and think it is pretty cool right? Well yeah, but it may not be doing what you expect with the photo feeds feature. If you haven’t noticed, using the photo feeds setting DOES NOT mean that the screensaver serves as an RSS reader that automatically looks for updates to the feed. I guess the guys at Google didn’t think this was a priority, but I have people asking me every five minutes “Do you know why the pictures are not updating in my screensaver?”

Technical talk

Well, when you setup the screen saver preferences to use photo feeds, a local copy of the images specified in the feed is stored on your computer. The screensaver never looks on the web again for updates to the photo albums. The only way the screensaver will update the images for your screensaver is if you delete the image cache under the Google Application Data directory (usually found under C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\GBScreensaver\imgcache\ on a Windows machine). When the screensaver loads up again after deleting the cached images, it will look at the RSS feed again and grab the latest images.

The work-around

So how you can get updated images from your online photo albums without manually going into the screensaver and updating the feeds everytime you want an update? Easier said than done.

  1. First you need a script or a batch file that will clean out the images and rss file from the Google Screensaver image cache directory (mentioned above).
  2. Next you need to run a scheduled task (however often you want to update the images) against that batch file.

That’s all you have to do! Oh, so you want the code huh? Ok, here is the DOS code you need for the batch file (if you are working with Windows). The scheduled task part of it is up to you.

Batch File Code

:: change to C drive

:: get current logged in username and go to that directory
cd C:\Documents and Settings\
set gsUser=%username%
cd %gsUser%

:: go to the google screensaver image cache directory
cd Local Settings\Application Data\Google\GBScreensaver\imgcache\

:: delete the cached files for the screensaver
DEL /Q *.jpg
DEL /Q *.xml
DEL /Q /A S *.ini
DEL /Q /A S *.db

:: NOTE: we must specify that the .ini and .db files are system files otherwise they will not be deleted
:: also the delete statement must have separate lines for each file type, otherwise if all of the .jpg files is missing for instance, then the .xml files will not be deleted if the delete statement were written like so: DEL /Q *.jpg *.xml