Random distortions

Skip this wallpaper slideshow If you're running newer versions of Windows.

Random BackGround from RealityRipple is a free desktop wallpaper utility. It displays a randomized slideshow of selected images that changes at regular preset intervals. It can handle JPEG, GIF, DIB, and BMP images. It does its job well enough, but it's a step back from the built-in wallpaper features in the latest Windows offerings.

When we installed and opened Random BackGround in Windows 7, a warning message appeared and the setup closed. However, when we left-clicked the program's system tray icon, we got a file menu. We clicked New Background with no luck, but clicking Settings opened a rather small and awkward dialog with a drop-down list for selecting a drive and a tree view for browsing to a folder of images. Another drop-down list let us select to change the picture in intervals ranging from 10 seconds to a day, or never. We suspected that the program's start-up balkiness was caused by the Run on Startup box, which is selected in the default configuration. We deselected it and left unchecked the box to Associate the program with images, and clicked OK. Random BackGround quickly altered our wallpaper to a randomly selected image, but unfortunately the image was distorted to fill our wide-screen desktop, with no way to select a center, tile, or other display option. The image changed on schedule, though. We closed Random BackGround, right-clicked our desktop, clicked Personalize, and then clicked Desktop Background. Windows quickly let us choose images from a folder of thumbnails, select from several picture positions, and set transition time. We clicked Shuffle to randomize the display and clicked Save Changes. Windows displayed a nondistorted, nonpixelated image slideshow centered on our desktop that was superior in every way to Random BackGround's skewed display.

Random BackGround is freeware, and it works in just about every version of Windows from 95 to 7. Windows users with XP or later will probably prefer Windows' built-in feature; certainly we saw no reason to choose Random BackGround over what comes in Windows 7. For those who are still running older versions of Windows (and we know you're out there) it might be just the thing, though.

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