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What is a Screensaver

The screensaver is an animation which appears after a specified amount of time has passed in which there's been no activity. Many novice computer users mistakenly refer to the desktop background as a screensaver. The desktop background, also known as a desktop wallpaper is, however, simply a static image which is placed on your desktop.

While screensavers are still a popular area of customization, they are actually somewhat technologically obsolete. Hence the name, a screensaver is something designed to protect your monitor. Before flat-screen LCD monitors became the norm, most computers used the far more cumbersome CRT monitors. These monitors were susceptible to phosphor burn-in when a static image is displayed on the screen for too long. Plasma monitors are also susceptible to this.

Although the best way to protect such a monitor (and save power) when it's not in use is simply to turn it off, screensavers nonetheless became very popular. Even today, many companies design premium screensavers for those who want to bring their computer alive with a continuous animation which comes on every so often.

Screensavers are every bit as popular as they once were, though they should not be seen as a way of protecting your monitor. Your power settings should be configured to automatically turn your monitor off after a period of time without use. Having an LCD flat-screen display turned on all the time will, in fact, decrease its lifespan.

Changing your theme in Windows Vista or Windows 7 will also change the screensaver in many cases. For conserving power, it's best not to have any screensaver at all, although you can easily select one if you prefer. To change the screensaver in Windows 7, simply right-click anywhere on your desktop and click "Personalize." You can access the screensaver configuration window by clicking the "Screensaver" button in the bottom-right of the window. Choose the screensaver you want from the dropdown box. Some screensavers have some extra settings which you can change by pressing the "Settings" button. Click "OK" when done.

In Windows, screensavers are stored in the form of executable files, usually with the ".SCR" file extension.


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