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Enable Screensavers to Run as Windows Vista Desktops


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You can run a screensaver, ANY screensaver as your Vista Desktop. System impact? Zero. Vista performance impact? Zero. So, are you ready to give it a try? It involves a bit of a hack. But if you are the farthest thing from a Windows power user, you can do the same thing via an application that automates the process. This tool will enable you to select the screen saver and schedule start-up rendering, absolutely no code involved! You can download the application via this link.

But if you want to get your hands dirty, here is the manual method. (courtesy of Long Zheng). Alternatively, you can also access a .mov video demonstration here.

Download Spy++ tool here.

- Boot into Windows Vista, obviously 
- Open the Spy++ tool, which is used to assist in software debugging.
- Use the “Window Search” icon, which is the binoculars icon in the toolbar.
- Drag the “Finder Tool” on to the desktop. The area surrounding the desktop should be bordered. Release mouse. Click “OK”.
- An item called “Folder View” should now be highlighted in the main window. Go up 2 parent items, and find “Program Manager”.
- There should be a bunch of characters on the left like “0002010C”, record this set of characters.
- Open the Hex to Decimal converter <
- Insert your set of characters into the “HEX value” box. Copy the resulting “Decimal” value. This is your “Handle ID”.
- Open command prompt. Type in <<[Vista Drive]:WindowsSystem32mystify.scr /p [Your Handle ID]>>, you might end up with <>. Click Enter.

“With this practical yet simple method, you can emulate the look of Desktop Aurora without any system modifications or heavy impact on performance. However, it must also be said that this approach is very flawed, as it has several downsides that makes it impractical to use for extended periods of time. The concept is extremely simple. Run a screensaver on the desktop. But with the added power of DWM, you can get all the cool Glass effects on top of the screensaver, so it’s just like a real wallpaper. Screensavers has always supported the ability to be called to render on any surface to assist in development. But we can also utilize this method to create an interesting desktop background effect,” stated Zheng.

Ending the screensaver process via the Task Manager will terminate the desktop screensaver. But feel free to experiment. mystify.scr, ribbons.scr, aurora.scr and SSBranded.scr will all deliver an intense experience. “Whilst the result is fancy for a few minutes, it becomes impractical because the desktop icons are overlapped by the screensaver rendering. But since DWM renders on top of the screensaver, you get all the fancy translucent effects with the screensaver,” concluded Zheng.

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