Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Run the screensaver in the Finder [10.2] Desktop
To run a screensaver module on the desktop, type this command into a Terminal:
/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine -background &
Whichever screensaver you've chosen in System Preferences now appears on the desktop, under your windows and icons! This feature is Jaguar only, and requires a video card capable of running Quartz Extreme (32 MB recommended). Performance was not good on my 16 MB card. You can hit Control-C (in the Terminal window to terminate the program.

This tip was mentioned by Ken Dyke at last night's BANG meeting.

[Editor's note: On my G4/733 with the GeForce3, this is simply amazing. The new "flurry" screensaver is running right now on the destop at 1600x1200 in thousands, iTunes is playing, the ink recognition floater is open, and yet the CPU utilization is averaging at or below 50% of thereabouts. Everything is smooth, including the iTunes playback, typing in this text box, and the screensaver. A very cool trick to show your friends the power of OS X if you have the hardware for it. I had closed and opened a new terminal window, so I had to use "ps -ax | grep ScreenSaver" and then "kill" the process ID number to end the effect.]
    •    
  • Currently 2.55 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (11 votes cast)
 
[96,149 views]  

Run the screensaver in the Finder [10.2] | 52 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Run the screensaver in the Finder [10.2]' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Wow... [n/t]
Authored by: chmod007 on Aug 24, '02 08:59:42AM

Wow...



[ # ]
Linebreak
Authored by: dilleet on Aug 27, '02 02:08:28AM

Ok I admit it I'm lame when it comes to Unix but where and what is the line break in this command to make the screensaver desktop.
What am I supposed to remove?



[ # ]
Linebreak
Authored by: robg on Sep 15, '02 02:58:22PM

After "Resources/" and before "ScreenSaverEngine....". Just type the whole thing as one line, no breaks or spaces of any sort other than what's shown.

-rob.



[ # ]
Works on G4/400 (AGP)
Authored by: bluehz on Aug 24, '02 09:10:37AM

I don't think this necessarily requires Quartz Extreme video card. Still a bit confused myself about QE - but I have run the test apps that are floating around and they indicate QE is not available on my G4/400 (AGP) with stock ATI Rage video card. Yet I can use this tip and run screensavers on my desktop. FANTASTIC!!! FYI - some screensavers are better than other for example - Flurry runs fine, but it draws weird boxes around the screensavers and where drop shadows WOULD be behind Finder Windows (I have drop shadows turned off with TinkerTool). Euphoria runs great with no artifacts whatsoever. Euphoria runs at about 15% CPU. I know I can renice the process and it lowers the but is it possible to start the process from the very beginning at a specific nice level?



[ # ]
Works on G4/400 (AGP)
Authored by: misaka on Aug 24, '02 10:32:43AM

Use the 'nice' command to run a program with an initial nice level, as found with 'apropos nice'.

This works on my 500Mhz dual-USB iBook, but it's definitely too slow to leave running. I hope Apple sticks a G4 into this form factor sometime RSN. :/

--M



[ # ]
Works fine for me
Authored by: mschaff on Aug 24, '02 09:59:24AM

Don't know what use this is, but it is cool and works on my Beige G3 (w/ PCI Radeon card) quite well despite the lack of QE support (since my card isn't AGP). A quick check of top shows it takes between 0.7 and 1.1% of the CPU...





[ # ]
Works fine for me
Authored by: Greyerg on Oct 27, '03 09:29:23PM

What? How come it only uses .7-1.1% for you? I tried it and it was using a solid 20% of my 800 meg G3 iBook. How intrusive is your screen saver? Maybe it had something to do with the fact I was using a saver called cubes that makes great use of QE.



[ # ]
watch out with iTunes.saver
Authored by: quizzy on Aug 24, '02 10:45:25AM

running, I tried this with iTunes.saver thinking it would be cool to run G-Force in the background... the iTunes saver took control of the screen and kept looping back into itself, even after force quitting the process. Quitting iTunes fixed it, and I'm not going to try to find out if it'll work w/out iTunes running :)

Every other saver I've checked works superbly on my dual 533 G4 896mb, Rage 6 w/32mb. Helios.saver is using 40% of the cpu with surface rendering... but looks really sweet.



