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What is the file format for Windows screensavers?

There is no unique file format for screensavers on the Microsoft Windows operating system. Rather, screensavers are simply executable files that have had their extension renamed from .EXE (executable) to .SCR (screensaver) so that Windows recognizes them as screensavers.

When you open the Screen Saver Settings panel, Windows will start searching through several folders on your hard drive, looking for files that have the .SCR extension. These are then added to the list of screensavers, and can subsequently be selected, previewed and configured.

Not all executable files can simply be renamed to act as a screensaver, however. When Windows finds a file that appears to be a screensaver, it will expect it to respond appropriately to certain command line arguments, specific to screensavers. If it does not, the file will not be run as a screensaver.

The .SCR extension is uniquely identified by Windows as belonging to a screensaver, but the file format ultimately does not differ from other programs that have the .EXE extension.

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