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!

22 Responses to “Intel Should Fix Its OpenGL Driver”

  1. Frank Gevaerts

    One reason why the “.sCr” workaround might not work for some people is that just renaming the file isn’t enough. From my testing it seems you also have to re-select the screensaver (i.e. pick another screensaver and then the one you want again) so the screensaver setting in the registry matches the unusual capitalisation.

  2. That’s why when I went to buy a new laptop recently, I went with AMD rather then Insmell. Sure, most computers use an Insmell CPU, but doesn’t mean I have to. The graphics are AMD as well, and I do believe they offer better support of OpenGL and other open standards then Insmell.

    People need to wake up and realize they have a choice. It doesn’t need to say “Insmell Inside” to be a good computer. You don’t have to buy all your software form Micro$oft for it to be good. You can even oust Micro$oft altogether and go with Linux if you are brave enough. If you have some Winblows programs you can’t live without, then try a dual-boot, that’s what I do.

    For anyone reading this wondering what “AMD” or “Linux” is, see the following webpages:

    http://www.amd.com/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux

  3. tonyo123

    In dual graphics card laptops with NVIDIA Control, several of the screensavers can be selected to use the NVIDIA accelerator graphics rather than the global settings or Intel Graphics.

  4. Charles.Vintner

    Hiya,

    I would like 2 thank u as I just tried the Euphoria and was really sad it’s so slow and so I read ur recommendation about the extension modification and was surprised it really works.. Much better now :)

    Thx again man!

    Charles

  5. Tony

    Yammer, Dude, I know Intel’s policy is an annoyance, but that’s hardly a reason to buy an AMD.

    Anyway, here’s a solution that works with Intel graphics. It involves registry editing, so at the very least, set a new rollback point before getting started. And don’t shoot the messenger.

    1. Move the screensaver from the Windows subdirectory to Program Files. Right click and click install to activate it. Reboot. This actually only worked for one reboot, so I’m not sure if it’s really relevant to what finally did work, my best guess is that it’s not necessary.

    2. Open Regedit. In HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop\SCRNSAVE.EXE remove the .scr extension from the active screensaver (in this case, I changed “C:\progra~1\solarw~1.scr” to “C:\progra~1\solarw~1”.

    3. Remove the .scr extension from the file name (change “solarwinds.scr” to “solarwinds”).

    And it works. :-)

    One note, the screen saver tab will show no screensaver active, so if you want to change the values (time until saver starts, number of emitters, etc…) you’ll have to temporarily undo the fix and make the changes, or (easier) just make the changes directly in the registry. The Desktop key contains the general details (time until saver starts, etc…) and obviously the Really Slick key has the specific details.

    Terry, thank you for writing such cool screensavers that I was willing to get obsessed until I found a workaround. :-)

    Tony

  6. Mark

    I have a Sony laptop with dual Radeon/Intel graphics cards. When I try to run the RS screensaver, I get a 1114 dll initialization failure error message. Does this have something to do with the graphics setting, or is this another problem altogether?

  7. That’s probably a separate problem. It would be nice if those error messages were more specific. You could try installing the Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable Package if you do not already have it. I can’t think of any other possibilities off the top of my head.

    • Michel

      Hi Terry,

      I got the same error (load library error 1114 dll failure). I’ve microsoft visual C++ 2005 2008 and 2010 installed (Sony based installation). Oal installation does not change the problem.
      Thanks

  8. Anne

    Really sad that I just spent money on a new computer and now your screensavers don’t work. I’m too stupid to do the work around you’re talking about…can’t you make some screensavers that WILL run with intel?

    • Tony

      Anne: If your new computer is a desktop, you can install a graphics card. Once you install the graphics card and its software, Intel’s driver will be avoided entirely. Older graphics cards can be found really cheap at places like CompUSA/TigerDirect stores and NewEgg.com. Something like a 9000 series nVidia should be the ideal combination of affordable and sufficiently powerful.

  9. Hi, Anne. No, I won’t. Sorry to hear my savers aren’t working for you. The only way to write a saver that works with Intel graphics is to not use OpenGL, but OpenGL is the best medium to use for 3D graphics. Intel can fix this problem if they want to, but I cannot. I encourage you to write them and complain and to also try the workaround.

  10. Mars_999

    Have you tried the latest Intel drivers? Also what GPUs are you running these on? I would assume all the newest HD2000-4000 would work…

  11. Hi Mars_999. Sorry, but I haven’t collected information about specific drivers and Intel GPUs. And I don’t have any Intel graphics of my own to test on, partly because I don’t want to have to deal with this problem.

  12. twinkie

    I’ve tried Euphoria on a HD 3000 (on a Dell Inspiron 14R) and it doesn’t work as hardware acceleration still seems to be turned off, at least in Win7 Home Premium.

