Creating slide shows with music in Windows Media Center

Every party needs a little background music to set the mood, but have you ever considered background photos? With Windows Media Center, you can have both.

You can use Media Center to play slide shows of your favorite photos—along with background music—on your computer. This is especially cool if you're computer is connected to a TV. A Media Center slide show can completely change the dynamic of your living room for parties and get-togethers. To learn how to connect your computer to a TV, see Connect your computer to a TV.

Picture of a PC connected to an LCD TV and a Windows Media Center remote.
A PC connected to a TV, and a Windows Media Center remote.

One giant photo album

Chances are you own a digital camera and have a collection of digital photos on your computer. The nice thing about using Media Center to organize those photos is that it does most of the work for you. If your digital photos are in the Pictures library on your computer, Media Center will automatically find them the moment you fire it up. To view your pictures in Media Center:

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Media Center.
  2. On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Pictures + Videos, and then click Pictures library.

Media Center will even detect if a digital camera or flash memory card is connected to your PC and give you the option to import new pictures directly into Media Center. Once all your photos are available, you can browse through them and perform common editing tasks on each, such as rotating, cropping, and removing red eye. For more information, see Edit pictures in Windows Media Center.

21st-century slide shows

Once your photo collection is in Media Center, it’s time to show it off to friends and family by using slide shows. To play a slide show of your entire collection of photos, scroll to Pictures + Videos from the Windows Media Center start screen, click Picture library, and then click Play slide show.

But what if you don’t want grandma to see that snapshot of you feeding the dog table scraps, or your brother to see photos from that New Year’s party you forgot to invite him to? One way you can control who sees what is by playing a slide show of a specific folder rather than your entire collection: from the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Pictures + Videos, click Picture library, go to the desired folder, and then click Play slide show.

No slide show is complete without some background tunes. Adding music to a slide show can greatly enhance it, no matter what the occasion. The best way to add music to a slide show is to create a custom slide show that you can access at any time.

To create a custom slide show

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Media Center.
  2. On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Pictures + Videos, and then click Pictures library.

  3. In the row of viewing options just above your pictures, click Slide shows, and then click Create Slide Show.

  4. Follow the instructions to give your slide show a name and to add pictures and music. When you're finished, on the Review & Edit Slide Show screen, click Create.

When playing a slide show, you’ll notice that a set amount of time passes between each transition, and that the song information occasionally shows up in the bottom-left corner. These and other slide show features can be customized to your liking.

To change settings for your slide shows

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Media Center.
  2. On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Tasks, click Settings, click Pictures, and then click Slide Shows.

  3. Change options for how you want your slide shows appear, and then click Save.

Slide show scenarios

Have an upcoming birthday party? Are the relatives visiting soon? There are many occasions when a slide show of your digital photos can come in handy. And if you have a digital video camera, you can play your home videos in Windows Media Center as well. For more information, see View pictures and videos in Windows Media Center.