The classic "3D Maze" screensaver in Windows 11

If you’re a fan of vintage Windows screensavers and would like to relive the glory days of Windows 95, 98, 2000, ME, or XP, it’s easy to install a pack of vintage Microsoft screensavers for free. Here’s how to do it.

Administrator Account Required

To install vintage screensavers in Windows 11, you must use an administrator account. You’ll be copying files to the C:\Windows\System32 system directory, which is protected by Windows. If you aren’t using an administrator account, you can switch to one temporarily. Or, if you have access to another administrator account on the machine, you can give your account administrator access.

RELATED: How to Change a User Account to Administrator on Windows 10 and 11

How to Install the Vintage Screensaver Pack

First, visit the Internet Archive website and download this ZIP pack of 7 classic screensavers that come from classic Windows installations. In the file, you’ll find 10 screensaver (SCR) files total, but three are screensavers that already exist in Windows 11. Here’s a list of the “new” vintage ones you’ll be adding:

  • 3D FlowerBox: A colorful cube morphs into a flower shape and bounces around.
  • 3D Flying Objects: Choose from several 3D objects that bounce on the screen.
  • 3D Maze (OpenGL): A first-person textured 3D maze.
  • 3D Pipes: 3D pipes randomly appear on your screen, filling it up.
  • Flying Windows: Similar to “Starfield” below, but Windows logos instead of stars.
  • Marquee: Type a phrase, and it will scroll across the screen from left to right.
  • Starfield: This simulates flying through space at warp speed. A classic!

The ZIP file is called Windows XP and 98 Screensavers (1).zip . In the “Download Options” section on its Internet Archive page, click the “ZIP” link.

Next, open your Downloads folder and double-click the Windows XP and 98 Screensavers (1).zip file. In the Windows XP and 98 Screensavers folder, click and drag (or press Ctrl+A) to select all the SCR files with your mouse pointer. Right-click the group of selected files and select “Copy.”

Select the files, right-click, and choose "Copy."

Next, open a File Explorer window and navigate to C:\Windows\. Right-click the System32 folder and select “Paste” (the clipboard icon).

Windows will extract and copy the SCR screensaver files to C:\Windows\System32. When it’s done, open the Start menu and search for “Screensaver,” then click “Change Screen Saver” in the results.

A “Screen Saver Settings” window will open. Use the drop-down menu to select the screensaver you’d like to use. You can also preview any selected screensaver with the “Preview” button.

Select a screensaver from the list.

After selecting the screensaver you want to use, enter a time in minutes into the “Wait” box, then click “OK.” When the time you set elapses, your screensaver will activate automatically.

Later, the screensaver will disappear as soon as you move your mouse or press a key on your keyboard. It feels just like the old days—the only thing missing is a CRT monitor. Happy screensaving!

RELATED: How to Use a Screen Saver in Windows 11

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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