NASA Image of the Day As Your Desktop!

18,213

135

34

Introduction: NASA Image of the Day As Your Desktop!

About: I am a student in high school who likes to make robots and program things in my free time. I usually design parts in Fusion 360 to go with the electronics, and usually develop on the AVR platform (mostly Ardui…

Hello everyone! Welcome to my first instructable. In this instructable, I will show you how to make a program that changes your computer’s desktop to the most recent NASA Image of the Day. These images are always stunning and the program really adds to your desktop appearance.

The NASA Image of the Day is a wonderful source of images from Earth, inside NASA, and distant galaxies. The images are always full of color, and I have yet to see one that does not go perfectly on a 1080p or less display.

This instructable contains directions for Windows 10 and the files included should mostly be usable for other similar operating systems, but it does require Java.

All files and releases are available, open-source, on my GitHub.

I hope you enjoy and learn a lot from my first instructable. If you have any advice for me, I’d love to hear it!

Update 3/27/19: Due to a new Chrome update, using the image slideshow may cause Chrome windows to flicker. This may be solved in future updates, but for now, you can set the slideshow time to one day to lower the amount the window flickers. (Solution from Chris N.) If you do set the time to one day, you can ignore the Windows Registry step.

Update 8/11/20: Version 2 is done! The biggest change is that it now corrects color issues that would happen with certain image formats.

Step 1: Set Up the Files

Start by creating a location where the images and JAR file will be. I just put my files in the folder "images" on my desktop. Download the iotd_refresh.jar file (the latest and its source code can both be found here), and put it in the folder.

Opening your startup folder by: (Windows) Opening the run dialog (type [Windows Key] + R) and typing “shell:startup” without quotes then hit enter. (Apple) Opening System Prefrences -> Users & Groups -> Login Items, then clicking '+' and finding the JAR file.

Items in startup will automatically run when you log in. If you won't be turning off your computer often, then you can skip this step and see the step later on how to manually schedule the program.

Right-click on the JAR file you just downloaded and click "Send to..." -> "Desktop". This will create a shortcut to the file on your desktop.

Move the shortcut you just created from your desktop to the startup folder.

That's it for file setup! Now for getting your computer to use it.

Step 2: Get the First Images

Now we’ll work on the folder you created earlier.

Run the JAR file by double-clicking it. If you have Java properly installed, it should run without errors, and two new files named “img” and “img2” should pop up. Running it again should keep both files.

Step 3: Change Settings

Now that the files are set up, the only thing left to do is apply the settings.

Windows: Go to your desktop, right-click, and select “Personalize.” On Windows 8-10 this will open the Settings window (pictured above), but on Windows 7 it should open the Control Panel.

Apple: Go to System Prefrences -> Desktop & Screen Saver

Within the settings, you need to change a few options:

  • Under the “Background” option, set the drop-down box to “Slideshow.”
  • Under the “Choose a Fit” menu, I selected Span, since I find that is looks the best (it will resize the image so that it is cut off at the sides, so the photo will be cut down, but there won’t be any black bars or stretching of the image.
  • Select the folder you created which contains the images using the “Browse” button under the “Choose albums for your slideshow” section.
  • You'll want the picture to change once a day.

Step 4: Scheduling Events

If you don’t want to turn your computer off often, you can use task scheduling.

Use Windows Task Scheduler:

1. Open the run dialog and type “Taskschd.msc.”

2. In the Actions pane to the right of the Task Scheduler window, click on “Create Basic Task…”

3. Give your new task a name and, if you want, a description.

4. After clicking next, select daily, click next, choose the time you want the photo refresh to be executed, then click next.

5. In this section, select the radio “Start a program,” then click next.

6. Now, either manually enter the location of the “Refresh Image.jar” file, or use browse to find it.

Click next, then Finish.

Step 5: Done!

That's it! I hope you liked this instructable, and I hope everything in it works. I may not be able to help with some problems related to setting this up, but if I can, I'd be glad to help. Please give me any advice on this instructable, too if you'd like. Thanks for reading through, and have a nice day!

1 Person Made This Project!

Recommendations

  • Plastic Contest

    Plastic Contest
  • The 1000th Contest

    The 1000th Contest
  • Battery Powered Contest

    Battery Powered Contest

34 Discussions

0
Salty96
Salty96

Question 11 months ago

I am not step four with the registry settings. When i go into desktop slideshow I do not have an option to edit the interval. I am looking at files names
(Default)
LastTickHigh
LastTickLow

Any help would be appreciated. I can get the image to update by a manual refresh.

0
adrien.hagege.5
adrien.hagege.5

3 years ago

Errr I got a lil issue : The taskmanager won't run the jar file !

