Are Screensavers necessary and still needed?

Screensavers are a visual treat and there are plenty available all over the Internet. But are Screensavers necessary anymore? A screensaver is basically nothing but a computer program that  fills the screen with images or abstract patterns. It gets activated when the computer is not in use for a particular period of time. The idea behind this originally was to prevent phosphor burn-in on Cathode Ray Tube and Plasma monitors. But since now most of us use LCD monitors, they are used mainly for entertainment or security purposes.

Are Screensavers necessary anymore

Colorful and animated screensavers look good to the eye and sometimes give you a feeling of freshness and fill you with enthusiasm. Back in the 90s and 2000s, they were in abundance and the beautifully animated ones were a craze. Back then, they were necessary too, because of the CRT monitors. But as we moved towards LCD monitors, are the screensavers are activated for security purposes mainly.

Are Screensavers Necessary

Purpose of Screensavers

The working method of CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors made it necessary to have an object always moving on the screen. The CRT monitors used a gun that focused rays to different phosphorus pixel centers on the back of CRT screens and used to hit them. The phosphorus points were heated upon hit and produced light. Several hits all over the screen backside produced heat that converted into light to show us images on the screen.

If an image was left still, the cathode ray gun would hit the same phosphorus points again and again to retain the image. Since light was produced by heat, in those circumstances, the possibility of creating a permanent burn was high and hence screensavers were introduced. Screensavers used to make the gun hit different phosphor points as long as the screensavers were always moving.

One can argue why not simply turn OFF the monitor if not in use for a while. But the CRT monitors pulled a heavy load of electricity when turned ON. This was a reason why turning off CRT monitors was not recommended unless you were sure you won’t be using the computers for more than an hour or so.

Thus, with CRT monitors, the screensavers were a necessity as they prevented screen burn and saved energy, by way of keeping monitors ON. However, since most of us now use LCD screens, there is no real use for screensavers.

Are Screensavers still needed

If you are using an LCD monitor, you do not need screensaver. It is a different thing that some computer users still prefer visual treats and hence install good screensavers. Some prefer to have the screensaver activated when they are away from the screen and require them to logon again. Yet others may like to use a screensaver which will display some system information.

With LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) monitors, there are no phosphors involved. Though the heat is there, it is not as much as the one created by CRT gun.

The images are created on an LCD monitor by aligning liquid crystals in different forms using electricity. The rear side of LCD monitor is also a screen containing liquid crystals. The crystals are arranged in a specific format and heated a little to produce light that in turn, produce image on the screen.

Since the heat is not much, you can keep a static image on the LCD screen for a considerable period of time without harming the screen. But keeping a static image consumes energy, so it is better to turn off the monitor as long as you are not using it. Unlike CRT monitors, there is no heavy pull of electricity when the screen is turned ON. So you can use the Windows Power Options to turn it off after a while of inactivity and turn it on simply by moving mouse or pressing any key. Screensavers are therefore not required anymore.

Save Battery Instead

Some people still use screensavers for fun, but that is entirely their choice and not a necessity. Using screensavers means keeping the screen ON. In the ON state, monitor drains off energy. In this age where we depend on battery life, saving each unit of energy is a necessity. It is always better to turn off the screen when it is not in use and later turn it on when required. That will pretty much save a lot of your battery juice.

Hence to conclude, the answer to “Are screensavers necessary and still needed” depends on the following:

  1. Yes, if you are using a CRT monitor of the 90s and 2000s;
  2. No, if you are using a modern computer monitor or integrated screens built into tablets and smartphones.
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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.