Ten Must-Have Free Screensavers for Windows, part 1

Although most modern displays do not need screensavers anymore, they remain a part of our everyday computing experience, at least for some.

These days screensavers are more about form rather than function; a diversion for when you walk away from your PC or when you’re on the phone for a long time, etc.

But they can also make a statement, and that is what this post is about.

When you’re away from your cubicle colleagues and friends might still walk by and see your screen, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t grab their attention with your mature visual taste.

10 must have free screensavers

Here’s the list. I put a little section in each entry entitled “what your coworkers will think when they see this screensaver while you’re away from your desk”, just for fun!

  1. YoWindow: displays the weather as a visual landscape
  2. Zoomquilt II: a never ending surrealist landscape
  3. Earth Screensaver HD: awesome earth from space screensaver
  4. GEOCODEARTH: a Geo-Mashup of Twitter, RSS, Flickr, etc.
  5. The Endless Forest: a 3D virtual world as screensaver
  6. Briblo: falling LEGO bricks
  7. WikiQuoteScreensaver: on-demand wisdom in a screensaver
  8. Gruella and Gruella’s pet: for kids and adults alike
  9. Cubicle Flood: (self-explanatory)
  10. Collage: displays a collage of your pictures on the desktop

1. YoWindow: displays the weather as a visual landscape

For those who wish they had a window with a view, or who harken to a simpler time when we lived on farms, or who just want a really cool visual representation of the weather rather than a desktop widget.

YoWindow, displays the weather visually

There is an excellent free version that you will like, but the paid version has more scenes and other functions obviously.

What your coworkers will think when they see this while you are away from your computer: they will think it’s cool (no pun intended), and will use this screensaver later on to start a conversation with you. “Where did you find this great screensaver?”; “on Freewaregenius.com”; etc.


2. Zoomquilt II: a never ending surrealist landscape

Just in case you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be flying through surrealistic landscapes that never end, the Zoomquilt series is here to show you. This collaborative art project is wild, grotesque, and just a pure high octane visual explosion. Your coworkers will stop and stare.

Zoomquilt II–note that whoever put this on YouTube added the soundtrack, which is not in the screensaver itself.

You can find the first Zoomquilt flash animation here, which is also definitely worth checking out and can be installer as a screensaver as well.

What your coworkers will think when they see this while you are away from your computer: that your subconscious is oh so close to the surface, that there’s more to you than the outward appearance, that you’ve got a whole other mystical side that they didn’t know about. Or they’ll think that you’re simply weird. ;)


3. Earth Screensaver HD: awesome earth from space screensaver

This web-connected earth from space screensaver will display the earth with real time accuracy in terms of day and night representations. It will zoom in on random locals and points them out, which I’m not sure why, but it also will display factual tidbits such as the current population of the earth, how many hectares of forest have been destroyed this year, and other frequently depressing info. The selling point for me is that it’s amazingly beautiful, and I love to have the earth as my screensaver.

What your coworkers will think when they see this while you are away from your computer: some will think it pretty but move on, others will notice the green factoids and will think you a kindred green spirit.

To download, click the link in the title above then scroll down; the download button is to the right of the ‘screensaver’ section.


4. GEOCODEARTH: a Geo-Mashup of Twitter, RSS, Flickr, etc.

Another globe screensaver, but this one is connected to the web; and Web 2.0 in particular. GEOCODEarth spins the virtual earth and displays image uploading activity via Twitter, Flickr and other sources. You could enter your own keywords to filter images by if you wish.

GeoCodEarth Screenshot 1GeoCodEarth Screenshot 2

What your coworkers will think when they see this while you are away from your computer: wow, this person is sooo Web 2.0.


5. The Endless Forest: a 3D virtual world as screensaver

This is in fact a multiplayer online game which can be run as a screensaver, where you are a deer running around in a magical forest. It has no rules or objectives, but the player can interact with others and just explore and see what happens.

This one is included here for it’s sheer originality and ambition. It is also pretty darn cool.

