Screensaver Installation: What You Need to Know


Do you remember how annoying it was when you came upon a fantastic screensaver but couldn’t get it to work on your PC? You should never get it again; this article will show you how.

When Windows 95 first appeared on many PCs, there were only a handful of screensavers to choose from. Choosing only one of these was your only option. In a word, it was boringly simple.

Thankfully, those days are long gone. These days, you can choose from the hundreds of screensavers created over the years and made available online. It can be challenging to locate an attractive screensaver that suits your preferences. How disheartening is it to find that your computer won’t let you install the discovery? It’s a safe bet that you do.

Sometimes a screensaver will have a fascinating description but no accompanying screenshots. You want to see it work, naturally. Still, SLAP! You will never know what you are missing because you can’t figure out how to make it function on your machine. That’s too bad. I know.

Oh, come on! Enough already! We screensaver collectors must find a method to improve our fortunes. Proceed with the text. There’s a way to access countless additional screensavers.


The first step in defeating evil is to identify where it originates. Why do we have this issue, then? The most important reason is the abundance of screensaver distribution options:



Packages that can detach themselves during setup


In the form of compressed setup files


Separately, as.SCR files


It is simplest to set up the self-extracting packages. Simply save the screensaver to your computer, then run it. After then, the screensaver installation program launches and runs through its required motions. You can start using it in seconds after clicking a few buttons.


The names of the compressed installation packages are descriptive. There is a “.zip” extension on them. Double-clicking on them will likely do nothing if you aren’t ready for such files.


Files with the “.scr” extension belong to the third group. In most cases, running such a file will trigger the screensaver. That’s not terrible. At least now you understand what the fuss is about. However, in this manner, it will be hidden from the list of screensavers that the operating system offers when the machine is idle. To enjoy the screensaver, you’ll need to employ a small trick.


I can almost answer your question now that the source of our troubles has become more apparent. Why switch back to traditional installation methods once you’ve discovered how convenient self-extracting packages are? Yes, you are correct. It all fits together nicely. But there’s something you’re leaving out. Developers are responsible for making screensavers.


And programmers are different from regular computer users because they view the world through a narrow and technical lens. They frequently work with ZIPped packages; thus, extracting files is no trouble. It’s only logical for them to store data in hidden system folders that 80 percent of users will never know about.


That’s why they make screensavers and distribute them through torrents or other means that make it difficult for you to set them up. Wait before assigning responsibility to them. This is usually inadvertent and has nothing to do with hatred toward users who cannot unpack ZIP files or install standalone screensavers.


It’s true because I am a member of that group. In fact (my face becomes bright red at this point) until version 1.7 of my Rainy Screensaver ( was only available as a ZIPped bundle. I appreciate the comments and suggestions I received. In my opinion, there’s no reason to harm people who use computers for work or play. They need not be experts in every technical detail.


I’m crossing my fingers that the creators of screensavers will eventually get this and start making their products more user-friendly. In the meantime, you might study how to deal with unfriendly setups independently. Let’s revert to using ZIP archives and standalone screensaver files for installation.


* Setup files compressed using the ZIP format


Archives are the files with the “.zip” extension. It’s a standard means of disseminating data and programs online. They allow you to “pack” multiple files into a single, smaller file that is considerably quicker to download. In addition, they employ compression techniques to lessen the overall size of the archived data, saving you bandwidth and storage costs.


Files compressed in a ZIP archive can only be unzipped with dedicated software. WinZip seems to be the most common and user-friendly option. Visit to get a copy. If you’re using Windows XP, you don’t need extra software to open “.zip” files because Windows XP has this functionality by default.


A “.zip” file usually includes many files that must be extracted to a specific location before they can be used. The files can be removed with any software. To use it, stick to the on-screen prompts and save the extracted files wherever possible. It’s best to dedicate a separate file to such items. The temporary folder that comes standard with Windows is another option.


It is recommended to review the extracted files. Double-clicking an entry labeled “Install.exe” or “Setup.exe” will carry you through the installation procedure. While archives are most valuable when working with multiple files, they can compress a single file. Only those who have successfully extracted a single file with the extension “.scr” need to proceed.


Empty screensaver data


As I’ve mentioned before, you may recognize these documents by their “.scr” extension. They function as a screen saver. That is when activated, these are the programs responsible for the spectacular results. Read my article “Windows Screensavers Explained” at for further information.


To install a “.scr” file, right-click it and select “Install” from the context menu. After doing so, Windows will make the screensaver the system default and launch the Display Properties dialog box so you can modify the screensaver’s settings if desired.


But there are drawbacks to doing it this way. First, be wary of where you save the screensaver’s file. If the screensaver has been placed in the temporary folder and is then destroyed or relocated, the operating system will no longer be able to locate it. Screensavers installed in this manner should be placed in a dedicated folder. Second, Windows will uninstall the screensaver if you choose a different one from the list in the Display Properties dialog. You’ll need to right-click it again and select “Install” from the menu.


However, if you wish to view the screensaver, modify its settings, and remove it, this is an efficient method. Find a more comfortable spot for the screensaver if you want it to cheer you up on gloomy days.


What are some strategies for locating such a location? Very simple. The screensaver only requires being dragged into the appropriate Windows folder. If you’re running Windows 95/98 or Windows Me, you should find a folder labeled “Windows” on drive C: “WINNT” on drive C: running Windows NT/2000 or Windows XP. The Display Properties dialog will show the screensaver as an option once copied to this folder. You can now choose it at your convenience. You also won’t have to reinstall it every time you decide to go with a different screensaver.


Screensaver “Setup.exe” (or “Install.exe”) and “.scr” files can be found in the same folder after downloading a ZIPped installation package and extracting its contents. In this instance, it’s best to double-click “Install” or “Setup” to begin the installation process. The screensaver may be installed easily because the installation tool handles everything from copying files to updating the registry and even offering an uninstaller. It appears that merely moving the “.scr” file to a Windows folder is insufficient.


Having learned some new skills, you can now set up many more screensavers. Knowing that your favorite screensavers will always be there for you to enjoy gives you even more reason to feel better about yourself.


Roman Kramar works as a programmer by day and writes screensavers by night. To learn more about screensavers and his work, check out his website at

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