Error “This computer’s video card can’t play themes” Windows Live Photo Gallery Screensaver

When you open the Windows Live Photo Gallery Screensaver settings dialog, theme controls may be missing and the message "This computer’s video card can’t play themes" is displayed. You might be knowing that the themes in Windows Photo Gallery slideshow as well as in Windows Live Photo Gallery screensaver won’t be enabled if the Graphics card score (Windows Experience Index) is less than 3.0.

Interestingly some users reported that this message was displayed in their systems although the Graphics card score was above 5.0. I worked on this issue for an hour or so, and thought I’d write my observations, solution & a workaround here. The problem seems to occur if Windows Live Photo Gallery is unable to query the Graphics card score for some reason.

First step is to update your Windows Experience Index rating.

Update your Windows Experience Index Score

Login as Administrator (or equivalent.)

Open Control Panel, click System and Maintenance, and then click Performance Information and Tools.

Click Update my score. The assessment will run for few minutes.

After assessment is complete, open Windows Live Photo Gallery Screensaver settings page to see if themes are enabled. If not, try the following step:

Registering the WinSATAPI.dll file

Open an elevated Command Prompt. To open an elevated Command Prompt, click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

Register the WinSATAPI.dll file by typing the following command and pressing {ENTER}:

regsvr32 winsatapi.dll

You should see the following message:

The module "winsatapi.dll" was loaded but the call to DllRegisterServer failed with error code 0x80070716.

Never mind about the error code 0x80070716. Restart Windows, and then open Windows Live Photo Gallery Screensaver settings page to see if themes are enabled.


If none of the above steps work, you may use the following workaround. Setting the Windows Experience Index manually fixes the problem in most cases. It’s the same old WinSATScore registry value which comes to the rescue. But wait! You’ll have to implement the registry value in a different registry branch.

Creating the "WinSATScore" Registry Value

Click Start, type Regedit.exe and press {ENTER}

Navigate to the following location:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows Live \ Photo Gallery \ Slideshow

Right-click on the key, and create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value, and name it as WinSATScore

Double-click WinSATScore, select Decimal, and set the value data to 300 (or higher.)

Exit the Registry Editor.

The Windows Live Photo Gallery Screensaver settings page should now show the theme controls.

Here you see all the themes in the dropdown.

If the WinSATScore registry value exists, the Windows Live Photo Gallery screensaver won’t take the strain to query the Graphics card score using Windows Experience Index API.

Good luck, and enjoy the Screensaver themes!

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

38 thoughts on “Error “This computer’s video card can’t play themes” Windows Live Photo Gallery Screensaver

  1. THANK YOU!!!!! I have an ever growing file of cool pictures that I save from the web on slideshow and my old HTPC would do the pan and zoom theme (which is memorizing, especially in WA or CO), but my new super cool one would not and it was pissing me off like a fare thee well… had to do the REGEDIT but now it works extremely well on my 71″ monitor. While it’s not 3D, it’s the next best thing.

    Dude, you have made my year! Muchos merci… and boucoup too!

  2. Thanks so much. I followed the work around instructions and it fixed my Windows Live screensaver running in Windows 10. So happy to have it back.

  3. Thanks a lot! Regedit did the trick for me, at the end. Msi Radeon r9 270x with (updated) score of 7.9, and photo gallery would not recognize it as a card that can display themes…

  4. Tried the first part. No change.

    Added the WinSATScore value to the registry and my themes came back.

    Thanks a bunch!!

  5. I LOVE YOU!!!! It worked! I am computer self taught old lady who loves her slideshow and I was super upset to find the pan and zoom gone this am for no reason. Only thing I think might have caused it is I ran that score assessment yesterday for the first time ever. The score went from a 5.2 to a 5.4 but then today I no longer had the themes. Now I do, thanks to you. I was so afraid to try it but these directions were wonderful and easy to follow and I did it. So I have bookmarked this page and now I am going to subscribe for your tips. Thank you very much.

  6. The work-around works!!! However, I must say that MS has dropped the ball again. If the users have to go through these hoops in 2013 (which happen to be the same hoops I went trough nearly 25 years ago), my question is WHY?!

    But thank you Ramesh Srinivasan. In this regard, you are Rain Man.

  7. Thank you!!!!! After, I had reloaded my OS I did not click on rate my computer performance. After doing that i now have the “Pan and Zoom” back after loading Windows Photo Gallery back.

  8. The change needs to be in the SLIDESHOW folder…NOT screensaver. I had a screen size issue when setting the value to 300. The “collage” theme didn’t fill the screen. So I changed the value to 400 and it’s working perfectly. NO change whatsoever when adding the line to the screensaver folder though.

    Sapphire ATI Radeon 5570 – Win7 64bit.

  9. Thank you so much!!! I tried everything and the last step was what worked. My Themes are back to working. You are awesome!!!

  10. This worked wonders for me… Came as a big shock when it said my GFX card couldn’t run themes… with an index score of 7.8!!! Had to use the regedit workaround, but everything works fine now.

  11. WONDERFUL! Thanks so very much! I had to modify the registry myself to get the problem resolved, but you have been a big, big help !!!!

    You are the greatest! OH OH OH OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

  12. Worked very well, and btw: If you use the workaround plus have a better PC, then don`t use as value “300”. I tried it with 590 and now the pictures don’t lag at the “fade in”-effect when i use collage.

  13. I believe a WINDOWS update took away my machine’s ability to run video clips in the screensaver. Your manual registry repair worked. Thank you for making the instructions so simple that even I could understand. I offer you three prostrations in praise. Thank you, Ramesh!

  14. Thank you very much! Brilliant. Used to work no problem, then for some reason it stopped. Your advise was great!

  15. Larry

    Well, your solution played in Peoria (my town). My Gateway nv5207u Windows 7 originally showed all themes when using the Windows Live Photos screensaver. Eventually, the themes options disappeared…until today. Thank you.

  16. Update: if you put a higher number instead of 300 in the registry decimal value, I used 700, the resolution is fixed. This solved my own problem previously posted. Hope this helps anyone who has the same problem after running the registry fix.

Comments are closed.