- Complete Guide
- Table of Contents
- Welcome to iScreensaver
- Downloading and Installing
- Designing and Preparing
- Managing Projects
- Importing Media
- Editing a Screensaver
- Branding Control Panels
- Customizing Installers
- Building Installers
- Distributing Installers
- QuickStart and Sample Projects
- Installing a Screensaver
Troubleshooting tips for iScreensaver: For authors using iScreensaver Designer, and for end users using screensavers created with the software.
Troubleshooting iScreensaver Designer
For iScreensaver Authors
This section is for authors who are using the iScreensaver Designer software to make screensavers. If you are seeking help with using screensavers created with iScreensaver, see below.
iScreensaver Designer is a professional multimedia editor application. As such it can require and use large quantities of RAM, CPU, and Hard Disk. For best results, we recommend macOS 10.14 or Windows 10 with a computer built in the last two years.
Install / Uninstall problems
Trouble installing iScreensaver Designer is often caused by Anti-Virus software, or by the computer not meeting the minimum requirements:
If you have purchased a License code, but can't get it to validate:
- Trouble with Validations: See here.
General Performance Tips
- Think of the end users: You (the multimedia author) probably have a fast machine, but the end users may not. Keep this in mind when designing your artwork. iScreensaver can be downloaded and used prior to purchase, so please test on a variety of platforms and machines as you design your screensaver.
- 4K UHD: 4096x4096 motion screensavers look fantastic, but make sure your end users can run them well. Think about having multiple versions of the project with vastly higher and lower resolution images as download options.
- Consider making a "lo-fi" version: Using current technology it's simply not possible to make a "one size fits all" screensaver that works on every machine. What looks great on a modern fast computer will look very klunky on a old, slow one. We suggest creating a "low fidelity" version (using reduced size and reduced frame-rate versions of all media) that you can distribute for older/slower machines. If you need to support really old machines, consider using iScreensaver 5 for mediumly ancient machines or iScreensaver 3.5 or 4 for truly legacy computers.
- RAM, CPU, Disk : if your computer is busy with other tasks, those will slow down the screensaver. Look for other processes that may be competing: Windows Task Manager or macOS Activity Monitor.
- Sequence Size: There is no hard limit on the number of items in a sequence. We have tested with 9,000 items on a fast machine with plenty of RAM, and it works fine; but typically as the number of items increase, performance will suffer.
- Image overlays and Text Captions can cause animation to slow down. Don't use overlays, or use small ones, for better performance.
- Flicker: See the most recent Release Notes for known issues with overlay flicker when using video content on Windows 7 with Aero Glass disabled.
Image Transition Effects
- Image Size : All video cards have a maximum pixel size they can handle (for example, older cards max out at 1024x1024). However, many cards will show slow performance long before they reach that maximum. A good rule of thumb is to reduce image sizes to no larger than the size of the monitor. See Image Sizing for more details.
- Video Drivers : This is mainly an issue for windows PCs, where the built in Microsoft video drivers are very slow. Updating to the proper vendor-supplied drivers can make a 50x improvement or more. For tips, see How to update Video Drivers.
- Video Card, Video RAM: If your PC is old, or even if it's new but has an old or low powered video card, performance will suffer. The only thing to do in this case is get a modern video card. Many laptops, or netbooks in particular, have slow video cards that cannot be upgraded.
- Image Behavior Duration: Many computers will not be able to keep up with very short image durations. Short durations may also impact the pre-caching behavior so that image transitions are not as smooth as possible. We recommend 5 seconds or longer as a good rule of thumb.
Reducing Movie Sizes
- Use the H.264 video codec. See Release Notes.
- Reduce your movie size: Remember that a movie that twice as wide and twice as tall requires 4x as many pixels to be decoded. DVD video is only 720x480 pixels in size, standard HD is 1920x1080, and newer formats even larger. While computer monitors consist of higher resolutions, we do not recommend creating 2k or 4k movies for screensavers.
- Reduce the frame rate: Although humans can see up to 60fps or higher, movie theaters use 24fps, and cartoons are often shown at 15fps. Try reducing the frame rate of your movie.
Audio is fun, but remember that a screensaver is a special setting: the computer's user is not present, and the screen may be password protected. If you include audio you run the risk of driving your users and coworkers bonkers. Here are some tips:
- Timing: The background audio sequence runs independently from the foreground video sequence. iScreensaver can not give you exact audio timing of either audio or video sequences. On slow machines the audio may start a few seconds after the images. So, if you really need exact sequencing of images and audio, then you should use a movie format where the audio and video are synchronized.
- Looping: if you do use audio, consider having it play once only.
For Screensaver Users
This section is for users seeking help with a screensaver created with iScreensaver Designer. If you are a screensaver author, please see above.
Install / Uninstall problems
Trouble installing Screensavers are often caused by Anti-Virus software, Gatekeeper and Authenticode security, or by the computer not meeting the minimum requirements.
- AntiVirus Software: See here.
- Gatekeeper and Authenticode security : Unidentified developer warnings from macOS and Windows can be bypassed by following these instructions.
- System Requirements : See here.
There are some specific technical rule changes from Microsoft in supporting modern CPUs that have affected how all screensaver installers unzip.
- "Extract All" when Unzipping: See here concerning unzipping under Windows.
Trouble with un-installing is usually caused by installing multiple copies of the same screensaver in different location(s) : try a manual uninstall.
- Uninstalling screen savers manually: See here.
First, remember that a screensaver is not meant to be a high-performance media playback environment. While the screensaver is running, your computer may be working on background processes, such as antivirus scans, disk cleanup, etc. All of these can impact performance of the screensaver. Also, screensavers that do use a lot of system resources (CPU, Hard Disk, RAM) can be energy wasters. See Green Screens for tips on saving energy.
There are other things that can negatively impact performance. Here are some to consider:
General Performance Tips
- Multiple monitors: iScreensaver can run on 2 or more monitors. This may substantially reduce performance. Try running on a single monitor only.
- RAM, CPU, Disk : if your computer is busy with other tasks, those will slow down the screensaver. Look for other processes that may be competing: Windows Task Manager — macOS Activity Monitor.
Image Transition Effects
- Video Drivers - this is mainly an issue for windows PCs, where the built in Microsoft video drivers are very slow. Updating to the proper vendor-supplied drivers can make a 50x improvement or more. For tips, see How to update Video Drivers.
- Video Card, Video RAM - if your PC is old, or even if it's new but has an old or low powered video card, performance will suffer. The only thing to do in this case is get a modern video card. Many laptops, in particular, have slow video cards that can not be upgraded.
Miscellaneous Screensaver issues on Windows 7
- My screensaver never starts due to wireless mouse issues.
- Password protection doesn't always work.
- Screensaver runs on the wrong monitor.