How to install and configure screensavers free help tutorial. Beware freeware and shareware

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How to use a screensaver.
A free guide for
new computer users.

What is a screensaver and how does it work?

A screensaver is a small software application that is automatically activated when you leave your computer unattended without any keyboard of mouse activity, for 5 or more minutes.

The first screensavers were build about 15 years ago to save the phosphor of the monitor screen, from being exposed to the electron rays when the users forgot the computer On.

Nowadays screensavers are used mostly to show graphic animations when a user does not work with his computer.

How to get and use a screensaver.

To have a screensaver on your computer you must:

  1. Find it and Download it

  2. Install it.

  3. Set the idle time (optional).

  4. Configure it (can be done later).

  5. Enjoy it.

1. Download a screensaver

First, you must select which screensaver you want to have. There are thousands of screensavers available on the internet.

The freeware and the Shareware.
Some of them are free and called "freeware".
Others, called "Shareware" offer you a free trial version, but require that you either delete them from your computer after the trial period or you can keep them by paying a small license.

The freeware and the spy-ware cautions.
Many of the freeware screensavers are bundled with other 3rd party software know as "ad-ware" or "spy-ware". When you install them, this 3rd party software is installed as well.
The main function of the 3rd party software is to collect the "online habits" of the user and either send this information to a centralized server or present advertisements to him.
This software is totally useless to the end user, and as such, it must be avoided. In some cases,  this software does not uninstall completely and stays on your system reducing its resources.
As a general guideline, freeware screensavers bundled with other software should be avoided.

An example of a "clean" screensaver.
As an example (or exercise) you can use the StarMessage screensaver, a small but very cute screensaver showing the current moon phase and letting you write your own messages in the stars of the night sky.

Visit the official site of the screensaver.
First step is to visit the publisher's web site where the screensaver is located. It is highly recommended to download the screensaver from the publisher's site, in order to make sure the file is clean of any viruses.
The homepage of the StarMessage screensaver is:
Click the link above to go there (It will open in a new window), or download it from here.

Start the Download.
Find the "download" option of the web site and click it to start the download.
You will be prompted for these two download options:

  •  - OPEN from the current location,

  •  - SAVE to disk

Choose the first option. This will start the download of the StarMessage installer and after a few minutes, the installer will automatically proceed to the installation process.

2. Install the screensaver
You must use a windows account with administrative rights to install the screensaver

The installation "wizard" will appear, to assist you with the installation. Normally, all options are preconfigured to the most popular settings, so you just need to hit the "next" button to proceed with the installation of the screensaver.

In case of StarMessage, when the installation is concluded successfully, the screensaver will start for the first time and will show you a preview of the starry night. Hit any key to exit.

This is the end of the installation. You do not have to follow this procedure again, since the screensaver is now stored on your computer.

3. Select which screensaver to use and set the idle time (optional)

You computer has more than one screensaver installed. You can easily change the one you want to use:
[START]  (the start button of windows)
-> [Settings]  (*)
-> [Control panel]
-> [Display]
-> [Screen saver]

(*) The "settings" option exists
in some windows versions

In the "Screen saver" drop down list you see all the installed screen savers and you can select the one you prefer to use. (it should show "StarMessage"  if you are using StarMessage as an exercise).

The "wait" parameter specifies the the time-out, that will automatically start the screensaver.
A typical value is 5 minutes. This means that if you leave your computer alone for 5 minutes, the screensaver will automatically appear.

4. Configure the screensaver
(can be done later, at any time)
Go to the screensaver selection screen by clicking on the following:

[START]  (the start button of windows)
-> [Settings]
-> [Control panel]
-> [Display]
-> [Screen saver]
and select the [Settings] button.

This will bring the screensaver's settings screen with all the options of the specific screensaver.

If you are using StarMessage, you will see  the "StarMessage settings" screen.

You can configure the StarMessage screensaver with your own messages written in the stars, or enter the registration code.
As a quick test, write you own message in the "Message" entry box and when the screensaver will start, you will see the stars writing this message.

Sometimes, your windows account must have administration rights to edit the settings of the screensaver. I.e. you should not be a restricted user.

5. Enjoy
It is now time to sit back (or have a small walk) and let the computer idle. The screensaver will start after a while.
Please feel free to contact me for any additional assistance.



