How to Specify a Screen Saver in Windows


A screen saver is a moving picture or pattern that displays on the screen(s) of your PC after you have not been active on the PC for specified period of time to wait. Screen savers were originally used to save older, monochromatic monitors from damage, but now they are mainly a way to personalize your PC or enhance its security by offering password protection.

By default, users are able to select a screen saver in their screen saver settings.

If you like, you can specify a default screen saver for users that cannot be changed.

This tutorial will show you how to specify a default screen saver for specific or all users in Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

You must be signed in as an administrator to specify a screen saver.

If you specify a screen saver, you may also want to enable or disable screen saver password protection and specify a screen saver timeout period for users.


 CONTENTS:

  • Option One: Specify Screen Saver in Local Group Policy Editor
  • Option Two: Specify Screen Saver for All Users in Registry Editor


EXAMPLE: Default and specified screen saver
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Specify Screen Saver in Windows OPTION ONE Specify Screen Saver in Windows
Specify Screen Saver in Local Group Policy Editor


In Windows 7, the Local Group Policy Editor is only available in the Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions.

In Windows 8, the Local Group Policy Editor is only available in the Pro and Enterprise editions.

In Windows 10, the Local Group Policy Editor is only available in the Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.

All editions can use Option Two.

1. Open the all users, specific users or groups, or all users except administrators Local Group Policy Editor for how you want this policy applied.

2. In the left pane of the Local Group Policy Editor, click/tap on to expand User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Control Panel, and Personalization. (see screenshot below)

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3. In the right pane of Personalization, double click/tap on the Force specific screen saver policy to edit it. (see screenshot above)

4. Do step 5 (specify) or step 6 (default) below for what you would like to do.


 5. To Specify Screen Saver

A) Select (dot) Enabled, enter the .scr file name (ex: "Ribbons.scr") of the screen saver you want to specify in Options, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshots below)

If the screen saver .scr file is not located in the "C:\Windows\System32" directory, you will need to type the full path to the .scr file instead.

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 6. Default Screen Saver

A) Select (dot) either Not Configured or Disabled, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)

Not Configured is the default setting.

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7. When finished, you can close Local Group Policy Editor if you like.






Specify Screen Saver in Windows OPTION TWO Specify Screen Saver in Windows
Specify Screen Saver for All Users in Registry Editor

1. Press the Win+R keys to open Run, type regedit into Run, and click/tap on OK to open Registry Editor.

2. Navigate to the key below in the left pane of Registry Editor. (see screenshot below)

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Control Panel\Desktop

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3. In the right pane of the Desktop key, double click/tap on the SCRNSAVE.EXE REG_SZ (string) value to modify it. (see screenshot above)

If you wanted to use the default screen saver setting for users to select for themselves, you would want to delete the SCRNSAVE.EXE value (if there) instead, and go to step 5 below.

If you do not have a SCRNSAVE.EXE REG_SZ (string) value, then right click or press and hold on an empty area in the right pane of the Desktop key, click/tap on New, click/tap on String Value, type SCRNSAVE.EXE for the name, and press Enter.

4. Enter the .scr file name (ex: "Ribbons.scr") of the screen saver you want to specify, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

If the screen saver .scr file is not located in the "C:\Windows\System32" directory, you will need to type the full path to the .scr file instead.

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5. Navigate to the key below in the left pane of Registry Editor. (see screenshot below)

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Control Panel\Desktop

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6. In the right pane of the Desktop key, double click/tap on the SCRNSAVE.EXE REG_SZ (string) value to modify it. (see screenshot above)

If you wanted to use the default screen saver setting for users to select for themselves, you would want to delete the SCRNSAVE.EXE value (if there) instead, and go to step 8 below.

If you do not have a SCRNSAVE.EXE REG_SZ (string) value, then right click or press and hold on an empty area in the right pane of the Desktop key, click/tap on New, click/tap on String Value, type SCRNSAVE.EXE for the name, and press Enter.

7. Enter the same screen saver from step 4, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

If the screen saver .scr file is not located in the "C:\Windows\System32" directory, you will need to type the full path to the .scr file instead.

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8. You can now close Registry Editor if you like.


That's it,
Shawn