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bgscreensaver is a simple AppleScript program to start and stop a screensaver module as a desktop picture. The original shell command for this trick is courtesy of Micheal Conwell (as reported by Michael Coyle at ResExcellence.com)

What's New

  • Adds support for Exposť and "Command-tab" application switching
  • Now supports fast user switching (probably not recommended for performance reasons!)


Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later

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bgscreensaver User Discussion

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Anonymous Member IconReview

This application works exactly as described. While I seriously doubt that I would want to keep a screensaver/animated background enabled all the time, it's a neat little toy and a fun way to demonstrate the power of the Quartz subsystem to curious folks.

Reply0 replies
Version 1.1
Anonymous Member IconReview

The application doesn't run on my computer (10.2.8), but the applescript itself works perfectly... and does exactly what I expect it to do.

I don't know if there is an exported interface that you could use to do this, but it would be nice to be able to choose which screen saver to use as the desktop.

Reply4 replies
Version 1.0
Anonymous Member Icon

Hi there -

Thanks for the info. I compiled the app on OS X 10.3.9 so that might be the required version to run it (or 10.3.x at any rate). I'm glad your compiled version of the script worked without problems.

Good idea about being able to choose the screensaver within the app - I'll look into that, maybe have bgscreensaver stay running in the dock until the moving background is no longer needed. So thx for the feedback and stay tuned!


Certainly needs some sort of control. It runs OK on my 1Gig PB but it brought my Yikes! G4/400 to its knees. No way, short of rebooting, could I stop it.
Changing the screensaver in the Prefs pane doesn't work until you reboot.

But I love it on my PB. Fuzzy Cubes as a desktop... wow!

Anonymous Member Icon

Hey peterm -

What version of Mac OS X is running on your G4/400? I know the screensaver won't change until you stop and restart "bgscreensaver" but did you try running bgscreensaver again to stop it? It's kind of counter-intuitive I know, but you double-click it (or click it in the dock if you put it there) to start it, and again to stop it.

If this doesn't fix it, would you be interested in getting the problem fixed? We could do it via this forum, or email if you prefer. Drop me a note back here if you want to pursue it!

Thanks for the feedback, it's all valuable, and much appreciated!

Anonymous Member Icon

I'll try your suggestion when I get back to my G4; it's my home machine.

But the screensaver slowed the G4 so much it was like running in a bad emulator. Poor old Yikes! was struggling.

Regds, Peter M.

Guardian Archon Member IconComment+0
Guardian Archon

If you like this and you'd like to do something similar, check out Quartz Desktop. It allows you to put .qtz files on your desktop. This includes Apple screensavers such as the RSS Visualizer and Spectrum.


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Version 1.0
There are no Ratings for this App yet.
> 5 2


Current Version (1.x)


Downloads 17,588
Version Downloads 15,468
License Free
Date 20 May 2005
Platform OS X / PPC 32
Price Free
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