How-To Geek

Create Icons to Start the Screensaver on Windows 7 or Vista

Reader Jeffrey wrote in asking how to create an icon to start up the screensaver in Windows Vista. This question is so common that I figured I’d write up the answer for everybody, as well as provide a downloadable set of shortcuts to all the default screensavers (for Vista users).

Note that this technique should work for Windows 7, Vista, or even XP.

Create Screensaver Icon

Right-click on the desktop and choose New \ Shortcut from the menu.


In order to launch the screensaver, you’ll need to enter the full path to the screensaver file, followed by “/s”

%systemroot%\system32\Bubbles.scr /s


You would want to substitute the name of the screensaver where you see “Bubbles.scr” above. Also note that I used %systemroot% instead of C:\windows because not every install uses the C: drive.

If you don’t know the filename, you can browse down to your system32 folder and then search for “.scr” using the search box:


You should see all of the names of all the screensavers installed on your system, which you can use in the location field.

Download Shortcut Icons (Vista Only)

If you’ve prefer, I made shortcuts for all the default screensavers and zipped them up. You can just download and extract the file, and then use whichever ones you want.


Note: I’m fairly certain I didn’t miss any default screensavers in the list, but it’s certainly possible since it’s 6am and I’m still awake.

Download Start Screensaver Icons

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/8/07

Comments (29)

  1. Russ Francis

    This works for Windows XP as well.

  2. Lighthouse

    OK OK but why not just drag’n’drop the .scr from the systems32 folder to the desktop (it works)

  3. Noah Coad

    This is a good tip, but unfortunately it doesn’t tell the actual OS to start it’s screen saver. If you want the screen to lock and ask for a password after the screen saver starts, this won’t cut it. I use a little tool, nircmd.exe ( which tells the OS to start the screen saver. I like using this to lock my PC, instead of Win-L to lock, why not pull up a nice screen saver (family photos) with it requiring a password. :)

  4. Grim Reaper

    Easier method for setting .scr shortcut: Click computer > C (or your install path) > windows > system32, search for “.scr”. Right click the file > send to > desktop (create shortcut0.

  5. Paul Wilson

    Dear Support,

    Thank you for the shortcut advice. I would like to ensure that the return to password logon screen is enabled when using the short cut.

    I have Vista photoscreen saver password option enabled and this works when the screensaver runs via the timer. However the screensaver does not return to password screen when I use the created short cut.

    Should I use an additional switch within the shortcut command?



  6. Critcho


    this does not work for me on Vista. My shortcut is to

    %systemroot%\System32\Bubbles.scr /s

    Start in: C:\Windows\System32

    When I try to open the link, it advises “Windoze cannot open this file. Specify a program or look online?”

    Nirsoft nirCmd works, thanks!

  7. Paul Wilson


    I have found the best way to resolve all the issues is to create a shortcut to lock your computer. Your screen saver password works and the screen saver kicks in after the time delay you set in the Vists screen saver options

    Just google short cut lock computer and lots of sites appear



  8. Matt

    How do we disable the screensaver?

  9. Kev

    why do you have to follow the path with /s?

  10. Roger Leese

    I downloaded the screen saver icons and extracted them. When I click to open the file it opens and displays the code but no screen saver starts.

  11. Jeff

    When I double click on a shortcut to start a *.scr file, the file opens up in notepad instead of starting the screen saver. What do I need to do to correct thils?

  12. Matt

    I have followed the above direction but when I double click on my shortcut notepad launches. What can I do to fix this?

  13. Kim

    I have no problem with the tutorial. But if i wanna give the screensaver a password when u move the mouse again?

  14. devrim

    on windows explorer menu, select SETTINGS\FOLDER SETTINGS.
    select FILE TYPES tab,
    click NEW TYPE button,
    type SCR as extension,
    click ADVANCED>> button,
    in drop down list, select SCREENSAVERS item,
    click OK,
    will ask if you sure,
    click OK.

  15. L8TYBUGZ

    I did this on my computer, and it worked great. However, I am now unable to click the screensaver option when personalizing my desktop. My OS is Vista 64-bit. If I delete this shortcut will that mess up the screen save all together? I don’t want to make shortcuts for all the screensavers.

  16. April

    Thank you so much. Your info and directions were perfect for me since I don’t know much about computers. I think this is the first time I’ve searched for advice and had what I wanted up and running in less than a minute. Thank you! Thank you!

  17. Kevin


    I have a laptop with windows vista 64 bit O/S, I have downloaded a screen saver from the site, however it does not appear in the screen saver drop down list, am I doing any thing wrong.



  18. Elton

    He guys,

    How do I make it so I can pin it to the taskbar? Must I compile an .exe? if so… can someone help me with this? :-D… also, it would be fantastic if you could help me with a new icon for this said .exe (I use UC3D and the icon is incredibly ugly)

  19. unknown

    what is UC3D

  20. Skydiver

    save in a filename.cmd

    @START /WAIT /MIN /LOW c:\windows\system32\skyrocket.scr -s
    @%windir%\system32\rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation

  21. Boda

    This method works great on Vista ,Thanks for the advice!

  22. charlie

    my windows vista is slow and when i point and click on some items it quits or just freez up on me. it is so slow starting up enternet. i have shut some things down but it is still got a lot of junk running, so.HELP thanks charlie

  23. JoJo

    When I double click on the icon, the windows doesn’t know what to open it with, and it asks what do u want to open it with. Is this normal? Or do i have to set a default to oepn scr files?

  24. Tom

    Skydiver’s solution works best for me. I changed “skyrocket.scr” to “scrnsave.scr” and saved the .cmd on my desktop. Thank you very much, Skydiver!

    Now this function of invoking the screensaver and locking the ‘puter is at least somewhat like my Macs, where I can set a hot corner to do this. On the PC I just have to double-click in the corner of the desktop versus just jamming the mouse pointer into the corner-most pixel.

  25. booi

    thanks man

  26. CJ

    That worked and was useful (I actually used Grim Reaper’s advice, but the principle is identical).
    Love your work.

  27. Liz

    Unable to have screensaver to work tried everything change time sleep mode but no luck any suggestions.?.?.?

  28. Liz

    Oh is a HP all in one touch windows 7.

  29. ADMC

    This method works great if you just want to blank your screen while in a meeting.

    Also, if you right click the final shortcut and view properties you can set up a shortcut key which really makes this useful. I already had the FN F1 to lock my Toshiba but sometimes I just want to blank the screen but not lock it and this works perfectly!

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