Windows screensaver

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This page is about the screensavers bundled with Windows over the years. Microsoft released a standalone program called IdleWild to add screensavers to Windows 3, which was largely borrowed from After Dark. Starting with Windows 95, Microsoft built screensavers into the OS and bundled in several, most of which were slightly updated IdleWild screensavers. The tie to IdleWild remained as the default screensaver icon for Windows 95 was the IdleWild icon. Windows 98 introduced a whole new set of screensavers based on the new desktop themes, although, most of them were pretty awful.


Example Name OS Description Opinion
Windows Screensaver - 3D Flower Box.png 3D Flower Box Windows 95+ A colorful cube bounces around the screen, and its points shift inward giving it a passing resemblance to a flower. 1 - Interesting for a few seconds. Really needed more customization.
Windows Screensaver - 3D Maze.png 3D Maze Windows 95+ A small maze is randomly generated and and the camera moves around inside of it. 2 - Looks interesting at first, but flaws quickly become apparant. There is little customization, the textures are ugly, walls are paper thin, the 3-turn exit of a dead-end is clunky, etc.
Windows Screensaver - 3D Flying Objects.png 3D Flying Objects Windows 95+ One of several 3D objects bounces around the screen. 2 - A couple of the objects are interesting, but, overall this is dull. The Windows logo was again undesirable.
Windows Screensaver - 3D Pipes.png 3D Pipes Windows 95+ Colored pipes are randomly drawn. 2 - A nice effect, but otherwise dull.
Windows Screensaver - 3D Text.png 3D Text Windows 95+ Custom text or the time bounces around the screen, rendered in 3D, and with shifting colors. 2 - Decent, although the movement patterns are wonky.
Windows Screensaver - Baseball.png Baseball Windows 98 A few baseball stills randomly fade in and out on a diamond backdrop while stadium sounds are played. 1 - Boring and causes burn-in on the field. Sounds get old fast and no customization.
Windows Screensaver - Blank Screen.png Blank Screen Windows 95 Simply paints the screen black. 1 - Effective, but dull.
Windows Screensaver - Blocks.png Blocks Windows 95+ The screen is filled with blocks whose faces are made from the how the screen last appeared. Renamed to "Windows 98" in Windows 98. 2 - A modern take on the old Windows 3 screensavers.
Windows Screensaver - Channel Screen Saver.png Channel Screen Saver Windows 98 Shows images from the various online Web "channels" you've set up. 2 - Interesting at the time, but now, even the Microsoft channel is defunct.
Windows Screensaver - Curves and Colors.png Curves and Colors Windows 95 A Bézier curve bounces around the screen changing colors and leaving trails. 2 - Interesting to look at.
Windows Screensaver - Dangerous Creatures.png Dangerous Creatures Windows 98 Stingrays and sharks swim across the screen as bubble float up and play the same sound over and over again. 1 - Annoying. Should have been called "poorly rendered shark, ray, and non stop bubble sound effect."
Windows Screensaver - Flying Through Space.png Flying Through Space Windows 95 Slightly improved version of IdleWild's "Stars." 1 - By the time it came out, it was already old hat, and the stars are squares.
Windows Screensaver - Flying Windows.png Flying Windows Windows 95 Like "Flying Through Space," but with the Windows logo. Microsoft tried to get people to take pride in Windows the way Apple geeks were with Macintosh, but the Microsoft user base has never been "hip." 1 - Shameless self promotion.
Windows Screensaver - Golden Era, The.png The Golden Era Windows 98 A man sits next to an old radio while photos (and bad clipart) float across the screen making telephone noises. 1 - Annoying sounds, ill-fitting images, and no customization.
Windows Screensaver - Inside Your Computer.png Inside Your Computer Windows 98 Rendered circuit components fly across a poorly-colored circuit board. Occasional beeps and clicks are heard. 1 - The low color count makes it look terrible, and the sound effects are annoying.
Windows Screensaver - Jungle.png Jungle Windows 98 Jungle flora and fauna are randomly drawn to the screen while jungle sounds are occasionally played. 2 - The art is pretty and the sounds are nice, but there isn't any customization.
Windows Screensaver - Lens.png Lens Windows 95+ One of several lenses bounces around the screen, distorting it. Windows 98 shamelessly tries to get new screensavers out of it by renaming it "Science" and "The 60's USA." 2 - The different lens styles are interesting to play with, but the excitement doesn't last.
Windows Screensaver - Leonardo da Vinci.png Leonardo da Vinci Windows 98 Random sketches of Da Vinci scroll onto the screen, and are then poorly animated. 1 - Pretty dull and no customization.
Windows Screensaver - Mystery.png Mystery Windows 98 A spooky house at night is shown with an owl, bats, black cat, spooky windows, and expected sound effects. 2 - One of the more multi-media savvy screensavers, but lacks any customization.
Windows Screensaver - Nature.png Nature Windows 98 Badly-animated caterpillars crawl over poorly-randomized leaves. 1 - Interesting looking for a few seconds, then boring. No sound or customization.
Windows Screensaver - Mystify Your Mind.png Mystify Your Mind Windows 95 2D polygons bounce around the screen and fade colors. Based on "Dancing Lines" from IdleWild. Not possible to install in Windows Vista and above which have an existing screensaver with the same name, so I created Mystique. 2 - Simple, but mildly zen.
Windows Screensaver - Scrolling Marquee.png Scrolling Marquee Windows 95 Customizable text scrolls across the screen. 2 - Dull, but useful for companies or leaving a message.
Windows Screensaver - Space.png Space Windows 98 A space backdrop with a spinning space station occasionally has a satellite and astronaut float across the screen while sci-fi sound effects are played. 1 - Decent looking, but gets dull quickly, and the sound effects are obnoxious. No customization.
Windows Screensaver - Sports.png Sports Windows 98 Nonsense football diagrams are drawn on a blackboard and occasionally a ball bounces. 1 - Boring, repetitive, and annoying chalk noise. No customization.
Windows Screensaver - Travel.png Travel Windows 98 A seaplane flies through the clouds and you hear its motor. 1 - Should have been called "seaplane" since that's all it is. Dull and no customization.
Windows Screensaver - Underwater.png Underwater Windows 98 Fish swim in front of a coral reef backdrop to the sound of bubbles. 2 - Nice animation and colorful photos, although the sound effects are a bit annoying. No customization.


This archive contains all of the screensavers bundled with Windows 95, 95+, 98, ME, and NT 4. I still need to setup a virtual machine for Windows 98 to get screenshots of the rest.