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The Best Free Screen Savers


Does anybody remember Johnny Castaway? ScreenAntics, the screen saver about poor Johnny on his island was the first cool screen saver that you would wanna watch for hours just to know what happens next. It was never really reached by any other, but what many don't know, you can still get it, adjusted for our modern Windows systems but still presenting the old look and feel.

I like screen savers as long as they are cool and free of course. Unfortunately there are thousands out there and finding the right sources that don't list all the crappy ones are hard to find. One good address was MVR 3D - they provided the best Matrix screen saver ever - but I just noticed that they closed their website.

Well, while browsing for a good new screen saver again the other day I found a great compliation of the best free savers as Smashing Magazine sees it (see link below). And I must say they put together a real great collection half of which is already residing on my hard drive. In the Internet age those savers that also present information from the net right on your idle screen became more and more popular. The collection here lists a few that do this smart and beautiful, like the screen shot of MappedUp that you see on the right.

Enjoy, and best regards,

Screensaver Articles and Links

Links to screensaver articles:

Links to screensaver collections:


What happens on your screen?

Let us know what cool screensaver you have! Leave a comment below.


This article is maintained by George

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by johnag on 20. December 2013 - 18:48  (113077)

Hi George. I have looked everywhere but cannot find the URL to download the modern version of Johnny Castaway. What am I missing?

by MidnightCowboy on 20. December 2013 - 19:59  (113081)

There are some links listed here that are still working.

As with all downloads, ensure to scan with your antivirus software before installing as some downloads might contain unwanted or malicious material.

The first two links both scan clean with Dr.Web which is a very useful extension to install in your browser.

See also our download information page here:

MC - Site Manager.

by Blake (not verified) on 1. October 2012 - 4:13  (100019)

Electric Sheep-

To Download

by Stinson (not verified) on 19. January 2012 - 5:50  (87385)

My Windows XP aquarium screensaver now no longer shows the swimming fish...It does play the bubbling water sound but that is all. Any common reason this might happen? Thanks for the replies.

by George on 19. January 2012 - 7:20  (87389)

Hi Stinson,
please use our forum to discuss issues like that. The article page here is only for commenting on the products themselves.
Thanks and best regards,

by Beebee (not verified) on 14. January 2011 - 8:52  (64508)

The Geiss Screensaver is really special, a screensaver that reacts to music & is based on a mathematical formula. It has been around at least sense windows 95, & is still one of my favorites . I think it's one of the greatest screensavers of all time & started many people on their careers in using Video with music. Ryan Geiss has put up a new version for modern Computers & it is available from Regards Beebee

by George on 18. January 2011 - 6:36  (64762)

Hi Beebee,
thanks for the tip. The Geiss screensaver is amazing, most of all that all it can do fits in a 180 KB scr file.

by veekay on 17. January 2011 - 19:50  (64735)

Wow, that's good news from 2011.

Geiss used to be one of my favorite. Then it became very popular as a Winamp plugin (~4.6 million downloads from alone), and set the trend for music-orchestrated visual simulations.

Now it seems Ryan Geiss has revived his innovative screensaver / plugin in HD quality!! Yay!

by veekay on 2. November 2010 - 12:16  (60656)

All you video and music aficionados out there, would surely love to use your favorite bit of multimedia as a screensaver. Check these out...

Microsoft Video Screensaver - International Edition (supports WMV, WMA):

[Moderator's Note : Removed link to Aiv site as the WOT rating is not satisfactory]

by veekay on 2. November 2010 - 11:51  (60654)

All you animation and music aficionados out there, would surely love to use your favorite Adobe/Macromedia Flash video (SWF or FLV) files, as a screensaver.

Flash Movie Player comes to your rescue. It is an excellent SWF player, and you can set SWF (or EXE) file as default screensaver. No need to create individual screensaver, just plug-n-play. FLV support is coming in a future version.

InstantStorm is a very advanced freeware flash screensaver builder. It is good for creating those corporate screensavers with logo and slogans.

FlashForge is another popular screensaver creator, converts (SWF & FLV) into a screensaver plus an installer. Go

by Kipster (not verified) on 27. October 2010 - 17:58  (60304)

I use Auslogics Disk Defrag Screensaver.
Auslogic's Defrag is highly rated.
The screensaver may as well perform some useful function.
If my saver is running, I'm probably not there to see it anyway.

by veekay on 2. November 2010 - 12:33  (60658)

Agreed. Auslogics defrag screensaver is awesome!

If you want something lightweight, then MyDefrag (formerly JkDefrag) is a portable defragger with screensaver option.

Use the MyDefragGUI tool for advanced options for MyDefrag.

by tushR on 3. October 2010 - 21:26  (58990)
by George on 4. October 2010 - 5:38  (59003)

Nice one. Thanks for the tip.

by veekay on 2. October 2010 - 11:07  (58897)

The most beautiful and stunning 2D screensavers, with award-winning-photographs, are from National Geographic Magazine.