    I haven’t tried the registry trick yet.

    Maybe it’ll be different for the HD 4000s.

  13. Senna

    I had the same problem as Mark up there. Brand new Samsung laptop with an Intel HD/Radeon setup running Win 7. Literally took it out of the box yesterday afternoon. Installed the screensavers (I’ve never had any issues with them on Vista or XP, although on XP they ran slowly) and every time I tried to run them I got this error: “loadlibrary failed with error 1114: A dynamic link(DLL) initialization routine failed.”

    I’ve been trying for a solid 31 hours (off and on of course) to get them to work, all to no avail. Tried uninstalling, reinstalling, updating drivers, etc, etc… I completely forgot about the .sCr trick that I used on XP to make them run faster, came across this post, and tried changing the file names to .sCr as a last resort…

    They all work now. Every single one.

    I’m really happy in an “I really want to yell at someone at Intel right now” kind of way. So yeah, if anyone runs into that 1114 issue, the sCr fix worked for me.

  14. Senna

    Ok, so actually my above comment is a partial lie. With the .sCr fix I can preview and run the screensavers myself, but I’ll still get the dll error when they try to kick in themselves. I’ll keep searching for a solution.

    • I just got a new laptop about a week ago, my first computer with Intel graphics. More specifically, it’s a Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition with Intel HD 4000 and AMD Radeon 7730M graphics. I get the same error 1114 when trying to run any Really Slick Screensavers. My apologies to Mark for thinking his was a separate problem.

      The .sCr trick lets me run all the savers manually and in the small saver preview window, but Hyperspace, Skyrocket, and Microcosm still cannot be started by Windows when they are set as the active saver.

      I also tried using the device manager to disable the Intel graphics and then the AMD graphics. Both of these actions cause the AMD graphics to be disabled. That would seem strange in any other operating system. Anyway, none of it helped the situation at all.

      So, the .sCr trick helps some, but not completely. There are other confusing obstacles in the way. I’d still like to see Intel start by fixing their mandatory software rendering “feature” discussed in the original post. It’s difficult to tell from all of this experimenting if the AMD graphics are causing any of the trouble, but I have never heard about problems like this on a computer with AMD graphics alone.

  15. Alex

    Thanks to some users in here, the registry edit fix and the .sCr trick works, with one last problem: The screensavers run slow as heck, yet when I preview them or test them, they are fast and awesome.

    Any last trick to get around this?

  16. Sean

    I was having this exact same problem, both with the ReallySlick screensavers and with the ‘Pixel City’ screensaver, until I had a thought. The Sager laptop that I have actually has two graphics controller — a built-in Intel graphics controller, and an add-on Radeon HD 8970 controller. I had thought that perhaps I didn’t have the proper OpenGL drivers, and downloaded a utility to test them, but they claimed that they were installed correctly — but showed the Intel HD graphics controller; the system defaults to the Intel controller. When I opened ‘Configure Switchable Graphics’ in the desktop context menu and told it to use ‘High Performance’ for ‘Pixel City’ and the ReallySlick screensavers, the error disappeared, and the screensavers ran normally.

  17. Keith Golon

    I have an old intel 82855GM chip (ExtremeGraphics 2) running in a WinXP system. And we all know about how intel disabled OpenGL rendering for screensavers that have a filename that ends in .scr or .SCR, and that they need to be renamed to xxxxxxxx.sCr. Well, I discovered this:

    In addition to renaming screensaver files to have .sCr as the extension, you must also maintain the old classical DOS 8.3 naming convention. No long filenames!

    I was able to get Microcosm and Sky Rocket to work by naming them like so:
    microcsm.sCr
    skyrockt.sCr

    Further insight:
    Open up the DISPLAY PROPERTIES and select the SCREENSAVER TAB. And now select the screensaver you want to use. You don’t need to preview it, just select it. Now open the Windows Task Manager via CTRL-ALT-DEL. Select PROCESSES, and under IMAGE NAME you will see the name of your selected screensaver. It will be properly named provided you used the 8.3 format. If you have not used the 8.3 format, the name will be converted into an 8.3 format and the .sCr extension will then revert to .SCR in the PROCESSES list!

    • Keith Golon

      The intel driver sees that BIG CAPITAL .SCR and then uses software rendering.

      One other thing. It is also important for some screensavers to have only one instance running. The little preview monitor is considered an instance. So to fully test your screensaver, you need to close out of the DISPLAY PROPERTIES & SCREENSAVER box completely. Then you wait your specified time.

  18. Theo

    Confirmed!
    Renaming to .sCr fixed the Intel issue and shortening the names to 4 characters solved the issue on my Win7 x64 & Intel HD Graphics 4600.

    Thanks guys for the hints! :-))

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