Common Help Topics for
all Screensavers

What is a screensaver »  
How to get and use a screensaver »  
Download a screensaver »  
Install the screensaver »  
Set the idle time »  
Configure the screensaver »  
The screensaver appears for a while and the screen goes black »  
Save the screensaver on a floppy »  
Uninstall the StarMessage screensaver »  
Create a desktop shortcut »  

Help Topics for the
StarMessage Screensaver
FAQ List
Does your software ran on Mac and Mac Os X »  
Warning of "unknown publisher" during the installation »  
How to change the initial heart and peace sign »  
Can I make the moon bigger »  
How do I use the countdown timer »  
If the screensaver freezes »  
Send a romantic message »
written in the stars

The StarMessage screensaver

download the moon and stars screensaver, displaying the lunar phases and the full moon namesImagine your most romantic message
 written in the stars.

You can now write
your name* in the stars.
*(or anything else you like)

The perfect place to write a romantic love message is at the stars of the night sky. You can prepare the perfect romantic surprise for your loved-one, and this screensaver will help you to place it in the stars. Imagine his/hers surprise when he/she sees a presentation of the night sky with the moon in the current phase and your love message written in the stars. A guaranteed success.

» Find out more...

» See what other users say...

» Download and try for free...

» YES! order online via a secure transaction...

How to save the StarMessage screensaver on a floppy disk

These instructions refer to the most common messages displayed by windows. Depending on the specific windows version that you have, some messages may appear slightly different from how they are written here. But the general idea of the procedure stays the same.

1) Insert a blank floppy disk in your floppy disk drive.

2) click on this link to download the latest version of the program from the screensaver download homepage
Click Here to Download

3) a "File download" dialog box will appear asking if you want to
- Open the file from its location, or..
- Save the file
You must select the second option (Save..)

3) a "Save As..." dialog box will appear asking for the location to save the file.
You must instruct the computer to save the file into the floppy:
Go to "My computer" -> "Floppy disk (A)"
and press the "Save" button and wait while the floppy drive makes its sounds.

Now, the StarMessage installer is saved on the floppy disk and you can distribute it by giving the disk to a friend of yours.

Since floppy disks are not very reliable storage media, I recommend that you verify that the file is stored successfully.
To verify please follow these additional steps:

4) Close all windows.

5) Open "My computer" and the "Floppy disk"

6) You will see a file named starmsg.exe. (the ".EXE" extension might not be visible on your system)

7) Right click the file and select "Properties"

8) Check the size of the file. It must be between 1.00 MB and 1.50 MB. This verifies that you stored the complete file and not just a shortcut to it.

9) Double click it to start the installation procedure.

10) If everything is Ok, you will hear the floppy making sounds and you will see the first screen of the StarMessage installation procedure.

11) If you arrive at this point, you did an excellent job and saved successfully the file on the floppy disk. If you have already installed the screensaver on your computer, press the Cancel button to stop the re-installation.

12) That's all. You saved the StarMessage installed on the floppy disk and you verified that it was done correctly. You can now give the disk to a friend of yours or keep it in your archives.

Please note that this procedure is the same for both registered and not registered users. If the recipient of the disk is a registered user, he must also get an activation code. The user can request for that code through this online from
The form will guide the user to provide simple proof that he is a registered user.

How to uninstall the StarMessage screensaver

1) Go to the "About" tab of the program and select "Uninstall".
Or, go to the Control Panel, Add/Remove programs and select StarMessage Screen Saver from the list of the installed programs and press the Add/Remove button to start the removal.

2) Choose the "Custom" uninstall option and select all the files.

In some cases the uninstall information might get lost (especially if you don't select the "custom" option mentioned above.
You might get the error "cannot open install.log" file.
For those cases, you can manually delete the starmessage files to uninstall it. Find and delete all the "starmsg.*" files from your hard disk. Use the search and specify the option to "search for ALL files", if such an option exists in the specific version of your windows. The files that should be found and can be safely deleted are:


You do NOT need to delete any other files. There is not a specific folder for the screensaver and you should NOT delete any folder.

How do I use the countdown timer?

Go to the screensaver configuration page and select More Options

Go to the "Star Messages" Tab

Click on the Countdown button

A form will appear where you should enter the date and time of the event that you want to count down to.

If you have entered this in the place of the first StarMessage (because you can have a series of Messages to be written in the stars), the next time the screensaver will start, you will see the initial message and then the stars will move to show you the days until the countdown event.

You can have only one countdown event.

If you want to see the countdown as the standard message (when the screensaver starts) you must manually type "COUNTDOWN" in the message entry box in the main configuration screen.

