Intel Should Fix Its OpenGL Driver

September 15, 2011 by Terry

This week I had a chance to install Really Slick Screensavers on a Windows 7 computer with Intel graphics. As it has been for as long as I can remember, OpenGL 3D screensavers run slowly on Intel graphics because they are disabling hardware acceleration.

Intel says they disable hardware rendering due to “potential compatibility issues with a number of third party OpenGL screensavers”. They started doing this about a decade ago. It was a terrible idea then and it’s a terrible idea now. As if stealing from the Microsoft playbook, Intel has decided to make their driver outsmart all of its users. Should computers perform at their best and do exactly what users tell them to do, or should they perform poorly and do what Intel thinks users want them to do? The answer is obvious. Here is a better solution: if a screensaver does not work on your computer, then do not use it. Intel does not need to get involved.

Years later, I still get email about this problem every month. The only workaround that I have heard is to change the extension on your screensaver files from “.scr” to “.sCr” or something similar in order to fool the Intel graphics driver into thinking it is not running a screensaver. This apparently works for some people but not for others.

Intel, for the umpteenth time, please fix your driver. People hate this “feature.” If someone wrote a screensaver a decade ago that crashed your driver, who cares?! It’s 2011!

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