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John’s Background Switcher 4.2 Released!


John's Background SwitcherEvery time I start work on a new version of John’s Background Switcher I’m full of optimism that I’ll be able to add hundreds of new amazing features, take it to previously unheralded levels and of course fix all the bugs in the previous version. And of course every time life gets in the way.

I maintain a list of every idea and suggestion I get for JBS along with lots of things I’ve thought of and would like JBS to do and my ultimate plan is to implement all the good ideas and quietly brush the bad ones under the carpet. However since I have this unfortunate financial situation where I have to work during the day to keep a roof over my head it leaves only my spare time to develop JBS. So unless I win the lottery I have to pick and choose what I spend my time doing to JBS and in this version I’ve concentrated on bug fixes (shed loads of bug fixes), performance improvements (particularly when using folders of pictures on your machine) and three very useful features.

Firstly, I’ve added support to what has now become my favourite wallpaper site – Vladstudio. Vladstudio wallpapers are created by digital artist Vlad Gerasimov and once you start using them for your desktop you won’t bother using any other picture source if you’re anything like me. If you’re a registered Vladstudio user you can enter your credentials into JBS and benefit from the full-sized non-branded wallpapers. If not you’ll still see high resolution wallpapers and I’m sure soon enough you’ll be signing up yourself! Speaking of which, if you sign up for a lifetime Vladstudio account using the code ‘JBS’ (without the quotes) you can get it for $19.99 instead of $29.99 – a bargain! (Note: I don’t benefit financially in any way from the offer, I just love the wallpapers and I’m sure you will too!).

Next I’ve added support for downloaded Webshots pictures and collections. If you’ve previously been a Webshots Desktop user you’ll no doubt have a large number of pictures and collections either downloaded or created with the application. You’ll no doubt also have found that without Webshots Desktop there’s not a lot you can do with them. No longer. If you add either Webshots pictures or collections to a picture list in JBS, or if you add a folder containing any of these files then JBS will magically start choosing from the originals as if they were just regular pictures. Pretty cool huh?

Finally, JBS is now available in English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese-Brazilian and Japanese (even thought I don’t understand a word, the JBS user interface looks very cool in Japanese). I’d like to take a minute to thank the JBS users who’ve taken the time out to help translate the 750 phrases JBS uses into their own language for the benefit of all the other people out there who can now use JBS in their native tongue. So maximum respect to Albert, Sidnei, Erix, Thierry, Niels, Lorenz, Nico, Asabukuro and the other translators who helped out when they could. It’s very much appreciated!

Anyway, if you’re a current John’s Background Switcher user then it’s a recommended upgrade – just run it over the top of the current version. And if you’re bored of the same old background on your Windows PC or you’re a Windows 7 user who wants more than just local pictures that the built-in desktop slideshow offers, then go and download John’s Background Switcher now!  And for the full details you can read the full release notes too.

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Creator of John's Background Switcher. Scotsman, footballer, photographer, dog owner, risk taker, heart breaker, nice guy. Some of those are lies.

32 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Now I’m back running a Windows install in anger on the laptop (under Fusion thankfully) time to download JBS again 😉 Looking forward to seeing the changes since the last time I used it.


  2. I am seriously amazed you find the time – bravo and great job!


    • Thanks! 🙂 Not quite sure where I find the time either – it probably explains why I’m tired most of the time!


  3. It’s cool, it works, it’s fantastic. Thanks a lot.

    (one note though: I had the previous version installed “for me” (as opposed to “for everyone”) and when running the installer for 4.2 I clicked “for everyone” – this erased my settings on the new version. Dunno if this is me who is as usual somehow different or if this is a rule. My settings were so complicated that it took me a whole 2 minutes to have them back :))


    • The only difference when you check that checkbox to install for all is that the installer creates a shortcut in the ‘all users’ start menu rather than yours – it has no bearing on the actual running of JBS so not sure why your settings would disappear. Anyway, glad you’re up and running!


  4. finally i found an app what changes the background in vista automatically, i like that option in se7en, thank you very much. one little thing bugs me: nobody uses borders around his wallpaper, that doesn’t look really good. i did not find an option to disable it, so please add this in the next build (or remove the whole border stuff).


    • Have a look on the settings dialog at the ‘Picture mode’ drop-down list. By default ‘Scale pictures to fit the screen’ is chosen which will scale the picture up to fit the screen but won’t crop it, hence why you’re seeing borders. You can instead choose ‘Scale and crop to FULL screen’ which will do exactly what it says or alternatively ‘Stretch pictures to fit the screen’ if you’re not bothered about maintaining the aspect ratio of the pictures. Have a look at the thumbnails next to the picture modes, they give you an idea of what you’ll see.


