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ADVICE FOR BEGINNERS AND TROUBLESHOOTING

DOWNLOADING
VIRUS CONTROL
ADWARE/SPYWARE
INSTALLING
DISPLAY PROBLEMS
UNINSTALLING


DOWNLOADING

Click on a screensaver's name to connect to the download page/file. In most cases the link leads to the author's download page. Before downloading please check if the page contains any special requirements for your PC or any special instructions concerning the installation of the file.
After clicking on the download link a window asking the following question will appear (appearance can differ in different browsers and Windows versions):


Always choose the option 'SAVE'. This will place the file on your hard disk where you can virus check it before opening it.

Beginners:
Please look where you save the file. Your browser will not automatically save your files to a 'correct' folder, you have to sometimes go up and down the folders in "Save As"-window, until you have found the one where you want to put them.

The latest versions of Windows usually try to place the files in 'My documents' or on 'Desktop' where they are easy to find.

Error messages
Sometimes a download link does not lead to a file download but you will see various error messages instead, like 'this page cannot be displayed', or 'cannot connect to server'. Most of these problems are of temporary nature due to server or connection problems. Please try again on subsequent days. Server problems can sometimes take several days to clear. If after a few days still no luck, please let us know.

VIRUS CONTROL

All screensavers have been virus scanned before they go to the listings so in principal they should all be clean. As none of these files are kept in our servers there is a possibility that their content might be changed at a later date. This is unlikely but we strongly advice scanning them again before installation. And not only screensavers files, any downloaded files should routinely be scanned.

Always scan downloaded files BEFORE opening them. Remember to update your anti-virus program regularly, otherwise it will not be able to protect you from the latest viruses. Registered users will be notified of the latest updates.

Important for free AVG anti-virus users: You should be aware that AVG often labels adware as 'viruses' or 'Trojans' while paid anti-virus programs make a difference between the two. The difference is huge: viruses are meant to damage your PC and send more viruses to other PCs, while the purpose of adware is commercial: trying to sell you products by either propagating pop-up ads not related to the pages, or adding toolbars to your browser. They are a real nuisance though and in large quantities can destabilize your PC. Read following chapter to see how to get rid of adware.


ADWARE/SPYWARE

Viruses in downloaded files are very rare these days as most of current viruses now arrive by email. There is a new annoyance though and that is adware/spyware. These are commercial 'bundled' files that can add a toolbar, search companion, or similar to your browser. Such toolbars will then track the sites you visit and your search words and send them back to company who developed these programs. Some can even open popups not related to the websites you visit. All screensaver files listed and reviewed at Freesaver.com have been scanned for adware/spyware. Any author who tries to add these in their files will be banned from Freesaver.

If you have got adware/spyware in your PC, it is likely that it has been downloaded elsewhere than at our site, or possibly from advertising banners. We have rotating banners at the site that show thousands of different ads during the year. Obviously these are not our content, and no way can we test or validate products advertised in all these banners. We will especially warn you against anything that uses Active-x direct installs. These will always ask your permission first, and once given you have no way of knowing what is installed in your PC.

If you have any doubts that you might have got unwanted extras in you your PC, always check first Control Panel ->Add/remove list and look after anything starting with 'Search..' or 'Toolbar..'. After removing anything that you are not aware of choosing yourself, use these two excellent adware/spyware removal programs:


Always use the latest version available and check for updates frequently. Running these programs regularly is useful even if you have no knowledge of downloading or installing any extras. Any free downloads can contain bundled files, especially music files downloaded through peer-to-peer networks. When you first time run AdAware/SpyBot you will be surprised by the quantity of adware/spyware they find. 90% of these are usually simple tracking cookies you can get from advertising banners and page counters rather than proper programs. Once you start using these removal tools regularly their quantity will quickly reduce.

INSTALLING THE FILES

Most screensavers now have fully automatic installation. You only need to double-click on the downloaded file and follow the on-screen instructions.

