Screen Saver Programs

Posted on 1998-10-27
Last Modified: 2010-04-30
I asked a question a week ago and when I asked a follow-up question the expert never got back to me, so here we go again.

I would like to make screensvaer programs in visual basic. Actually I have made the programs. My original question was how do I get windows to recognise it and run it.

The answer that the other expert gave me was that I have to make another program that calls the EXE of the screensaver program and rename it's file extension .scr, I did this by creating the following:

Public Sub Main()
Dim returnvalue As Double
returnvalue = Shell("c:\windows\desktop\screensaver\GMscreensaver.EXE", 3)
AppActivate returnvalue
End Sub

I compiled the above and renamed it with the file extension of .scr and then placed it in my windows directory. I then went to windows properties dialogbox and selected this as my screensaver. The program did call the EXE listed in the sub main, but it didn't delay the 5 minutes that I have set in the windows property dialogbox. It just kept calling the program even after I closed it.

So I assume I have some code missing for the .scr program I wrote above. Or there is something else I am supposed to do.
What is the answer?
Question by:timothy1
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Expert Comment

ID: 1441939

Accepted Solution

kamall earned 50 total points
ID: 1441940
How to Create a Screen Saver in Visual Basic

Article ID: Q106239

The information in this article applies to:

 - Professional, and Enterprise Editions of Microsoft Visual Basic,
   16-bit only, for Windows, version 4.0
 - Professional Edition of Microsoft Visual Basic for Windows,
   versions 2.0 and 3.0


You can create a Windows screen saver with Visual Basic by following the

guidelines listed below. However, please note that this article gives only
a very rough outline of what you should do for a robust screen saver. These
are general guidelines only.


Follow these guidelines when creating a Windows screen saver with Visual

 - In the File Make EXE File dialog, insert the string SCRNSAVE: (in
   upper case) at the beginning of the Application Title. For example:

   SCRNSAVE:Flying Fish.

 - In the File Make EXE File dialog, specify the program file name
   extension as .SCR instead of .EXE.

 - Locate the .SCR program file in the \WINDOWS directory.

 - Give your form the following property settings so that it
   occupies the entire screen and does not have a title bar:

      Caption     = ""     (no caption)
      ControlBox  = False
      MaxButton   = False
      MinButton   = False
      WindowState = 2      (maximized)

 - Place code in all MouseMove, MouseDown, and KeyDown event handlers

   that exit the program. Because Visual Basic may invoke the MouseMove
   event when the form is first loaded, you must write code to ignore
   the first MouseMove event. The following MouseMove code avoids an
   artifact event that occurs when the application is first activated or
   when the application is running and another instance starts (causing
   loss of focus) and then quits (restoring focus):

   ' VB3Line: Enter the following two lines as one, single line of code:

   Sub Form_MouseMove (Button As Integer, Shift As Integer, _
      X As Single, Y As Single)
      Static count As Integer
      If count > 2 Then
         count = count + 1
      End If
   End Sub

   This gives you a bit of slack when it comes to artifact MouseMove
   events. You'll want to do something similar with the MouseDown and
   KeyDown events.

Preventing Multiple Launches

Windows usually launches the screen saver program multiple times. To

prevent more than one copy of your screen saver from running, add the
following statements to the Form_Load event handler, or Sub Main if used.

Sub Form_Load ()
   If App.PrevInstance Then
   End If
End Sub

There is no reason to attempt to restore the previous instance of the
screen saver as the active window because it will become the active window
when the new instance ends. All you have to do is terminate when you see
another instance running.

To prevent multiple instances of the application from running as well as to
keep the application running, you should move the code from the Form_Load()
to a Sub Main(). Then set the project's Startup Form Option to Sub Main().

Sub Main ()
   If App.PrevInstance Then   ' If already running, end the application.
      Form1.Show 1             ' Show the screen saver form.
   End If
End Sub

Launching the Screen Saver

Windows takes care of launching the Screen Saver. It keeps track of system
idle time and launches the screen saver program. You can use a timer
control to periodically draw graphics on the form.

Screen savers are selected and configured from Windows Control Panel in
the Desktop dialog. The screen saver section of this dialog has a button
labeled Setup that invokes the screen saver program with the command
line option /c. When your program is invoked with this option, you can

display a configuration form to allow the user to select settings such
as speed, number of objects, colors, and so on. Detect the /c command line
parameter by checking the Command$ function. For example:

Sub Form_Load ()
   If Command$ = "/c" Then
      frmConfig.Show   ' display configuration form
      Unload Me        ' bypass regular form
   End If
End Sub

When Windows launches the screen saver, it usually specifies the command
line option /s.

Possible Improvements


You may also want your program to appear on top of all other windows by
making it a TOPMOST window.

For additional information, please see the following article(s) in the
Microsoft Knowledge Base:

TITLE     : How to Create a Topmost or Floating Window in Visual Basic

Also, you can find two example programs and a complete explanation showing
how to write your own screen savers in Visual Basic in the following book:

   "Visual Basic Workshop 3.0" by John C. Craig, published by Microsoft

This article is a rough outline of what you should do for a robust screen
saver. For example, you might want to have the startup be a Sub Main() in
which you check for a previous instance and End if there is one. This would
avoid the form load totally if there were already an instance running. It
might also avoid the artifact MouseMove problem.

Additional reference words: 2.00 3.00 4.00 vb416

KBCategory: kbprg kbcode
KBSubcategory: APrgOther

Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.



Author Comment

ID: 1441941
Now that's What I call an ANSWER!
Thks very much!

One follow up question. I use VB5, is that going to be a problem?

Expert Comment

ID: 1441942
I don't think so.
I've just tested several 16-bit screen savers with my Win 95 and they worked just fine.
Good luck with your SCR.

Author Comment

ID: 1441943
I put the first one I did on my website as freeware

Go to:

It's not fancy, but it will do for the first one

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