Great Dismal

Depressing lockscreen pics for Windows 10.

Windows 10 gives users beautiful pictures of aspirational places for their lockscreen, places much more interesting than where you are—at work, typing in your password so you can get back to that spreadsheet.

Well, you can fix that…


This is a powershell module I wrote that uses the Flickr API to search for depressing, boring and ugly images to set as your lockscreen. Because nothing makes me smile like a loverly photog of some rubbish strewn ruin when I go to log in.


It does a little bit of registry twiddling to achieve its gloomy magick, so when you install it it asks for your admin password. You can run it without installing, but by installing it you get a new batch of despair every time you sign in.


This is the first time I’ve used the Powershell gallery to publish a module, so the learning curve has been steep. But I guarantee it works (on my machine).

To install the script

The short version:

Run Powershell as an administrator and import the module from the Powershell Gallery, then run get-despair -install as below:

import-module greatdismal
Get-Despair -install

It will open a user credentials window, it needs your name and password to be able to run automatically.

The long version

If you don’t know how to Powershell, don’t worry, here’s how:

Hit the Windows key and type powershell.exe and choose Run as Administrator as shown below,

and then in the scary command prompt that opens, type the following and hit enter:

Install-Module -Name GreatDismal

Congrats, you’ve just taken the red pill. Now you’re out of the matrix, there’s one more thing you need to do. In the powershell window type

get-Despair -install

You will be asked for your username and password, so that it has the ability to run without further prompting from you. This is when you get to decide how much you really trust me. For the justifiably paranoid the code is available in PSGallery and on Github so you can see what it’s doing.

Note that if you’re on a machine that’s on a domain, you need to type your user name as Evilcorp\stib where Evilcorp is the name of your domain and stib is your user name. For those playing along at home this usually won’t be necessary.

Wait, what was that awesome pic?

Once the module is installed you have a new powershell command called Get-Despair You can run it manually (as admin) and it will fetch a new picture. As you can see below it might take a few goes. It won’t run forever if your internet is down, instead it gives up after a few tries.

If you see a pic you like, the current picture can be shown by running get-despair with the option -lastpic.

Get-Despair -lastpic

The next iteration might include details about the picture on the screen, but I have to work out how to do that first.

More details can be had by running the script with the option -showlog which will show you what the pic has been up to.

Get-Despair -showlog

The current pic of the day and log file are stored in the %appdata% folder which you can get to by typing %appdata%\greatdismal into the Windows menu.

Hey, I’m a sparkly bunny now, I don’t need more despair

Run the script with the “-uninstall” option.

Get-Despair -uninstall

Or you can even replace the list of adjectives and nouns with one of your own. In a powershell window run it like this

Get-Despair -adjectives ("happy", "sweet", "sparkly") -nouns ("unicorn", "flower", "rainbow", "cheese")

The individual adjectives and nouns have to be in quotes, and each list has to be comma separated, and surrounded by brackets. The list can be as long as you like. Have fun with it, you weirdos.


  1. Hey, I may have been screwing around with your powershell on a computer where it maybe wasn’t the best idea, and apparently the organization it’s a part of doesn’t allow me to change my lock screen. What registry magic does your module do to change it?


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