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How to make your own screen saver

January 1, 2006

in All Articles,Photo and Video

Screen savers used to be more functional. They prevented “burn-in”, or ghostly-looking afterimages that haunted your monitor, indicating you’ve left it displaying the same image too long. A “screen saver” was named literally, a way to keep your monitor constantly changing and moving to prevent monitor burn-in.

Monitors today are very resistant to burn-in, but screen savers are more popular than ever. Why? A screen saver is the artwork of our modern lives, the picture over our digital mantle.

What’s your current screen saver? Tell me you don’t have the one where there’s the time and date bouncing around your screen. Aren’t you getting tired of seeing your coworker’s screen saver with those animated fish? I’m embarrassed to admit, I used to love the “Marquee” screen saver, constantly scrolling my lame attempts at witty quotes like “If you fall down an up escalator, will you fall forever?”

In addition, many “free” screen savers today come with advertising, or carefully hidden and dangerous payloads of spyware and adware. It’s not safe to download anything for free unless you’ve taken precautions or trust the source.

Personalize your screen saver experience. Create your own screen saver for free. First take a few digital photos or scan in those vacation pictures. Then save them on your PC.

If you have Windows XP, use “My Pictures Slideshow”. It’s a built-in option in the default screen savers list. You have basic control over picture size, display time and whether or not to use transition effects, like having your pictures fade or slide into view.

And as Santa teaches us, it’s always fun to share: Use a tool like “SaverWiz” to create a distributable screen saver “package” that you can use yourself or give to others.

When you install SaverWiz, you’ll have an icon placed on your desktop. Double-click it to run the program. Add your pictures and any captions. Then click the “Next” button, and you’ll be prompted for a file name (remember where you save this file), slideshow speed, picture transitions, and a few other options. Click the “Make” button to finish. Presto: Your very own personalized picture slideshow screen saver.

When your screen saver is created, you’ll have the option to test it or install it to your own PC. If you want to share your creation with others, find the screen saver file in the location you specified earlier. The file created will have an “SCR” extension, indicating it’s a screen saver.

To install this SCR screen saver file on a Windows PC, copy it to the C:\WINDOWS folder. (Alternatively, you can right-click on the file and choose “Install”, though some security software may have problems with this technique.) At this point, your shiny new screen saver shows up as an option in Windows’ list of available screen savers.

SaverWiz can be found at

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