  5. Pingback: » Fresh Catch For May 19th

  6. Love the product but question the selection of background colors when a picture doesn’t fill the screen (portrait shots). It looks like you try to pick a color that matches the photo but it really distracts from the overall effect. I would like to see the user’s default screen color used instead. That way, if you wanted a black or blue background it would always be there. Thanks for a great product!


    • Easy! Go to the ‘Picture Handling’ section of ‘More Settings’, then change ‘Use an automatically chosen colour for picture borders’ to ‘Use a custom colour for picture borders’ and select the colour of your choice!


  7. hi, i´m using the newest version of the program.
    Overall, i think it is great; i have only 1 problem: even if i have the option for fading bacground transitions and i have the aero activated, the background changes normally (without any effects), can someone help me? thnks
    I´m using windows vista home premium 32 bits and i have a windows 7 visual style installed with tune up styler.


    • The transition effect on Vista relies on an undocumented feature of Vista and as such isn’t guaranteed to work on all machines (although it does work on a high percentage). I’m not sure if style up tuner is preventing the transition effect from working, you could always try uninstalling it and seeing if that helps. However as I say the transition effect is not something that can be relied upon I’m afraid. The good news is that Windows 7 (which I’ve found to be superior to Vista in every way) has a transition effect built-in that JBS uses so it’ll always work!


    • The trouble with InterfaceLift is that they want you going to their site and clicking on the ads rather than using a tool like JBS to automatically grab their pictures for your background without visiting. You can use Google image searches to choose their pictures but it’s not as fine-grained as their site’s organisation structure.


  8. Thanks John, you’re JBS software is the one tool I always install first whenever I have to re-image a system. Best background changer ever, and one of the few free tools that actually has a very good version control and frequent updates! Thumbs up and a big thank you!


  9. Thanks for the hard work John. Your background switcher is fantastic. I think Microsoft would do good to hire you to knock some sense into them


    • Haha, thanks, but there are far more capable guys already at Microsoft and I’m sure that if they could justify it they could blow JBS out of the water. The difference is Microsoft only do things that will earn them money and I’m happy to do it for fun!


  10. I really love this program and of course I use it to look at what the Internet does best! I would love to see a key combination for “Never show again” though. Thanks for putting back the save pictures option. I don’t know how that Cashed picture browser thing works, I can have a ton of pictures in the JBS folder (under my pictures) and all I see are the RSS feed (which I don’t use(. Maybe it’s just me. Either way JBS is not Just B.S.! It’s Gooooood!


    • Ah, the cached picture browser only shows you pictures used in montages or mosaics so if you’re using a single picture per monitor then you can just browse to the folder you save them to in Windows explorer. Hopefully that makes it a bit clearer! Also, a shortcut is on the cards too!


  11. I am of Brazil and work in a company of the real estate branch, and then we start to look some solution so that wallpapers of automatic form was changed, when was a grateful surprise to find program JBS that made possible in them to make this through the Flickr, thus all the computers of the company (60+) has all simultaneously its wallpapers changed, also with daily acknowledgments

    Thanks John, I want to donate some dollars to help your project soon


  12. That is some awesome piece of kit you have developed there John!
    referring to luis e.’s comments, the transitional fade in-out I think will only work on Vista 64-bit Operating System not 32-bit.

    You could however, try re-writing & editing your XML file programs as this may be the stumbling block for us Vista 32-bit OS users.


    • Actually, the original machine I developed the fade functionality on was Vista 32-bit and I’ve tested it on few couple of others so I don’t think it’s specific to the version. It almost seems to be luck whether it works or not! And thanks!


  13. Well maybe one easy feature. The ability to turn off the switching option to “never.” I have just the right combination of four pictures up and it would be nice to be able to keep them longer than 7 days.

    Great work. Have a great New Year!


  14. Hope my comment doesn’t drop out this time. 🙂 I love your application and it is feature rich. I made an earlier suggestion the frequency for picture change include “never.” That way one’s pictures can be frozen indefinitely.

    Then another thought came along. What about an option to pick your specific pictures and say out of a set of four, you could pick which four are in what corner.

    Maybe this is already feasible and I am revealing my ignorance.

    Have a great New Year.


    • Ok, firstly you can just choose ‘Pause’ from the tray menu and JBS will leave your background alone – which means it’ll not change it until you select ‘Resume’.

      You can’t do the second one currently but more choice over how the montages are laid out (particularly with respect to multiple monitors) is on the list!

      You’re probably better hitting my support forum in future as things get easily lost in blog comments (although don’t worry, your comments are in my issue tracking system!).


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