What your coworkers will think when they see this while you are away from your computer: this one you will have to show people, since someone will need to be there to control the deer and move it around. But those who you do show it to will be impressed and/or amused. “You are such a geek” they will say with much, um … fondness ;)

Note: the screensaver component does NOT seem to work on 64 bit versions of Windows, although the game plays just fine.


6. Briblo: falling LEGO bricks

Quick: what is the best thing in the world? Legos, of course, so it’s a no brainer that an animation of falling LEGO bricks is in demand. Hence: Briblo.

Briblo Screenshot
This is an interactive screensaver where the arrow keys/space/enter will allow you to move the falling pieces Tetris style, but it’s not really a game.

What your coworkers will think when they see this while you are away from your computer: wow, this person is so contemporary and stylish and modern in that Scandinavian/IKEA minimalist way! Alternately, if no Scandinavian connection is made in their minds: “this person is so playful and creative!”


7. WikiQuoteScreensaver: on-demand wisdom in a s screensaver

As you could glean from the title, this one displays (mostly profound) quotes from WikiQuote.

WaterEffect

You will need to set it up, putting in queries like ???love” or “truth” or whatever (in any of the 5 supported languages), before it fetches quotes for you.

What your coworkers will think when they see this while you are away from your computer: whoaa! this person is sooo deep, sooo wise.. etc.


8. Gruella and Gruella’s pet: for kids and adults alike

These very brief screensavers are for kids, or for those of us who are kids at heart ;). Make sure not to turn the sound on while you’re away, as it will loop over and over and drive everyone crazy!

pet screenshotkid screenshot

What your coworkers will think when they see this while you are away from your computer: they will appreciate your wacky and zany sense of humor, naturally.


9. Cubicle Flood: (self-explanatory)

Cubicle flood screensaver (+ added soundtrack)

What your coworkers will think when they see this while you are away from your computer: “that’s exactly what I wish would happen to this da*n place”.


10. Collage: displays a collage of your pictures on the desktop

This one is similar to the many ‘photo’ screensavers that are out there, but different in the way it displays your images as a collage right on your desktop. It also adds a sidebar with the time and quotable quotes; the end effect is very cool.

Collage Screenshot

What your coworkers will think when they see this while you are away from your computer: they will ask “where do you find all this cool stuff?”; “Freewaregenius.com”; “Free what? … “, etc.


That’s it. Thanks go to Alaa K for much of the research for this post.

Know of other really cool screensavers that I can feature in a sequel to this article? Please let me know about them in the comments.


 
 
 
Samer Kurdi

Samer Kurdi

Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started Freewaregenius.com
flattr this!
  • http://www.zoniweb.com ZoNi

    My fav screensavers are here:
    http://www.zoniweb.com/search/label/Screen%20Saver

    (SE-ScreenSavers, SoccerSaver and Johnny Castaway)

  • SCBright

    The Earth screensaver is amazingly beautiful but is always night at Western Hemisphere even if it is really day.

  • Christina

    Also – I ALWAYS download Leogeo’s Timeclock – WONDERFUL http://leogeo.com/28_timebeat.htm (Creepy/Soothing heart beat and it tells the time)

    • Samer

      @ Christina: it is very “creepy and soothing” as you say :) Thanks for sharing!

  • Phil Rowley

    For my money, the best by far is the marine aquarium screensaver from serenescreen,com

    Although the full version is commercial, the demo version is still excellent (limited number of fish) and runs for ever,

  • Everett

    This is a nice article. Thank you. Just FYI, I downloaded the Earth Screensaver HD and Norton reported: shiva3d-theearth-v1.5.exe (WS.Trojan.H) detected. It also ranks stonetrip.com’s reputation as “Bad”. No doubt because they are distributing virus-laden software. Anyway, I thought you might like to know.

    • Samer Kurdi

      I just downloaded the same file, and uploaded it to VirusTotal.
      It came out with a squeaky clean VirusTotal profile: http://bit.ly/15i6mjE. I am quite confident that it is clean.