In order to help prevent an occurrence called 'phosphor burn-in', early computer screen monitors, that used CRT (cathode ray tubes), relied on screen savers. By automatically switching to another screen that contained a moving or still image during long periods of inactivity, called a screen saver, these computer screen monitors were able to significantly decrease their susceptibility to gradual and permanent changes to the same 'phosphor burn-in' that would lead to shadowy or ghost-like images on the computer screen monitor.

Technology has certainly advanced greatly as phosphor coatings have been improved so much that they aren't anywhere near as susceptible to 'phosphor burn-in'. Even though people have less need for screen savers, because of these considerable strides in technology, many have a natural affinity to seeking out screen savers purely for their aesthetic and decorative properties. Whether you have an earlier computer screen monitor, or you have an unaffected LCD screen or would just like a screen saver for the decorative properties that it provides, you can use this Info Barrel article to help you find the best free screen savers to download online.

Things You Will Need

Internet Access

Step 1

In this step, you will want to determine if a free screen saver is even necessary or right for you. If you use an LCD computer screen monitor, you may want to consider not using a free screen saver simply because of how quickly the LCD's fluorescent back light can age. When an LCD's fluorescent back light hasn't been conserved and deteriorates, replacing it can oftentimes be difficult or expensive to do. On the bright side, with LCD computer monitor screens at least you do not have to worry about the 'burn in' that earlier computer monitor screens were susceptible. The case against using free screen savers on LCDs is primarily founded on the desire to conserve an otherwise expensive fluorescent back light.

Free screen savers can certainly be used with LCDs, however, I would recommend that you do so in moderation and not for very long periods of inactivity. Unfortunately, that does inherently defeat the primary purpose of using a free screen saver: allowing it to display during long periods of inactivity.

Step 2

Because of the entertainment value that people incur from them, screen savers are still all the rage even though many people don't necessarily need them in order to prevent the inherent susceptibilities that early computer screen monitor models were susceptible to. A wealth of free screen savers can easily be found online by navigating to your favorite search engine, such as Yahoo or Google. Lesser known search engines will work as well because of just how rampant downloadable free screen saver websites are nowadays.

Step 3

When you arrive at the search engine of your choice, you can find a plethora of websites that offer free screen savers by simply typing in a phrase like "get free screen savers" or "find free screen savers". You may also consider joining the words "screen" and "savers" into "screensavers". Many sites that appear will offer you the ability to browse and download free screen savers by categories of interest, such as animals or pets.

Step 4

When Google or Yahoo displays its results, you will now want to pick the result that best appeals to you. Ideally, the best results will naturally display the highest, however, you may very well not find a free screen saver that you like in a few of the results. Before searching it does help to have a general pre-conceived idea of what exact kind of screen saver you are looking for. Whether you use FireFox, Internet Explorer, or a wide array of other browsers, if you do not find what you are looking for, you can always click on the "back" button on your browser in order to navigate back to the search listing results. When that occurs and you are taken back to those results, you can click on another result and see if it surfaces the type of free screen saver that you are looking for in particular.

Step 5

If you find a free screen saver that you like, you can click to "download" it. Where you actually save your free screen saver will depend on whether you use a Mac or a Windows operating system on your computer. For Windows, you can save your free screen saver to the systems folder in order to be opened up. You can find your systems folder within your Windows folder. Your free screen saver should now appear under the "screen saver tab" when your "display control panel" is opened up. All the free screen savers that you download will be aggregated and consolidated on this list for your quick choosing.

"After Dark" is the most popular program to use on a Mac, since a program is required to use a free screen saver on a Mac. When you open your control panel folder, you can place your downloadable screen saver in your 'modules' folder within. Once your free screen saver is downloaded and saved, you can go to "After Dark" and pick the screen saver that you want to display.
As you can see from this Info Barrel article, obtaining a free screen saver isn't an overly complicated process. Search engines exist primarily to help you retrieve this information in the fastest, most efficient, manner possible. When you do find a free screen saver website, you may encounter various other products, services, or upsells available for sale. You will have to tread with caution here. If a product or service can be beneficial to you, it may not hurt to try it out. You did, however, set out to find something that is free, so paying for an additional product or service may just not interest you in the first place.

Tips & Warnings

If you have an LCD-type screen, you actually may want to consider not using a screen saver. While LCD screen monitors aren't directly susceptible to the 'phosphor burn-in' mentioned above, if you do use a screen saver on this kind of monitor, an LCD's fluorescent back light will remain lit and it will age much faster than it normally would. Rather than use a screen saver on an LCD monitor, instead I would recommend just turning off the computer monitor.