Windows Pipes Screen Saver
Windows Pipes Screen Saver

A screensaver is a program, slideshow, video, or moving art that was originally designed to protect your monitor from getting what is called “burn-in” – where an image that stays on the screen for too long permanently damages the screen. This used to be very important back in the day of CRT computer monitors so screen savers were a necessity. These days, with everything having gone LCD/LED, this is no longer an issue. So screen savers have evolved into something necessary into a combination of art, entertainment, and personal expression. This article seeks to explore what screensavers are, their initial purpose, and how their role has changed in modern computing.

What is a Screensaver?

A screensaver is a computer program that blanks the screen or fills it with moving images or patterns when the computer is not in use. Historically, screensavers were used to prevent phosphor burn-in on CRT and plasma computer monitors.

The Origin of Screensavers

Screensavers were developed in response to the limitations of early computer monitors. Prolonged display of static images could cause permanent ghost images or damage to the screen, a phenomenon known as ‘burn-in.’

The Evolution of Screensavers

While screensavers were initially designed to prevent screen damage, with the advent of modern LCD and LED screens, which are less susceptible to burn-in, their practical purpose has diminished.

Transition to Digital Art and Entertainment

Today, screensavers are used more for entertainment or as a digital art form, displaying a wide range of animations, photographs, and even interactive applications when the computer is idle.

Types of Screensavers

Screensavers come in various forms, ranging from simple geometric patterns to complex animations.

  • 3D Graphics: These include intricate three-dimensional animations and models.
  • Slideshow: Displays a series of photos, often customizable with personal images.
  • Interactive: Screensavers that allow user interaction, often doubling as simple computer games or tools.

The Role of Screensavers Today

In modern times, the role of screensavers has shifted primarily to aesthetics and personal expression.

Personalization and Branding

Users often choose screensavers that reflect their personal interests, aesthetics, or brand identity, using them as a form of digital decoration.

Security Features

Some screensavers can be set to prompt for a password when deactivated, adding an extra layer of security to a computer. This was a very handy way to secure a computer you were going to walk away from – preventing the next user from just jumping on and accessing any of your information. While screen savers are much less common these days, requiring a password when you “wake” a device has lasted and is fairly common.

FAQs About Screensavers

  1. Are screensavers still necessary for modern monitors?
    • For modern LCD and LED screens, screensavers are not necessary to prevent burn-in but are used for aesthetic or entertainment purposes.
  2. Can screensavers save energy?
    • Screensavers themselves do not save energy; in fact, moving screensavers can use more energy. Power-saving modes that turn off the screen are more effective for energy conservation.
  3. How can I customize my screensaver?
    • Most operating systems allow you to customize your screensaver settings, including choosing the type of screensaver and its duration.
  4. Do screensavers affect the lifespan of a monitor?
    • With modern monitors, screensavers do not significantly affect the lifespan of the screen.
  5. Can I create my own screensaver?
    • Yes, there are various tools and software available that allow users to create their own screensavers.


From their practical origins to their current status as a form of digital expression, screensavers have been an integral part of personal computing history. While their original purpose is largely obsolete with modern technology, screensavers continue to provide an artistic and personal touch to the digital experience.

Eric Chan

Hi! I’m Eric and I work on the knowledge base at  You can see some of my writings about technology, cellphone repair, and computer repair here.

When I’m not writing about tech I’m playing with my dog or hanging out with my girlfriend.

Shoot me a message at if you want to see a topic discussed or have a correction on something I’ve written.

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