A good safe screen saver can be hard to find. They have become popular programs for viruses and malware to piggyback on, and many may require or attempt to force the installation of unwanted toolbars and software. These days, many people do not even use screen savers for their originally intended purpose, often simply setting their computer to shut off the monitor after idling for too long. But, there are several really fascinating and useful screen savers out there for those who enjoy them, and I have tracked down a sampling of some really fun and safe to use screen savers for your perusal and enjoyment. Read on to see my findings.
NOTE: These screensavers work both in Windows 7 and Windows 8, with one exception: Security Essentials Screen Saver works only in Windows 7, if you have Microsoft Security Essentials installed.
3D Falling Leaves Screensaver
I wanted to begin by featuring a screen saver from Screensaver.com for a couple of reasons. Firstly, several of their screen savers are very pretty, and they have one of the largest selections of savers you are going to find. Also, if you use almost any search engine to find free screen savers their website’s search engine optimization is very solid, and it’s almost certainly going to appear at the top of your browser. However, more importantly, these screen savers can be risky to use if if you do not read the fine print. While I’ve found none that actually carry viruses, the installation process will put you through several screens like the one below. These screens often offer toolbars and other advertising software and games that in many cases may serve as a distraction on your computer. Make sure to carefully read every panel and hit decline if you don’t want extra software beyond the screen saver installed on your computer!
To their credit, they are pretty straightforward about their process and give you every opportunity to say no to any extra software. The reason they have all of these neat screen savers for free is because of all the sponsors they have paying them to advertise through their product. And, if you’re smart about it, you can enjoy their best screen savers without taking anything you don’t want away from it.
One of their screen savers I have enjoyed in particular is the 3D Falling Leaves Screensaver.
It depicts one of a few landscapes that emphasize the best of nature during the Fall season, which is particularly perfect for this holiday season.
Security Essentials Screen Saver
This little gem has the added quality of automatically running a Microsoft Security Essentials scan in the background when it is activated. Simply install it and set it as your default screensaver, and Windows will take care of scanning your computer whenever the screensaver is activated. You can literally set it and forget it, keeping your drives clean.
It can be found and downloaded via deviantART at Security Screensaver 2.0. Obviously, you need Microsoft Security Essentials installed on your computer. Also, if you want more specific installation instructions, check out this guide: Automatically Scan Your PC With Microsoft Security Essentials When System Is Idle.
Suggested by one of our users, this screen saver shows the month, day, day of the week, hour, minute and second on six bars that gradually concentrically circle the screen as time passes. It’s an interesting display, I bet it’d be especially cool to have this one running for the New Years’ Eve countdown!!
This screen saver can be found at PolarClock.
While originally a favorite Mac screen saver, a deviantART user developed a version of this popular screen saver that functions on Windows. However, despite originally being a deviantART creation, it can no longer be found on deviantART as has been picked up by Softonic. They have added an option to install their toolbar in the installation process of the screen saver, so you’ll have to make sure to uncheck the box if you do not want this added to your browser.
Once you have it installed, the screen saver runs it’s design just like the Mac version, and is both mesmerizing and simple at the same time. Pictures don’t really do this one justice, but the video below comes close!
You can download this screen saver from here: Flurry Screensaver.
3D Time Screen Saver
If you’d like a simple screen saver that tells you the time, this one might fit your utilitarian desires. It’s a very simple black and white depiction of the current time in military format, moving towards the screen as every second passes.
This is another piece made by a deviantART user, and can be found at 3d clock +screensaver.
Another saver suggested by one of our users, this one provides a lot of information about your computer including CPU usage and how much of your memory is being used. It also includes the date and time, and allows you to put in your own text files so you can have it say whatever you like on the screen. If you intend to use it for actual screen saving purposes be sure to turn on the “ScreenWash" option in the settings.
This saver can be found at UsefulSaver. Make sure to take advantage of the 64 bit version if you have a 64-bit version of Windows.
My final entry is a prime example of a truly innovative and fun screen saver, and is my personal favorite. Found at Electricsheep.org, this screen saver is named for Philip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Indeed, the screen saver functions by having all of it’s animations created by the sleeping processors of actual users’ computers. These images, referred to as “sheep," are downloaded through a working Internet connection into your computer. While the screen saver runs, you are able to vote on the “sheep" presented to you, which influences the central database’s choices on which kinds of “sheep" are most preferred by users. Several of the “sheep" can be quite mesmerizing and even artistic. If you’re interested in what are often beautiful computer-generated images, this program is definitely worth a look; even if you don’t necessarily need an actual screen saver. Just like Flurry above, pictures don’t quite do Electric Sheep justice.
I hope you found this roundup useful and exciting. If you have other good screen savers you would like to recommend, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.