Windows 11 received a major graphical overhaul for File Explorer, the taskbar, Start, and more. However, it does come with the same old screensavers as Windows Vista, including some dating back to Windows 3.0. Why aren’t screen savers getting more attention?
Old but still necessary in Windows
Screensavers originated in the era of CRT monitors when a static image on a CRT could create a burn-in effect. This burning effect will permanently leave a residual image on your screen. These days, most people use LCD panels with their Windows PCs, and screen savers are mostly outdated.
However, Windows 11 still relies on screensavers to automatically lock your PC after a certain period of time. Also, some people still use it to display messages on their screens, a photo slideshow, or just add a personal touch to their devices. Why not give them a little update in the new OS?
Same old Windows Vista screensavers
As of October 2021, Windows 11 includes six screensavers by default, all shipped with Windows as far back as Windows Vista in 2007. In fact, one of the screensavers, Mystify, originated in the first version of Windows to include screensavers, Windows 3.0 Provided with multimedia extensions in 1991. Here is the complete list of default screen savers in Windows 11:
- 3D text: You write words that appear animated on your screen in 3D.
- Empty: black screen with nothing on it.
- bubbles: Bounce colored bubbles on your desktop.
- mystery: Bounce colored lines on a black screen.
- Pictures: This displays a slideshow of images from a folder on your screen.
- tapes: Multicolored lines are spinning on a black screen.
It will be interesting to see some new screensavers in Windows 11 that can take advantage of modern graphics processors. Or maybe new versions of Windows classics like Starfield Simulation and 3D Maze. Remember those?
If you’re feeling nostalgic, the Internet Archive hosts a ZIP file that includes 10 classic screensavers from the Windows 98 and XP era that will continue to work in Windows 11. To install them, download the file, unzip it, and copy all the files. .SCR files to C:WindowsSystem32. You will need administrator access to copy files to this folder.
But wait – how do I set the screensaver, anyway?
In Windows 11, Microsoft buried the screensaver options. It’s still there as a classic Control Panel window that you can find by searching for “screensaver” in the Start menu. In the results, click on “Change screen saver.” Or you can look in the Settings app or the Control Panel itself.
When the Screensaver Settings window opens, use the dropdown menu to select a screen saver. You can preview each one using the button “preview.
When you find the one you like, set the time in minutes using the Wait box, then click OK. When the time is up, you will see the screensaver running. It feels warm and fuzzy, just like the old days. Now let’s hope Microsoft adds some new screensavers in the future, because it’s full of fun.