How do I find cool screen savers that are safe for download?
May 15, 2008 9:04 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a cool screen saver that won't infect my computer.

On MySpace, I frequently see a banner ad from Popular Screensavers. It shows a ringed planet with a small moon orbiting it. The screen saver is animated and it looks very cool.

I clicked on the ad and went to the Popular Screensavers homepage and immediately was suspicious. Everything's free, but you have to download special software and give other information that made me uncomfortable. Sure enough, a quick Google search produced several warnings and complaints that the company hides all kinds of sinister things in its software. I'm not sure I've got their name right but I'm afraid to even go back to their page with all its pop-ups.

And I WANT that cool planetary screen saver!

Does anyone know where to find similar freeware, shareware -- heck, I'll even PAY for it at this point -- that's safe and doesn't look like the cover of a Dungeons & Dragons manual from 1981? (I already have plenty of those.)

It seems that the best screen savers I see nowadays, particularly dealing with astronomy, tend to be for Macs. I've got a PC. Please don't write "Buy a Mac." A lack of positive answers will imply that well enough.

Thanks for your help.
posted by Flying Saucer to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Google screensaver lets you pick from your photos or someone elses RSS field. (i.e. pick an astronomy rss flickr field or something)
posted by dripped at 9:16 PM on May 15, 2008

Folding @ Home
Seti @ Home
posted by iamabot at 9:19 PM on May 15, 2008

Electric Sheep
posted by Krrrlson at 9:25 PM on May 15, 2008

Xplanet is a program that displays the earth and other planets with photorealistic texture and correct sunlight shading, cloud maps, etc. It's normally used as your desktop wallpaper rather than a screensaver, but I think there may be a way to run it as a screensaver in Windows.

Also, if you're a normal Windows user and you don't like figuring out complicated commandline parameters, I would suggest also installing a frontend like XPlanetControl that can help you setup all of the settings.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:26 PM on May 15, 2008

2nd Sheep

the Really Slick Screensavers are pretty cool, as well

if you were running Linux, i'd say try Xscreensaver.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 9:41 PM on May 15, 2008

counting sheep.
posted by pointilist at 11:42 PM on May 15, 2008

DeviantArt has some stuff, not sure about planetary at the moment though.

And if you can't find anything you like, you can always just have a picture slideshow screensaver that uses planetary photographs you've found.
posted by theichibun at 5:08 AM on May 16, 2008

yeah, i think there's a picture slideshow screensaver that comes with windows. you can download a bunch of awesome hubblesite pictures or other ART! IN! SPAAAAAACE! pics and put them in a directory and have the screensaver look there for pictures. (in xp, at least, it's called "my pictures slideshow")
posted by rmd1023 at 6:17 AM on May 16, 2008

Twittervision features a 3D version of the Earth and rotates it to display the locations of recent posts on Twitter. I have be careful or I just end up staring at it for a while.
posted by justnathan at 6:19 AM on May 16, 2008

I love and use Fliqlo, featured here on Lifehacker.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:20 AM on May 16, 2008

the digg screensavers are cool

or you could just take the other hive mind's opinions
posted by phritosan at 2:16 PM on May 16, 2008

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