The Ultimate Windows Screensaver Tweaking Guide

Posted in Windows 7, Windows Vista by Steve Sinchak

Microsoft released many new screensavers for Windows Vista and Windows 7 that look great. However, for some reason they never made option screens for them. All of the new screensavers have settings that you can tweak to completely change the look and behavior. Without an options screen, the only way to do this is with editing the registry directly.  This guide will help you use registry hacks to customize the Windows screensavers including:

  • Aurora
  • Mystify
  • Bubbles
  • Ribbons

Using Sysinternals Strings utility, I was able to detect the registry settings listed below.  Some of these settings have been known for a while since Long's article. Others are a TweakVista.com exclusive.  I have tried my best to figure out what the working values of the new registry settings I discovered with the Strings utility. If you happen to figure out a value I don't have please let me know and I will update the list.

To use these hacks you will need to open up Registry Editor (Start Button -> key in Regedit -> hit Enter), navigate through the paths listed below and create the required DWORD or String entries.  Then just set the value and test your changes.

Aurora Screensaver (aurora.scr)

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Screensavers\Aurora
Amplitude
Brightness
NumLayers
Speed
SpanMultiMon

Amplitude (dword) - This value seems to take decimal values between 500000000 and 2000000000.  I recommend a value of 1000000000 for a cool slow motion effect.

Brightness (dword) - I'm not completely sure about this value but anything between 1000000000 and 1050000000 seems to work. I like to use 1020000000.

NumLayers (dword) - This value can take decimal values between 1 and roughly 15.  Anything higher looks way to bright. I like to set this at 2.

Speed (dword) - This value takes decimal values between 1000000000 and 2100000000. I like to set this value to something toward the low end of the scale for a cool slow effect.

SpanMultiMon (dword) - This value only affects users with multiple monitors.  Set this value to 0 for no spanning, the screensaver will appear on both screens seperatly.  Set this to 1 to enable spanning so the screensaver will move between both monitors.  Thank John LoBasso for clearning this one up.

Bubbles Screensaver (bubbles.scr)

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Screensavers\Bubbles
BMP
ShowShadows
MaterialGlass
ShowBubbles
TurbulenceForce
TurbulenceSpeed
TurbulenceNumOctaves
Radius
SphereDensity
SpanMultiMon

BMP (String?) - Unknown. This value does not seem to do anything when I provide it with a path to a bitmap.

ShowShadows (dword) - Set this value to 1 to enable, 0 to disable.

MaterialGlass (dword) - Set this value to 0 for solid, 1 for transparent.

ShowBubbles (dword) - Set this value to 0 for black background, 1 for transparent background.

TurbulenceForce (dword) - I assume this has to do with the force the bubbles hit each other but I can not notice a difference between values other than if you set it to 0 all of your bubbles are gray.  If you want to experiment, start at decimal 1000000000 and go from there.

TurbulenceSpeed (dword) - Unknown.

TurbulenceNumOctaves (dword) - Set this value between 1 and 255.  The higher the faster the color of the bubble will change. I like to set this to 50 for a cool effect. Set it at 255 if you want to give yourself seizers.

Radius (dword) - Set this value between decimal 1130000000 for large bubbles, 1090000000 for small bubbles.

SphereDensity (dword) - Set this value between decimal 2100000000 for a lot of bubbles on screen, 1000000000 for few.

SpanMultiMon (dword) - This value only affects users with multiple monitors.  Set this to 0 for no spanning, 1 for spanning across all monitors.

For a cool effect that will make you sick to your stomach, set the radius to 1090000000, MaterialGlass to 0, and TurbulenceNumOctaves to 255.  After about 5 minutes when you screen is entirely covered in these psychedelic bubbles you will experience something I like to call seizer maker.

Mystify Screensaver (mystify.scr)

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Screensavers\Mystify
BMP
CameraFOV
LineWidth
NumLines
SpanMultiMon

BMP - Unknown.

CameraFOV - Unknown but sounds cool.

LineWidth (dword) - Set this between decimal 1000000000 for thin and 1080000000 for thick. I like to set it to 1050000000.

NumLines (dword) - Set this between 1 and 100.  I like to set mine at 10 for a cool saver.

SpanMultiMon (dword) - This value only affects users with multiple monitors.  Set this to 0 for no spanning, 1 for spanning across all monitors.

Ribbons Screensaver (ribbons.scr)

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Screensavers\Ribbons
CameraFOV
RibbonWidth
NumRibbons
Blur
SpanMultiMon

CameraFOV - Unknown.

RibbonWidth (dword) - Set this between decimal 1000000000 for thin and 1080000000 for thick. I like to use 1000000000 for this setting.

Numribbons (dword) - Set this between 1 and 100.  I like to set it at 50 for an entertaining effect.

Blur (dword) - Set this to 0 to disable the ribbon fade away.  They will just keep drawing on each other. Set to 1 to fade. 

SpanMultiMon (dword) - This value only affects users with multiple monitors.  Set this to 0 for no spanning, 1 for spanning across all monitors.

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