For more than a decade now Intel has crippled its own OpenGL driver to protect Windows users from themselves, causing OpenGL screensavers to run slowly with software rendering or not run at all. The proper way to run would be at a high frame rate using hardware acceleration. The partial workaround all this time has been to change the screensaver suffix from .scr to something like .sCr. This subtle change in capitalization often tricks the Intel driver into working the way it should. However, this solution has been hit-or-miss with varying results reported by different users.

Enter Keith Golon, who sent in another piece of the puzzle last month. He found that a complete fix involved giving a screensaver a DOS-compliant 8.3 character name. Some of Really Slick Screensavers have more than eight characters in their names, and this was causing problems with Intel drivers. I tested this on my own computer with Intel HD 4000 graphics. In my test, an 8-character name allows the screensaver to be started normally by the Windows screensaver daemon. The .sCr trick allows the saver to be started by double-click, run in the preview window, and run fullscreen by pressing the Preview button. Using both of these tricks fixes everything.

 Hyperspace.scr   Hyperspace.sCr   Hyperspc.sCr 
double-click fail success success
tiny preview window fail success success
Preview button fail success success
run normally by screensaver daemon fail fail success

This could be a good permanent solution to Intel’s indifference if the behavior is the same for enough testers. If you have Intel graphics and want to give it a try, rename a saver with a longer-than-8.3 name. For example, Skyrocket.scr would become Skyrockt.sCr. Test to see if it runs all four ways: double-click, in the small preview window, press the Preview button, and let the saver turn on normally. Please post your results in the comments.

7 Responses to “Possible Workaround for Intel Screensaver “Feature” – Testers Wanted”

  1. Andrew

    I went through my System32 and changed each of your screensavers names (left the pre-installed “boring” ones alone). So far everything is working smoothly.

    Thanks for the awesome visuals!

  2. Edward Chan

    Didn’t work for me :-( On Windows 7 Toshiba Satellite L650 with Intel HD Graphics v8.15.10.2086.

    I checked Task Manager using Skyrocket and it does say skyrockt.sCr as per the post. But looks like this Intel Driver is now wise to the workaround.

  3. Edward Chan

    As another workaround, I have found the following works for me:

    1. Install a special screensaver that when it runs, it
    executes an exe. Two examples of programs that do this are:
    http://www.bartdart.com/downloads/screenlauncher.zip
    http://www.donationcoder.com/Software/Skrommel/index.html#RunSaver
    2. Install Really Slick Screensavers.
    3. Rename the desired Really Slick Screensaver from .scr to .exe.
    4. Choose screenlauncher or runsaver as the screensaver.
    5. Configure screenlauncher or runsaver to execute the Really Slick Screensaver (make sure you add the /s flag).

    It works because Intel only checks if the extension is .scr, not .exe.

    May be it could be simplified somehow as a complete install package and custom “screensaver > exe” to pick a Really Slick Screensaver?

  4. CoffeeJunkie

    HP 6570b i3
    Windows 7 x64.
    Intel HD 4000 8.15.10.2712
    sCr files in C:\windows\syswow64
    span monitors 2560*1080+1366*768

    yes yes yes yes for all of them!!!!!

    Thank you, I can have “my” screensavers back!!

  5. Keith Golon

    Glad to have been oh help. If there are other little Intel tricks, let’s hear them!

  6. Keith Golon

    Glad to have been oh help. If there are other little Intel tricks, let’s hear them.

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