[ # ]
Pretty Cool With Marine Acquarium
Authored by: monickels on Aug 24, '02 12:21:29PM

The Marine Acquarium screen saver from Serene Screen at http://www.serenescreen.com/ looks fantastic. It's a huge speed hog, though. Looks like most of the processor is used by the Window Manager when the screen saver is running, rather than by the screen saver itself.



[ # ]
Pretty Cool With Marine Acquarium
Authored by: JoseyWales on Aug 27, '02 09:40:20AM

Agreed - the Aquarium looks absolutely great (if a little distracting...).

It's using about 25% of my CPU (Dual 1GHz QuickSilver, GeForce 4 Titanium, 2 x Apple 17" LCD), although it's not quite as smooth as when it's just running as a screensaver...



[ # ]
Pretty Cool With Marine Acquarium
Authored by: rcombes2000 on Sep 11, '02 01:16:26PM

By not quite as smooth what FPS do you mean?

I've tried running Marine Aquarium in on a Quicksilver Dual 1 GHz, GeForce 4 Titanium, 1.5 GB, 3 screen (2x 21" and 1x 17" LCD) and get appallingly low FPS (~4 fps) when using it as a background. I've tried having it run on just one monitor with most of the fish off but it still chokes.

However, normal screen saver mode works fine (25-30 FPS) with the aquarium displaying on all three monitors with the maximum number of fish.

- Roland Combes



[ # ]
nice!
Authored by: wOOge on Aug 24, '02 12:46:10PM

aaaahhhhaaaaa!!!!!!!! HAA!haa!!!!!!

soo much fun!!! it works quite well...!!!!!!... (G4 400AGP w/Rage128pro 16mb)....
of course any GL-saver taps my CPU.... but I've got the Technichron screen saver showing me a world map and where the sun is on my PD... :) so much fun ....



[ # ]
nice!
Authored by: BuddahBobb on Aug 24, '02 01:42:01PM

how do i quit the screensaver?

all control -c does is a new line break

help anyone?



[ # ]
nice!
Authored by: chmod007 on Aug 24, '02 01:43:50PM

If you remove the ampersand sign on the end of the line, ctrl+C (or cmd+.) will quit it.



[ # ]
Choose your background screensaver
Authored by: macpoupou on Aug 24, '02 04:28:40PM

With option "-module <moduleName>" you could setup your background screensaver :-)
Now, it could be different of your default screensaver.



[ # ]
Choose your background screensaver
Authored by: bluehz on Aug 28, '02 08:49:31AM

Where are you guys getting the options for the ScreenSaverEngine? Tried "usage" "help", etc....nothing....



[ # ]
Choose your background screensaver
Authored by: jonbauman on Feb 11, '04 12:58:32PM

strings ScreenSaverEngine | grep "^-"

This should work for the "real" binary of any app which takes command line options. That is, the one inside /AppName.app/Contents/MacOS. The basic idea is that the options are expressed somewhere in the code as literal strings, and since the flags all start with a hyphen, that grep should filter them out.

---

jon

[ # ]

With -foreground
Authored by: chmod007 on Aug 25, '02 06:11:10AM

Now try the -foreground switch!



[ # ]
Background at the login screen?
Authored by: david-bo on Aug 25, '02 01:08:50PM

Any ideas of how to use this trick for animating the background/foreground of the login screen?

Coolest would be if it started automatically...



[ # ]
Background at the login screen?
Authored by: chmod007 on Aug 25, '02 03:00:31PM

There is a -loginWindow switch for the ScreenSaverEngine program, which I don't know what it does...



[ # ]
Sync it ro iTunes?
Authored by: spdemac on Aug 25, '02 06:19:49PM

Now it would really be amazing if we could run the screen saver on the desktop and sync it to iTunes audio or run the iTunes visuals on the desktop!



