Finestra and disappearing animated GIF desktop pictures

Jan 12, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Thank you for Finestra!

This desktop app works so well I almost feel selfish requesting a few features! I'd like to run an animated GIF (it's a "slideshow" of my family) on all my XP Pro's Finestra desktops like it does on my wife's Debian background, but though I can set set it up and it animates just fine, once I move to another screen or log off and return the GIF is gone, replaced by a "panel" of the original Bliss desktop theme. It occurs no matter the GIF's size or desktop color.


As a side issue, I'd like to know whether there's a way to have a desktop icon's title letters in white within its transparent text background  field? While experimenting I accidentally created a beautiful "shadowed" white text of my desktop icons but which I lost and can't repeat. Was this a fluke effect or re-doable?


Thanks for any advice!

Jim G

Jan 14, 2012 at 4:22 AM

I'm glad you like the program. Unfortunately, the answer to your first question about using GIF backgrounds is a little complicated. Windows XP doesn't actually support GIF wallpaper. The only way to emulate this is the use the remnants of an old feature called "Active Desktop" to make it display a web page as your background, and you specify the GIF image as the web page. In order to make Finestra work with Active Desktop, I would have to do a lot of work researching a feature that was deprecated before XP was even released. I forgot that you could even still get to the Web tab in XP, as it is no where near as fully featured as in older versions of Windows, and it has disappeared entirely from Vista and up. So, I'm sorry to say it, but this is one of those things that won't get fixed. If you want to use a slideshow on your desktop, I would highly recommend upgrading to Windows 7. Also, disabling per-desktop wallpaper should get it to stay put for now. If not, then I don't think it could be caused by Finestra.

If you disable Active Desktop by specifying a normal wallpaper image (through the Desktop tab of the display control panel), you can re-enable icon text shadows if you go to the System control panel, then go to the Advanced tab, click Settings inside of the Performance box, and check "Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop". It is actually on by default in new installations of XP, and it gets disabled by Active Desktop.

I hope this helps!

Jan 14, 2012 at 4:54 AM
On 1/13/2012 11:22 PM, zhuman wrote:

From: zhuman

I'm glad you like the program. Unfortunately, the answer to your first question about using GIF backgrounds is a little complicated. Windows XP doesn't actually support GIF wallpaper. The only way to emulate this is the use the remnants of an old feature called "Active Desktop" to make it display a web page as your background, and you specify the GIF image as the web page. In order to make Finestra work with Active Desktop, I would have to do a lot of work researching a feature that was deprecated before XP was even released. I forgot that you could even still get to the Web tab in XP, as it is no where near as fully featured as in older versions of Windows, and it has disappeared entirely from Vista and up. So, I'm sorry to say it, but this is one of those things that won't get fixed. If you want to use a slideshow on your desktop, I would highly recommend upgrading to Windows 7. Also, disabling per-desktop wallpaper should get it to stay put for now. If not, then I don't think it could be caused by Finestra.

If you disable Active Desktop by specifying a normal wallpaper image (through the Desktop tab of the display control panel), you can re-enable icon text shadows if you go to the System control panel, then go to the Advanced tab, click Settings inside of the Performance box, and check "Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop". It is actually on by default in new installations of XP, and it gets disabled by Active Desktop.

I hope this helps!


Thank you for your swift reply!

I'm a non-techie home school teacher (why we can't afford to upgrade all our donated XP machines to Win 7), but I got to thinking as I played with the GIF issue; This might sound like a cheat fix, but if there were a way to have the program simply "reload" or "renew" the animated GIF every time it got the signal that you had logged off and were coming back into the screen with the GIF and hence "reactivated" it and its animation, it might prove a way easier "fix" without re-engineering the program. Just a thought!

I'll check out your text shadows solutions shortly!

Thanks a trillion!

Jim G