April 16th, 2018

Hard Stare

Resurrecting the best Windows screensaver ever

From a G+ thread that just won't die.

A British digital artist called William Latham -- he has a site, but it won't load for me -- once co-developed a wonderful screensaver for early 32-bit Windows, called Organic Art.

There was even an MS-sponsored free demo version.

Sadly this won't install on 64-bit Windows, as the installer has 16-bit components. However, you can get it working. I did it, after a bit of fiddling, on Windows 7.
Here's how, in brief:
* Install XP Mode
* Boot it, let it update etc.
* In Win7, meanwhile, download the demo from Nemeton
* Once XP Mode is all updated, install the OA MS edition demo from the host drive
* Check it works
Then:
* I copied the whole Program Files/Computer Artworks tree into my W7 Downloads folder
* I also retrieved the screensaver (.SCR) file from C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 -- and as mentioned above, D3DRM.DLL
In W7, I copied this into the same locations on my Win7/64 system.
I used the documented hack to re-enable screensavers (JFGI).
It now ran but couldn't find any profiles.
So:
* In XP Mode, I exported the entire Computer Artworks hive from the Registry to a file in my W7 Downloads folder.
In W7 I imported this file.
Now the 'saver runs. It's worth disabling mode switching and forcing it to use Hardware Acceleration. Not all of the saver modules work but most do -- and very quickly and smoothly, too.

This won't work as-is on Windows 8 or newer. There are hacks but I only got the VirtualPC component of XP Mode running on Win8. Nothing newer worked.

But you can run XP Mode in VirtualBox, and I've published an article on how to do that. The other steps are much the same.

Try it. It's really quite beautiful.