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.

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