Software

How to Get Rid of a Screen Saver

Those whimsical aquarium screensavers that come on when you’re not using the computer for a long time actually serve a purpose other than to just show how fish swim around. Older screen models needed them as if the same image was left on your CRT screen for very long, parts of it could burn out. This could result in a shadow or a ghost image on the screen that showed even when the screen was turned off.

With the advent of liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors, screensavers have become unnecessary. Screensavers can also eat up energy and shorten your monitor’s lifespan as they consume the same amount of power as when you are using the monitor normally. They can also use up a lot of your CPU time, which may cause problems on a busy server. They don’t really save your screen a whole lot—you can just turn off your screen if you’re going to leave it idle for a period of time.

Screensavers can also be a source of annoyance to the user, so if you don’t want to utilize a screensaver anymore, here are some ways for you to remove it from your monitor for good.

Disabling Your Screensaver

Most screensavers come as one of the default programs of your operating system (OS) and may even run automatically without you having to set them as such. If you want to disable yours, take note that this action won’t delete the program. Here’s how to disable it:

  • Right click on any empty part of your desktop.
  • Click “Properties” in the menu.
  • In the Display window, click the Screen Saver tab.
  • Choose “NONE” from the drop-down list of screensavers you see.
  • Click “OK.”

Delete Screensavers from the System

For those using Windows, here’s how to delete screensavers from your system:

  • Click Start > Settings > Control Panel.
  • Click “Add/Remove Programs.”
  • Choose the “Windows Setup” tab.
  • Click on “Accessories” and then click on the “Details” button. A set of accessories will then appear.
  • Look for “Screensavers”, select it, and click on “Details.”
  • You’ll get a list of screensavers. Uncheck everything, and click “OK” three times.
  • Windows will then remove them from your system.

If your screensavers came from a separate software packages (an example would be the “flying toasters” screensaver that comes with the After Dark software), you can find them under the list of Program Files. Just repeat the following steps mentioned earlier, only when you get to Step 2:”Add/Remove” Programs, the screensaver program will appear under it. Choose the “Remove” option and the system will guide you through correctly deleting the screensaver from your system.

Look for the Screensaver’s Folder

You can also look for the screensaver files and folders and manually delete them yourself.

  • Click “Start > Search.”
  • If you have an “Advanced Search” option, click it.
  • Look for the file extension “.scr” or “*.scr”, without the quotation marks.
  • The search will come up with all files with this extension on your computer.
  • Locate the relevant file folder in Windows Explorer. The search results will usually display the root folders.
  • Delete the screensavers.
  • On systems running Windows OS, you can find them in the Windows/System32 folder.

Manually Uninstalling

You can also try and manually delete the screensaver files from your system. Be very careful when taking this route: You may end up deleting the wrong files and wreak hell on your PC. If you’re unsure with what you’re doing, find a professional or someone who’s experienced to help you out.

  • Look for the program’s folder under “C:Program Files”. Screensaver files have the extension “.scr”, so check the files in the folder first if you’re not sure. For example, an aquarium screensaver may have the name “aquarium.scr”. If the folder contains similar files, delete the whole folder.
  • Clean your registry. Your computer registry is where all your computer’s software and programs are installed. As such, you must be VERY CAREFUL when deleting files via the registry. One wrong deletion can render your computer unusable.
    • Click Start > Run.
    • Type “regedit” without the quotation marks and press Enter.
    • Navigate through the folders and look for the key. If the key is not there, do not delete. A well-used area for deleting registry files are in the “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” folder.

You can also use a registry cleaner if you are unsure navigating through the registry yourself. Look up registry cleaner software in reputable sites such as cnet.com.

Can’t Find the Program File?

It’s not unlikely that you will find yourself dealing with screensavers you haven’t downloaded nor set. You may find that they are not listed under the list of Programs. Your Control Panel might even be missing! This may be because the screensaver was caused by a virus, spyware or a trojan.

  • If your Control Panel is missing, click “Start > Run.”
  • Type in “Control” without the quotation marks. This will open your Control Panel.
  • Try to see if you can remove the screensaver via “Add/Remove Programs.”

Even if you’ve managed to disable the screensaver successfully, it’s best that you an anti-malware program such as Ad-Aware, Spyware Doctor or Spybot Search and Destroy. You should also run an anti-virus program such as AVG to cover all your bases.

Part of your Company’s Computer Policy?

Some companies require that their computers run a screensaver after the computer senses that the monitor is “idle” after a fixed number of time. Talk to your IT administrator regarding this matter if it gets in the way of official functions such as presentations. The same thing goes if you have inadvertently installed an unwanted screensaver and you have no access to administrate your PC.

Warning!

There are many programs out there that claim to help you with dispensing hard-to-remove screensavers. Don’t download and execute these programs so readily—you might just be bringing in malware and making more problems. If you suspect your screensaver files to be spyware, it’s best that you use a reputable general anti-spyware program (you can check cnet.com, lifehacker.com or download.com for reviews on programs and downloads) than getting one that claims to specifically remove persistent screensaver files.

Screensaver, be gone! If you’re utterly unconvinced of screensavers’ usefulness, there’s no reason why you should tolerate them. Turn off your computer monitor when not needed and do actual energy-saving.

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Nicole Harding

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