Some, but not all, people know that Mac OS X has the ability to run screen savers on the user’s desktop although it’s not a publicized or particularly supported behavior. It also has some quirks. I created SaverDesktop as an adjunct to a screen saver module I was working on to work around the following shortcomings of the stock tool:
Launching the built-in mechanism by hand requires typing in a lengthy path pointing into /System, which is Apple’s playground (and thus subject to change).
A double-clickable, universal AppleScript that invokes that tool (to avoid the typing) consumes more disk space than SaverDesktop.
The built in screen saver engine has an inconvenient habit of quitting - even when running in background mode - if the user reconfigures the screen saver or moves their mouse to the “Disable” hot corner.
Put the SaverDesktop application anywhere you like and double-click it. If you’d like it to automatically run at login, you can use the Accounts page of System Preferences to set it up as a login item. If you’d like to stop the backgrounder, you can run the included StopSaverDesktop utility.
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SaverPreview is donationware and not disabled in any way. If you find it entertaining donations are happily accepted via PayPal (to email@example.com) or paper mail: