TrayBlank 1.9


TrayBlank 1.9 actually adds something new for a change - options to start the screensaver directly. I've also updated the code that draws the tray icon to make it look clearer, and made the progress bar a lot more likely to be accurate.

The new option to start the screensaver directly is in a submenu called “Screensaver start” along with the existing delay option and another new option, “Directly after timeout”. What a direct start does differently is starting the screensaver as a new process instead of sending a message to Windows telling it to start the screensaver.

This means that the screensaver is run the same way as if you double-clicked on the screensaver icon itself. It will run on your main desktop instead of the empty desktop that Windows creates for screensavers to run on, so it has access to Windows Explorer and any other windows running there. Microsoft don't separate things out for no reason - if you don't trust your screensaver, don't run it directly! Actually, if you don't trust your screensaver you shouldn't run it at all. Uninstall it and run a virus and malware scan.

The other new option I mentioned, “Directly after timeout” attempts to run the screensaver directly when TrayBlank thinks Windows would automatically start the screensaver. To do this, I've had to improve how TrayBlank figures out the time until the screensaver starts by adding in a check for processes telling Windows that the display is busy - media players generally do this, along with browsers playing video. Games and other software can do this, or might find another way to prevent the screensaver starting, so it still is not completely accurate.

Because both of these new options change how TrayBlank behaves quite drastically, I've added a couple of indicators to the tray icon when they are active. For direct start there is a small arrow head, and for direct start after the timeout there is an extra pair of lines like a pause symbol behind the arrow head. (I wanted to add a stopwatch symbol, but I couldn't fit one into the limited number of pixels available).

The icon also changes when TrayBlank detects a media player or other software setting the display in use - the progress bar is removed and the centre of the icon is filled with grey. I've improved the tooltips to explain what is going on better too.

In other, more ominous news, Microsoft appear to be gradually removing support for screensavers from Windows: Goodbye Outlook Express, farewell Paint, Au Revoir screensavers – What Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is killing. It appears that they want people to use the lock screen instead of a screensaver. We'll have to wait and see what it really means, but I'm not abandoning JPEG Saver and TrayBlank just yet.

TrayBlank 1.9 is available from the downloads page.

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