After installation go to Control Panel -> Display Settings - (or simply click with right mouse button on the desktop and choose 'Properties') and choose Screensaver tab. Select your new screensaver's name in the drop-down list, check the settings (sometimes you can change speed, number of characters, use a password etc). Attention: all screensavers don't work in Preview mode. Sometimes you need to restart Windows to be able to use the screensaver. If you are installing several screensavers just after each other, you might get error messages. Restarting Windows solves most problems. Windows also has an upper limit how many screensavers it can handle - it is somewhere between 50 and 100+ screensavers depending of your hardware specifications.

ZIP-files
Some downloaded files are compressed zip-files and you will need an unzipping program. Windows XP/Vista and Windows 7 can open zipped files without problem (by double-clicking on them) but for earlier Windows version you will need a unzipping program.

    (Windows default settings will not show you the file type. If you can't see the file extension, you need to go to file view options and clear the box telling "hide extensions for known file types").
If you don't have any unzipping program yet, try our favorite shareware program: WinZip. There exists many other unzipping programs and you can of course use any of them. For simplicity our instructions are based on WinZip only.

Double-click on the downloaded zip-file. Winzip-window will automatically open with the contents of the file visible.

If "Install"-button is visible in the menu bar of the WinZip-window, simply click on it and follow the instructions. If there is no "Install"-button visible, check the list of unzipped files. There should be a readme-file. Double-click on it to see the instructions. Usually you have to move the scr-file with the other files to Windows directory. Sometimes exceptionally you are instructed to extract all the files to a specific directory and to click on the setup- or install-file only once there. There is a special button in WinZip-window for "extract"-option. If you find only a scr-file, move it to Windows directory. Remember to close the WinZip-window when you have finished with installation.

SCR-files
If the downloaded file is of 'scr' type, you need to move it manually to c:\windows unless author's instructions tell you otherwise (sometimes needs to go to c:\windows\system or c:\windows\system32). Installation problems
Sometimes during installation, you can get a message : "this file is corrupted - application cannot be installed" or "this file is not a valid DOS- (Windows-, Win 32- or ZIP-) file" (or something similar). This means that something has gone wrong during the downloading. There is only one thing to do: download the file again. If after several downloads the file still doesn't work, it is evident that original file in the server has become corrupted. Fortunately this doesn't happen very often. Notify the author of the screensaver about the problem.

DISPLAY PROBLEMS

Display problems are mostly caused by advanced 3D screensavers that require good quality graphic cards with plenty of video memory. Also it is essential you are always using the very latest video drivers. Go regularly to Windows Update, scan for updates and you should see on the left side under 'Drivers' any possible drivers you might be missing. If a 3D screensaver still does not work, it might be the time to upgrade your graphics card.

Some screensavers do not tolerate energy saving features. If you notice that a screensaver crashes when the PC is left alone for a longer time, try disabling low-power standby and monitor shut-down.

UNINSTALLING SCREENSAVERS

Most of the recent screensavers now have an uninstall option, but unfortunately there are still many that don't. To see if there is an uninstall option go first to 'Control Panel' -> 'Add/Remove programs' (Win9x,XP) or 'Programs and Features' (Vista). If you don't see the screensaver you want to get rid of there, then have a look at 'Start' - > 'Programs'. While uninstalling Windows might give you a warning about a shared file (many programs use same Visual Basic=VB components). Don't delete shared files unless absolutely sure. Better to be safe than sorry.

If you could not find your screensaver in the two locations mentioned above, it is time to have a closer look in the c:\windows, c:\windows\system, or c:\windows\system32 . All files ending with scr will show on your screensaver list. Delete those you do not want anymore. This method does not necessary get rid of all installed files but at least it gets rid of the main file and the name on the list. Be very careful not to delete anything else, as removing a system file might render your PC unusable.


DISCLAIMER:
Anything you download from the Net is always at your own risk. Please note that the listed screensavers are NOT produced by us but by hundreds of freeware authors around the world. Any complaints about individual screensavers should be addressed to the authors directly. Same applies to any screensavers downloaded from advertising banners and popups.

Last update March, 2010
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