If the screensaver freezes

The StarMessage screensaver has been downloaded and successfully operated by more that 500'000 users. Only in a very few cases, there were reports that the program was freezing and stopping the computer. There are two reasons why this may happen:
  1. Invalid Download File
    You may have downloaded an invalid installation file from another website.
    Please download the StarMessage screensaver only from the official site,
    There is only one trial version to download. There is not a separate "Full Version".
    If you have bought a license, you must download the free trial version which you will activate with the activation code that was emailed to you. This will convert the free version to the "Full Version".
  2. Virus on your computer
    The screensaver has a self-protect feature that prevents it from running if it is infected or altered in anyway.
    If the screensaver freezes, you should run a virus scan on your computer and use all these free antivirus scanners.
    It is recommended that you run first Microsoft's antivirus, since it may catch the virus more easily.
  3. More than one Antivirus programs
    There were some reports of problems, in computers that had two antivirus programs conflicting with each other. Uninstalling the second antivirus program solves the problem.

To correct this problem:

  1. Go to the display properties and from the "screensaver" drop down list,
    select "(none)". This will temporally stop StarMessage from starting automatically, until the problem is fixed.
  2. Uninstall StarMessage and download the trial latest version from the official site (as described above)
  3. Run all the antivirus scanners (as described above)
  4. To test if the screensaver still freezes, double click on the desktop icon of StarMessage. This will make the screensaver to run. Or use the "preview" button from the "Display Properties" window.
  5. If after installing the screensaver from the official site and running these antivirus scanners, the screensaver still freezes, please contact us to investigate further. We will examine the screensaver LOG file to find the reason of this problem and fix it.

How to send a message to another user of StarMessage

The StarMessage screensaver allows you to send a message to a friend via email. When your friend receives it, he will see your message written in the stars. Both you and your friend need to have a working copy of the StarMessage screensaver. Although not necessary, it is recommended that your friend has a registered version to avoid any "please register" reminders.

To send a message via email, please go to:

-> Configuration screen of the starmessage screensaver
-> [May I have more options] button
-> [Message mania] tab
Type your message and the bottom line and press the [Preview] button to see if your message is displayed as you wanted.
Then press the [Send] button.

This will open a new temporary folder and inside that folder you will see 2 files.

1) The file named "Receive Instructions.txt" contains instructions for the user that will receive the email.
You must copy paste the text from this file inside the email that you are going to send to your friend.

2) The file named "NewMessage.StarMsg" contains the actual "star message" that you prepared.
You must attach this file to the email.

Now you can send the email you just created.


When your friend receives this email he must:
1) install the StarMessage screensaver, if he does not already have it.
2) Open the attached NewMessage.StarMsg file and the import will be done automatically.
He will see your message written in the stars. Very impressive, especially for romantic messages.

If you want, you can try to send this email to yourself first, to experience and understand better this procedure.
Another quick test can be done by using a star message that I prepared to demonstrate how the import is done.
You can to open this demonstration star-message. The demo message is saved inside a zip file due to restrictions of the webpage.
Open this zip file and double click on the newmessage.starmsg file.
On the dialog that will popup, select the "open" option.
This will activate the StarMessage screensaver that will automatically import and display the message.

I am reminding you that you must have installed StarMessage on your computer for that test to succeed.

¤ If you don't already have the screensaver,
please click here to get a free evaluation copy.

¤ If you want to learn more about
this screensaver, please click here.


How to change the initial heart and peace sign of StarMessage?

The initial configuration of StarMessage comes with signs of hearts and peace drawn in the stars.
You can easily change them with your own messages:

  • Go to the configuration screen of the screensaver (as described above)
  • Press the "More Options" button.
  • Click on the "Star Messages" tab.
  • You will see that there are 2 messages. You delete them or change each of them to your own messages.


How to create a desktop shortcut to the screensaver

  • Click on [start] ->   [Search] ->
     [For files and folders]
  • Type "starmsg.scr" in the entry box and hit the [Search] button.
  • Windows will find the starmsg.scr (with a black icon).
  • Use the RIGHT mouse button to drag this icon on an empty space on the desktop.
  • Release the mouse button and select "Create shortcut here"


Can I make the moon bigger?

The moon (in the screensaver) has a fixed size which cannot be changed.


Where are the full moon names shown?

The moon phase type and percent illuminated should appear in the scrolling bottom line. Two days before the full moon, the scrolling line will also show the name of the upcoming full moon. Please make sure you have some text typed in the bottom line, otherwise these names will not appear.




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