It is truly random, at least for all practical purposes it is. To a human it looks random, a mathematician might spot a flaw in the algorithm but it won't matter for someone viewing in random mode. It does always start with the same photo and after that they are random. I have just under 200 photos on the USB memory stick all in the top level directory (not in folders) and I have it set to play a random side show. On power up it always shows the same photo and then after that they are random. This would be a bug if the photos were displayed for an hour (the longest setting) but with any of the shorter times it is not a problem. After displaying this same photo the next one and all after will be random.