NatGeo Screensavers:

Extreme Earth is recommended!

by veekay on 2. October 2010 - 11:03  (58895)

Oh Johnny Castaway, one of my eternal favorites. I used to love watching him tied down by the lilliputians, chased by the shark, flirting with the mermaid.. and it still works in Windows 7! They don't screensavers like that anymore..

But what's the fun of downloading and installing all these interesting screensavers, if you can use only one screensaver at a time?

All you have to do is to set the random screensaver as the default, and it will randomly choose one of your favorite screensavers (from the Windows folder) automatically on its startup.


by Anupam on 2. October 2010 - 11:18  (58899)

I have removed the download details for BNS Random Screensaver. On, it says free, but on its home site, the software is given as trial. There is no free version. Can't allow it, sorry.

by veekay on 3. October 2010 - 8:49  (58949)

Thanks Anupam!

I found a couple of freeware random screensaver starters/managers.

ScreenSaver Druid:

RandomScreenSaver (by a developer called Falsinsoft - though his website seems to have gone defunct, the app itself is a pretty decent freeware):

by Rizar on 31. May 2010 - 2:35  (50673)

I'm using the boring bubbles screensaver at present. I chose it because I use a wallpaper changer and I spent a lot of time finding backgrounds, so the bubbles give them a bit of life without covering them completely!

by Rizar on 2. May 2010 - 19:59  (48986)

Here is a set of free screensavers, including time zone clocks and various cool visual effects:

A modern version of Johnny Castaway is now located here:

by George on 27. April 2010 - 20:16  (48591)

Thanks for the suggetions. I will check them out as soon as I am out of this Hotel with a 256K connection... :-)

by Bob on 27. April 2010 - 14:39  (48567)
3 great free Windows screensavers you can use to float your own jpegs around the screen:
The Motion Picture Screensaver and the Nostalgic Screensaver are rather similar. Mac users will recognize the principle. They go way beyond a simple slide show. Both set images swimming around on the screen with zoom, pan and scan and cross-fade in / out effects. To configure, just point to the picture folder you want to use and experiment with the settings.
The Drempels Screensaver contemplates an interesting set of surreal distortion effects. Drempels comes with a default collection of "textures" (jpg files). But here again, you're free to select an image folder of your choice. Drempels is somewhat heavy on memory - so, try and see. Drempels also provides a moving desktop option.
[None of these 3 screensavers are being actively developed, but they all still work fine for me on Vista.]


by chrisvw on 27. April 2010 - 1:05  (48522)

NVidia has some pretty cool (and free!) screen savers.

by veekay on 3. October 2010 - 9:26  (58952)

3planesoft are arguably the best screensaver developers in the industry and their screensavers typically are quite demanding on graphics and computation abilities - that's why their products are even showcased by NVidia as technology demos.

3planesoft have a freeware screensaver that you'll absolutely love!


by Anonymous on 26. April 2010 - 15:09  (48478)

Thank you for supplying the review, and the time taken to report what you found.

by Bob on 27. April 2010 - 16:42  (48579)

Yes, thanks George -Your safe free screensaver recommendations are fun and useful - from the security angle too! 

Personally, I find having the excellent Jack*ss Saver from joejoesoft dancing away in the background helps relaxation. Then the choreographic UniqLock (Music.Dance.Clock - also listed on the Smashing Mag page) gets me jumping nicely to the rhythm when stuck indoors. The Really Slick Screensavers are awesome too - Skyrocket for instance is a ball! Especially when well amplified...
by new61 on 27. February 2009 - 7:21  (16865)

Id like to throw in my favorite free screen savers for ya :)

My number one pick is Breve:
This screen saver is a very cool one that simulates evolution with blocks. Definitely worth a try ;)

by Anonymous on 7. November 2008 - 16:47  (10198)

I must say this section 'The Best Free Screen Savers' needs our help eventhough Johnny Castaway is a force to be reckoned with. To bad his download and installation into xp requires special attention.

Its not the best but here is one for case you are short on time.

google-- ajscreensaver (freeware)

by George on 8. November 2008 - 22:11  (10242)

Thanks for the link. They are quite cool.

by Anonymous on 23. October 2008 - 4:03  (9490)

I must agree that just because something is popular this doesn't automatically qualify it for being "good" or in the public interest! I once attended a public seminar on road safety and was duly impressed by the presenter until I suffered this guy's 530 up my 4rse for several miles on the way home until (eventually) he passed me in a built up area at well over the speed limit! Says it all, but hey guys, lets enjoy what we have with consideration and responsibility, including the benefit of having diverse opinions on this site to digest, and hopefully learn from.