[ # ]
Sync it ro iTunes?
Authored by: chmod007 on Aug 25, '02 07:58:42PM

http://www.subsume.com/static/WebObjects/SubsumeSite/SubsumeSite/Tech/Software/iTunes.html



[ # ]
Sync it ro iTunes?
Authored by: loadedsith on Feb 15, '06 05:54:32PM

Soundstream uses the microphone on your mac to render a visulizations. It will respond to music, or anything else that your mic can hear.

http://www.pcheese.net/software/soundstream/

now to update my soundstream...



[ # ]
Ejects CDs
Authored by: Deeeep on Aug 26, '02 04:39:13AM

did any of you guys check whether your mac accepts CDs after you run the background screensaver.... mine just chucks them back out... when I stop the screensaver background everything is back to normal!

Am I doing something wrong, or am I the first one to notice this?



[ # ]
Ejects CDs
Authored by: wnpcwowowo on Aug 28, '02 01:23:09AM

My g4 867MHZ quicksilver experiences a similiar problem, the CDs wont eject if in the disk drive on the internal cd bay when running the screensaver in the background.



[ # ]
Why doesn't it work for me?
Authored by: hughmcmillan on Aug 27, '02 10:36:50AM

Last login: Tue Aug 27 10:24:56 on ttyp1

Why doesn't this work for me? I open Terminal and paste <</System/Library/Frameworks/
ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/
ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine -background &>> and hit RETURN.
I have a G4 867 running 10.2.
Here is my Terminal window:

Welcome to Darwin!
[G4:~] mcmillan% /System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/
/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/: Permission denied.
ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine -background &[G4:~] mcmillan% ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine -background &
[1] 4717
[G4:~] mcmillan% ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine: Command not found.



[ # ]
Why doesn't it work for me?
Authored by: aranor on Aug 28, '02 06:02:59PM

You didn't remove the line break.



[ # ]
Wow ^ 2
Authored by: zeniam1 on Aug 28, '02 09:45:45PM

Very impressive on my 800 iMac flatpanel. Wow indeed!



[ # ]
xBack
Authored by: GideonSoftworks on Aug 29, '02 10:41:25AM

We offer a utility that allows you to do this without touching the Terminal. We just updated xBack for 10.2 last night. In short, xBack offers a nice screen saver browser, the ability to easily change the screen saver and start/stop the saver. You can also add xBack to your login items to have it automatically start your selected saver on login. More info at : <http://www.gideonsoftworks.com/xback.html>

David



[ # ]
Comment
Authored by: jasonmp85 on Aug 30, '02 01:19:02AM

I, after unsuccessfully trying to change my login screen, have wondered if I could run the screensaver behind the user login panel...

Any hints on how to do this? I know I could add it to the startupitems or crontab, but don't know if it would kill itself upon login, or if it would even show up on the login screen



[ # ]
Applescript
Authored by: Brontojoris on Sep 24, '02 04:24:43AM

I made a quick applescript:

do shell script "/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine -background &"

Save the script as an Application. Works on my Pismo, but is a bit slow (Flurry)



[ # ]
Applescript
Authored by: CaptainHook on Aug 18, '07 11:17:52PM

If you dont want the applescript to hang, try this instead:

do shell script "/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine -background &> /dev/null &"

If saving as an application, make sure to check "run only" so the app will quit after
running and not freeze.



[ # ]
Graphical tools
Authored by: keaka on Sep 25, '02 12:41:46AM

If anybody would rather use a graphical tool to run screensavers in the Finder, a large number of GUI wrappers have been created. In my biased opinion (developer), Visage does the best job with the most features. Visage allows you to control the CPU usage of the effects, start effects at login, and have the effects rotated at a designated time interval from your collection of favorites. Here is a list of excellent apps & scripts people might want to try, all of which perform a similar function and can be downloaded from VersionTracker.com:
- Visage
- Background Screen Saver
- BackgroundSaver
- CoolBackground
- DeskEffects
- Desktop Effects
- FackBore
- WallSleep
- xBack



[ # ]
PB G4 550
Authored by: hackamacj on Oct 09, '02 10:00:40PM

Is is normal to have a 550s fan running constantly after you enable this. It is cool, but my fan is on constantly. COOLNESS ROCKS!!!!