Here are the settings I set up :

- Run wether user is logged or not

- Trigger : on connection to user session (on local connection to any user session) -> so it refresh everytime I log on, that's because I dont often turn my computer off. (maybe the 'log on' isn't when I log on from 'sleep' ?)

I checked the jar file path ofc

Ask for any setup you need !

Also, it doesnt work when I run the task on demand

0
Steele Maker
Steele Maker

Reply 3 years ago

If you manually run the .jar file with administrator privileges, does it show up in Task Manager, and, if so, does it give an error? If the program shows up and no error boxes open, is it not changing the image in the folder it is placed, or is your OS not updating the desktop?

0
adrien.hagege.5
adrien.hagege.5

Reply 3 years ago

The task is continuously ran in the TM but the jar just doesn't open, even if the task is manually run or not. When I run the jar file in the folder location, the pics then the wallpaper are updated. I think the issue is the TM that can not run the task..

0
dkutsaro
dkutsaro

3 years ago

It worked out great.

How to add a proxy server?

Thank You.

0
AtharvaTagalpallewar

It worked out great for me. The images are wonderful. Thank You

0
adrien.hagege.5
adrien.hagege.5

3 years ago

Hello, so how is it to be the autor of the 'potential' best Instructables ?

'Potential' because I have one issue : the jar file won't launch and create the img used by the bat file. Please can you help me on that ?

I also noticed that my Registry doesn't save the changes : the value '1000' is saved but not the Decimal tick, it stays on the Hexodecimal box when I close and open it again. Not sure if it has it's importance..

Thanks in advance !

0
AtharvaTagalpallewar
AtharvaTagalpallewar

Reply 3 years ago

Try renaming the .jar file to "Refresh Image.jar" (without quotes). This helped me as the name of the file attached is Refresh Image v1.2.jar but in the .bat file it is specified as "Refresh Image.jar".

Hope it helps

0
AtharvaTagalpallewar
AtharvaTagalpallewar

Reply 3 years ago

Also remove the + sign while renaming.

0
Steele Maker
Steele Maker

Reply 3 years ago

If the jar file won't create the file, it is possible that the version of Java on your computer isn't up to date, but it seems more likely that the jar file doesn't have access to change the folder. You can try right clicking and selecting "Run as Administrator" or just moving it to a different folder such as your desktop and trying it there. Do any error boxes show up when it runs?

Also, the registry won't save that setting. As long as the decimal number stays the same.

0
adrien.hagege.5
adrien.hagege.5

Reply 3 years ago

I checked the version of Java.

I don't have the option when I right click on it, but I have all the permissions as checked in the file properties. I had error boxes once when I tried to execute it, but the image spawned anyway. Now, I don't have any, and the image doesn't show up even if I move the jar file to the desktop. Strange huh ?

Thanks for answering btw !

0
adrien.hagege.5
adrien.hagege.5

Reply 3 years ago

Also it doesnt work for both Refresh+image.jar and Refresh+imageV1.2.jar files

Im on W10

0
Steele Maker
Steele Maker

Reply 3 years ago

Another possibility that
I've noticed is that the .jar file might have a network issue that doesn't
result in a visible error. A slow connection or a network-side firewall might be the
issue. Does the Command Prompt window stay open when it first runs, or does it
close quickly? Also, do you know if the error you got was in writing the image or
if it was in getting the RSS?

0
adrien.hagege.5
adrien.hagege.5

Reply 3 years ago

Ok, so it was the firewall, I allowed java.exe and it looks like it is working now.

Btw the Command prompt closed quickly and I dont remember the error, but I might be linked with the firewall issue !

In any case, that makes you the author of the best Instructables imo !

0
adrien.hagege.5
adrien.hagege.5

Reply 3 years ago

And thank you of course !

0
RyanG237
RyanG237

3 years ago

Nice tutorial,

I'm having difficulty getting the desktop background to change, i cant seem to set slideshow with only one image on windows 7.

All the other bits work, the image gets replaced with the new one just doesn't come onto desktop.

Any ideas please?

0
Steele Maker
Steele Maker

Reply 3 years ago

Do you know if your slideshow changes when there are multiple images in the folder?

0
RyanG237
RyanG237

Reply 3 years ago

Hey, Yes it works when i select more than one image, i dont have the ability to select a folder like in the tutorial just individual images.

0
Steele Maker
Steele Maker

Reply 3 years ago

I don't have any access to a PC with Windows 7, so I can't test it, but I just updated the file to instead keep two files instead of deleting one. This should work, just select both files after running the program once.

0
Leomazz
Leomazz

3 years ago

I've been wanting this so long..... lol. Thank you so much! Made my day.... or... may I say...my (every)day... =)