Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Screensavers and Monitor "Burn In"

A reader question reminded me that some notions take a long time to die.

Q: Paul, I think I need your help. I am concerned about my friend’s computer. She doesn’t use a screensaver even though I have consistently warned her that her image will freeze and wreck her monitor and she will have to buy a new one.

Would you please write about the importance of screensavers so I can show her your article? Thank you.

A: Dear Reader,
In reading your e-mail, I believe that what you are referring to is a phenomenon that was known as “monitor burn in” (aka “screen burn”), where an image or set of text could get ‘etched’ onto the phosphors of a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) screen. Which would create a permanent ‘ghost’ on the screen.

It is true that the screensaver was invented to reduce/eliminate that problem.

It is also true that it was relevant to 1980’s technology and hasn’t been pertinent to any monitor built after.. oh.. say.. 1990? 1984? and that is capable of more than one color. (I hope your friend’s equipment isn’t that obsolete!)

However, the idea of screensavers never really went away, as they are kind of neat, and visually interesting. A lot of people use them as a slideshow of their favorite pictures, (see, Show off your photos with a screensaver slideshow) but for decades now, a screensaver is entirely optional.

[note: It is common knowledge amongst savvy computers users that pre-configured screensavers – available on the Internet – are often loaded with malware by hackers, as a method of infection. You should be very leery of downloading screensavers.]

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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May 1, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers | , , , , , , , | 13 Comments