[ # ]
This hint has problems
Authored by: Mac007 on Mar 19, '03 06:56:35PM

I did this just as instructed but when I tried to quit it using Control C it wouldn't stop. Only logging out and then back in put things back to normal. Nice trick, but I think until they find a program that does this I'll stick with a static desktop.



[ # ]
This hint has problems
Authored by: toddsnc on Mar 19, '03 07:12:11PM

good lord there are all kinds of GUI wrappers. I prefer Backlight (you can find it on Versiontracker.com). It runs from the menu, lets you configure the CPU usage, can easily try the different screen savers, and it's free.



[ # ]
Re: This hint has problems
Authored by: zacht on Jun 30, '03 02:04:13PM

Control-C only kills processes that are in the foreground in the terminal. Since the command in this hint is run in the background (with the ampersand at the end of the command line) it will not be hit by control-C.

Instead, use kill. For example, run ps (or ps -awx) to find the process number of the desktop background screen saver, then kill that process. This can be made fancier: other hints/forum threads have talked about combining this with grepping for the name of the command you want to kill. Probably the best thing to do is to use the killall command. On the other hand, ps and kill are nice and simple. (Translation: I am too lazy to read man killall.)

Anyway, how you kill the thing is your own choice. I use simple commands to go with my simple mind. The real point is that the fact that control-c doesn't work does not signal an error in the hint; it just means you have to use kill instead of control-C.

zach

PS. There is some info about background jobs ("asynchronous processes") in the man page for tcsh (which is where you end up if you do man jobs, or man bg, etc.), but you have to scroll waaaaaay down to get to it.



[ # ]
just make a few shell scripts
Authored by: myrkr on Jul 20, '04 03:13:27PM

[code]
#!/usr/bin/sh
/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/ResourcesScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine -background &
[/code]

and

[code]
#!/usr/bin/sh
killall ScreenSaverEngine
[/code]

should work great



[ # ]
Run the screensaver in the Finder [10.2]
Authored by: Opus on Sep 13, '03 12:15:55AM

It doesn't work for me. I type in the string and Terminal replies "'background' not understood" What am I missing$



[ # ]
Run the screensaver in the Finder [10.2]
Authored by: supra22 on Dec 22, '03 04:10:14PM

This trick is great except... it doesn't work for me now that I have upgraded to panther.. When I try to run it, the entire screen goes black and all I have is the mouse arrow. Any ideas how to make this code work for panther??

---
--SuPrA--



[ # ]
Run the screensaver in the Finder [10.2]
Authored by: benison on Dec 30, '03 01:57:24PM

Not sure how to fix it-- my machine does the same thing!



[ # ]
Run the screensaver in the Finder [10.2]
Authored by: PCheese on Feb 20, '04 08:25:59PM

Uncheck "Require password to wake this computer from sleep or screen saver" in the Security preference pane, and your screen won't go black anymore in Panther.



[ # ]
Run the screensaver in the Finder [10.2]
Authored by: aesace420 on Feb 21, '04 04:49:40PM

All that you have to do to get rid of this black screen, without turning off your password is to put the computer to sleep, thus allowing you to authenticate and get rid of the black screen. This is easy with a powerbook, just close the lid. I don't know about the ease or possibility of doing this on a desktop mac.



[ # ]
works fine in 10.3.4 for me
Authored by: myrkr on Jul 20, '04 03:07:57PM

see title



[ # ]
Run the screensaver in the Finder [10.2]
Authored by: jonbauman on Feb 11, '04 01:27:37PM

You can use the

-module Random
to do exactly what you'd expect it to. That's case sensitive, by the way.

---

jon

[ # ]

neeto- thanks
Authored by: myrkr on Jul 20, '04 03:10:36PM

see title



[ # ]
Run the screensaver in the Finder [10.2]
Authored by: samslaves on Sep 11, '05 06:29:00AM

If you select a QC (Quartz Composer screen saver, to ones with screens in its icon) screen saver it hogs the GPU (I'm on a dual G5 2 GHz with radeon 9800pro) and even typing text (Quartz 2D GPU accelerated in 10.4.2 I think) it is slooooow (CPU at 7%). For other screen savers all it is ok (CPU at 3%)

NOTE: try F10, F11, F12.



