Fix: An error is preventing this slideshow from playing on Windows

Windows operating systems contain a slideshow mechanism which allows the users to play a set of pictures when their computer is idle instead of patterns or the monitor going off to sleep. This adds to the customization of the PC. This feature has been there in Windows dating back to Windows XP.

Despite its old age, there have been numerous reports that the slideshow throws an error “An error is preventing this slideshow from playing”. This mostly occurs when the path to pictures folder is either not mapped correctly (including shortcuts) or there are configuration problems. We will go through all the solutions starting with the most popular one.

What causes the error ‘An error is preventing this slideshow from playing’?

There can be several random problems which cause this error message ranging from power to slideshow configurations. The most common root issues include:

  • Power settings dictate how the computer reacts when it is left idle for a period of time. If these are not set correctly, it might cause the error message.
  • The default Pictures folder may sometimes cause discrepancies. This is the default folder which is selected to fetch all the photos from.
  • In some rare cases, the image extension raises the issue. If the pictures are in formats like ‘PNG’, this might pop the error message.
  • If you are using a custom folder, make sure it is not a shortcut. Shortcuts bring a problem to the mapping of pictures and may cause the computer to redirect to the original location where it might induce the error message.
  • Windows essential 2012 might be corrupt. This is the main module which oversees the slideshow mechanism.

Solution 1: Using a specific folder for pictures

This error might occur if you use the default folder for displaying pictures on your computer. The default ‘Pictures’ folder is where all your pictures are saved automatically whether they are imported or download. Making a new folder, moving your pictures there and then pointing to it might solve the issue.

  1. Move all the pictures which you want to display in your slideshow to a new folder.
  2. Once you have made a folder, press Windows + S, type “screen saver” and open the application.

  1. Click on Settings on the main window and select Browse from the new window that pops up. Now navigate to the location where your pictures are saved and press OK. Save your changes and exit. Restart your computer and see if the issue still persists.

Solution 2: Forcefully initializing Slide Show

If the above method doesn’t work, you can try forcefully initializing the slideshow on your computer. The windows explorer has a default option of initiating a slideshow on any pictures folder. However, we will try pointing towards the default pictures application from the screen saver options and force the slide slow.

  1. Make sure that the screen saver settings are pointing towards the default pictures application on your computer and there are pictures present in it.
  2. Open Libraries > Pictures using Windows Explorer (Windows + E) and click on Manage from the top of the window.

  1. Now left-click Slideshow. After a few actions by the OS, you will either see the slideshow on your screen or the box will close. If this happens, press Windows and click the Photos icon The issue should be resolved.

Solution 3: Checking the file path

If you are pointing to a custom directory, you should make sure that the path you are pointing to exists. If you are using a shortcut to access the photos, you should point to a proper folder instead. Shortcuts can cause issues when Windows tries to extract pictures from there.

To check the path where the screen saver is pointing, follow the steps 2-3 from Solution 1. Once you have changed the file path of the pictures, restart your computer completely and try initiating the screen saver again. Check if the issue is solved.

Solution 4: Checking picture file format

If you are using images such as PNG(Portable network graphics) etc. for the screensaver, this can pop the error message. For windows to run your screen saver photos smoothly, you should ensure that you have pictures of a good and common format on your computer. You can change the existing pictures to formats like JPEG using the paint application. Follow the steps below.

  1. Right-click on the image and select Open with > Paint.

  1. Click File > Save as > JPEG and save the image in JPEG format in the correct folder. Make sure that you delete the older version of the picture.

  1. Restart your computer and try initiating the slideshow again.

Solution 5: Repairing Windows Essentials 2012

Windows Essentials is part a suite of Microsoft freeware in which the slideshow mechanism is contained. If this module is corrupt or misconfigured, you might be experiencing this error. We can try repairing the module from the application manager and see if this gets rid of the error under discussion. Make sure that you logged in as an administrator.

  1. Press Windows + R, type “appwiz.cpl” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
  2. Once in the application manager, type “Essentials” in the dialogue box. Select the application and click Uninstall/Change.

  1. Select the option of Repair and click Continue. After the operating system is done repairing, restart your computer and check if the issue is solved.

In addition to the above solutions, you can also:

  • Make sure that the screen saver settings are set correctly in your power options. If the power options do not allow for screensavers, you might not be able to view any of your pictures as screensavers.
  • You can also try alternatives like Google Picasa for slideshows. Although it is depreciated, it still works great with more tweaking options as compared to the native Windows screen saver applications.

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.