Do you remember that frustrating feeling when you find an interesting screensaver and can't install it on your computer? This article will help you to never have it again.
Back to when Windows 95 started to find its home on many computers there was just half a dozen of screensavers preinstalled with system. All you could do was selecting one of these. It was as simple as boring.
Luckily those times are left behind. Now we have hundreds of screensavers developed throughout years and available for download. Finding a nice screensaver matching your taste and style can be a hard task. How much disappointing is it when you are unable to install discovery on your computer then? I bet you know.
Often you come across a screensaver with an intriguing description and no screenshots. You are curios to see it in action. But: SLAP! You can't figure out way to make it work on your system and you will never know what you have missed. What a pity! I know.
Well... Enough! Enough of this! There should be a way to make us, screensaver hunters, luckier. Keep reading. There's something that can open a whole new world of screensavers to you.
First, in order to fight this evil, we should find its roots. Why is it so that we have problem? Mainly it's because there are several ways to distribute screensavers:
a) As self-extracting installation packages
b) As ZIPped installation packages
c) As individual .SCR files
The self-extracting packages are easiest to install. You just download screensaver and double click it. Then installation program starts and performs all steps necessary to install screensaver. That is, you have it ready for use just with a few mouse clicks.
You can recognize ZIPped installation packages by their names. They have ".zip" at end. Double clicking such files will probably get you nowhere unless you are well prepared.
The third category is represented by files with names ending with ".scr". Activating such file usually launches screensaver. That's not bad. At least you can see what it's all about. But this way it won't appear in list of available screensavers that operating system starts if your computer goes to rest. That is, you have to use a little trick if you like screensaver.
Now that reason of our problems is a bit more obvious, I almost hear your question. Once self-extracting packages are easiest to install, why just not to stick with them? Okay, you are right. It makes a perfect sense. But you forget one important thing. Screensavers are created by programmers.
And programmers differ from other computer users in that they see everything from their very specific and technical point of view. It's not a problem for them to extract files from ZIPped packages as they work with them very often. It is rather natural for them to copy files into secret system folders that 80% of users didn't hear about and don't have to.
That's why they create screensavers and put them on download sites in form that is hard to install for you. But don't hurry to blame them. They mostly do it unintentionally, not because they hate people who can't handle ZIP archives or bare screensaver files.
I know it because I am one of them. In fact (my face goes red here) my Rainy Screensaver ( http://www.elasticsystems.com/rainy/ ) was distributed as a ZIPped package until version 1.7. Thanks to people who provided me with their feedback. I really don't see any reason to hurt those who use their computers as tools or source of entertainment. These people don't have to know all technical aspects.
I hope more and more screensaver writers will understand this and will make their screensavers easier for you to install. Meanwhile you yourself can get knowledge needed to handle not so friendly installations without a problem. So let's get back to installing ZIPped packages and bare screensaver files.
* ZIPped installation packages
These ".zip" files are known as archives. It is very popular way to spread software and information over net. They let you to "pack" many files into one that is much easier to download. They also use special methods known as compression to reduce final size of packed files and thus save your time and money spent downloading them.