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How Do I Change or Disable My Windows Screensaver?


Computers running Windows have several preinstalled screensavers. These are programs designed to prevent screen burn-in in older types of monitors, such as CRT and plasma displays. With the arrival of LCD and LED screens, however, screensavers are mainly for personalization purposes. Here’s how can change your computer’s screensaver.

Open Control Panel and go to Appearance and Personalization. Under Personalization, click Change screen saver. Click the drop-down list under the screen saver section and select a screensaver you like. Click the Settings button to further personalize your chosen screensaver and click the Preview button to see it in action. You can configure how long (in minutes) the computer must be idle before it launches the screensaver and, to enhance your computer’s security, display the login screen when the computer resumes from screensaver mode. When everything is set, click OK.

If you don’t like the available preinstalled screensavers, you can download more online. But be careful of spyware and other malicious programs that disguise themselves as screensavers.

If the computer has other users who annoyingly keep changing the screensaver, you can deprive them of this ability via Local Group Policy Editor. (Note that you cannot access and change group policies on certain versions of Windows, such as Windows 7 Home.) Just press Windows+R, type gpedit.msc and press Enter. In the editor window, use the left pane to navigate to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Personalization. You should now see the Personalization settings at the right pane of the window. Right-click Prevent changing screen saver and select Edit. Click the Enabled radio button in the dialog box that appears and click OK to confirm.

You can also opt to prevent other changes in the appearance and personalization of your computer. These include the themes, color scheme, desktop background, desktop icons, mouse pointers, and sounds.  The next time other users try to change these settings, error messages will appear.

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