Screen saver – now you need one again

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When the PC first started becoming commonly used at home, one of the most popular programs was the screen saver. It was new, many of them were entertaining to watch, and everyone wanted to save their monitor from phosphor burn. Having those images move all around the screen in random directions prevented the icons from searing themselves permanently into the screen.

Then, the newer monitors came out. Not the new LCD flat-panel screens; just newer versions of the big ones (also known as CRT, for Cathode Ray Tube). With those monitors, you didn’t really need a screen saver because the phosphor burn-in problem had been fixed. Still, you get a selection of screen savers with every version of Windows, and people really liked watching those pipes getting connected and filling up the screen, so a lot of people continued to use them anyway.

Now, the LCD flat-panel monitors are commonplace. In fact, the old CRT monitors have virtually no value – they are just being discarded. Initially I thought that the LCD monitors would not require a screen saver. That is not correct. I got mine a couple of years ago, and I have noticed now that if I leave the icons on the screen with no change for a couple of days, their shadowed image stays there even after they are gone. The ghost images are not there permanently, however – once the icons are changed or moved, the shadows are completely gone after about a day.

So, in spite of telling people for some time that they no longer need to use a screen saver, I now need to change that advice. Use one. To activate your screen saver, or change it, just do a right-click on a blank area of the desktop and choose Properties. Then click the Screen Saver tab, and choose the one you like from the drop-down menu.

Important: Do NOT go looking for a cool screen saver by searching on Google. Most of the ones you see advertised (such as “get your FREE waterfall screensaver!”) are spyware, and will install all kinds of garbage on your computer. Only get software from a reliable source that you know and trust.

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