Screensavers were originally designed to save your monitor from screen burn in the beginning days of computers. These days they’re used much less often, but there are still some great screensavers out there for those of us looking for something interesting to look at while our computer is locked. Here are some of the most interesting, creative, and just plain awesome screensavers from around the web to make your desktop more delightful:
1. NES Screensaver (Free)
This screensaver collects 60 ROMS from the Nintendo Entertainment System. Choose a title that tickles your fancy and play a quick video game while your computer takes a quick break.
2. The Beatles – Love (Free)
Who doesn’t love The Beatles? Based on the Cirque Du Soleil show of the same name, this screensaver is a psychedelic throwback to the days when John Lennon was still around to remind us that all we really need in life is love.
For the masochists in the crowd, Microsoft Technical Fellow Mark Russinovich created a screensaver based on the infamous Blue Screen of Death. This screensaver cycles between various Blue Screen messages and Windows load screens so you can enjoy the geek version of nails on a chalkboard every time you leave your computer idle.
4. Surveillance Cameras (Free)
This screensaver is a guilty pleasure for voyeurs and privacy advocates alike. Your screen is divided into 4 sections, with each one displaying a live surveillance video feed from a selection of over 600 from around the world. Turn it on and feel like Tony Montana monitoring your Cuban cocaine palace without fear of assassination.
5. HAL 9000 (Free/$5)
There are a lot of Sci-Fi screensavers out there. The HAL 9000 simulator, based on the supercomputer from 2001: A Space Odyssey, is easily the coolest. With multiple monitors, the experience gets even cooler. Don’t be surprised if your computer wakes up in the middle of the night to start questioning your humanity.
6. Game of Thrones (Free)
Game of Thrones is one of the hottest shows out there right now. HBO’s official screensaver brings great pictures of characters and scenes from the show to your desktop. It’s a must have for any fan of the Ice and Fire series.
7. Sim Aquarium (Free)
It would be nice to have the guys from Tanked! create a customized aquarium in your house, but most of us can’t afford it. On top of it, there’s feeding the fish, checking the water, cleaning the tank; it’s a lot of work. Instead, download the Sim Aquarium screensaver and enjoy all the benefits with none of the work.
8. Zombies (Free/$9.95 to remove ads)
Every so often, we all get frustrated with our desktop. The 3D zombie screensaver comes to the rescue! Once activated, an army of zombies will crowd your desktop, destroying windows, eating icons, and causing general chaos. Take that, essay I didn’t want to finish and video game I can’t beat!
9. Earth (Free)
You don’t even have to leave your desk to get the view astronauts spend their entire lives training to see. This 3D earth screensaver is awe inspiring.
10. Electric Sheep (Free)
This screensaver from Electric Sheep is a bit confusing, but a lot of fun. When your desktop goes to sleep, your computer creates a “sheep” and begins communicating with other sheep to create some spectacular 3D artwork. It’s colorful, ever changing, and great for appeasing your inner Van Gogh.
11. Fireplace (Free)
One of the best parts about Christmas is the TV stations that turn their channel into a 24 hour fireplace for the family to gather around and enjoy. This screensaver recreates that magic on your desktop any time your computer goes to sleep with 4 different fireplace styles.
12. Wikipedia (Free)
If you can’t get enough of browsing Wikipedia articles, this is the screensaver for you. Once activated, this screensaver presents a random Wikipedia article every 30 seconds or so. It’s not the prettiest screensaver out there, but it’s definitely one of the most informative.
13. Don’t Touch My Computer (Free)
If your computer is in a public place (or you have roommates/family who snoop when you’re around), this screensaver is a great answer. An animated guard dog sits on your screen. Every time someone touches the mouse or keyboard, the dog barks and growls at the intruder to scare them away.
14. Twingly (Free)
Twingly is a great screensaver for those who love to read blogs. It is a visualization of real time worldwide blogging activity. Find a blog that looks interesting to you, click, and read away.
15. BOINC/SETI @ Home (Free)
BOINC is a project set up by UC Berkeley that allows you to donate your computer’s processing power during idle time to contribute to curing disease, study global warming and other types of scientific research. My personal favorite is the SETI @ Home project, which gives you access to the data being collected in our search for extraterrestrial life. Very cool.
16. Space Travel (Free)
If you’re tired of looking at data and need more visual stimulation, The Space Travel Screensaver takes you on a visual journey from Earth to the surface of the moon through the Martian atmosphere, around Jupiter, and ending at the rings of Saturn. The trip is breathtaking and worth a look.
17. Waterfall (Free)
If fire doesn’t relax you, perhaps water does. This waterfall scene creates an exotic and relaxing atmosphere for you to kick your feet up and relax without having to book a trip to an exotic locale.
18. Screenstagram (Free)
Instagram addicts (90 million users strong) will love this screensaver that turns your Instagram feed into various photo presentations. If you’re a photo junkie, this is the screensaver for you.
19. Harry Potter (Free)
The Harry Potter book and movie series may be over, but that doesn’t mean it can’t live on in spirit. This screensaver shows Hogwarts in all its glory, complete with flying bats, wizards, and owls.
20. Cats (Free)
Rotating pictures of adorable kittens playing, complete with music and sound effects. If you can even say the word kittens without a smile, you’re a monster!
Now pull away from your computer and do something productive.