[ # ]
Run the screensaver in the Finder [10.2]
Authored by: loadedsith on Feb 15, '06 09:05:00PM
I had some issues with using this with Electric-sheep.
Electric-sheep kept outputting text to my terminal.
Seems that Electric-sheep downloads sheep with bit-torrent and when its confused throws some errors to the terminal.
I needed to suppress to avoid having these appear at inopportune times. (aka:ever)
When i got this working it seemed like a bad idea to add this to my .bash_profile script, so i did (just like i never defrag anything, ever and how using the start menu to shutdown a windows box is for chumps)!
before you copy and paste this, make sure
 whereis nice
and
 whereis nohup
return /usr/bin/nice and /usr/bin/nohup, if not you should change the code respectively.
ps |grep ScreenSaver|grep -v grep||/usr/bin/nohup /usr/bin/nice -n 19 /System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine -background &
and here is the play by play.

ps
returns the Screen saver process (among others)

grep ScreenSaver
searches for the ScreenSaver.
This will always also return the grep command thats searching for ScreenSaver, so we use

grep -v grep
to remove the grep line

ps |grep ScreenSaver.framework|grep -v grep||
will only run the echo command if the screen-saver isnt running

/usr/bin/nohup
runs a process so it cant be stopped by a hang-up signal (when you close the terminal)

/usr/bin/nice -n 19
sets the following command to play nice, take up to 99% of the cpu if (and only if) the cpu has free cycles.
I stole this from some where that i cant find but i did find where they probably took it from:
http://amath.colorado.edu/computing/software/man/nice.html

/usr/bin/nohup /usr/bin/nice -n 19 
makes a nice uninterruptible process (electric-sheep was ending itself every so often, and so it stays running when the terminal is closed)
And finaly when you put it all together again an excerpt from my ~/.bash_profile:
ps |grep ScreenSaver.framework|grep -v grep||/usr/bin/nohup /usr/bin/nice -n 19 /System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine -background &
anyone who can is welcome to try this function out

function stopBgScreen { 
kill -9 `ps | grep ScreenSaver.framework | grep -v grep | awk '{print $1}'`
}
}
Notes:
I wanted to include stopBgScreen in this post -> in my bash_profile, just incase anyone wanted it but i couldn't get functions inside of my bash_profile, which sort of redefines the bash_profile experience for me, as it works just fine in the terminal and even persists until log out, but i am having the same problem with alias, so maybe its something i did a long time ago.
Either way your welcome to use stopBgScreen.
Im not sure if the order of nohup -> nice is better then nice ->nohup, but thought it probably was.
That being said I couldn't see any difference.
Edited on Jan 25, '10 05:33:17AM by robg


[ # ]
Run the screensaver in the Finder [10.2]
Authored by: bbellina on Apr 05, '08 07:12:01PM

The command to use in Leopard (10.5) is:
/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine -background &



[ # ]
Run the screensaver in the Finder [10.2]
Authored by: simoneivan on Mar 24, '11 10:36:11AM

i am not able to remove this feature from my terminal anymore.

i always have to type one of the followings:

killall ScreenSaverEngine &
or
sudo killall ScreenSaverEngine -background

what should I type in the terminal to remove it forever ??



[ # ]
Run the screensaver in the Finder [10.2]
Authored by: simoneivan on Oct 15, '11 04:09:22AM

Could you please help me? I have been looking for a solution for a year already...
I tried deleting the file the function is calling, but then my terminal does not work.
I tried deleting the file containing all preferences about the screensaver, but it did not work.

HELP !!!!

I would be grateful to you 4ever!



[ # ]
Run the screensaver in the Finder [10.2]
Authored by: simoneivan on Jan 08, '12 07:02:51AM

i solved the problem by myself and i wrote an article you can find in my blog.
it's in italian but you can easily translate it:
http://sic-oding.blogspot.com/2011/12/mac-disabilitazione-screensaver-come.html



[ # ]