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Setting a Screen Saver

A screen saver is a utility that causes a monitor to blank out or display images after a specified time passes without keyboard or mouse activity. (Pressing a key or moving the mouse deactivates the screen saver.) Screen savers were originally developed to prevent hardware damage to your monitor, but today’s monitors don’t need that, so modern screen savers provide decoration or entertainment instead. A screen saver can also password-protect your computer and hide your screen when it takes effect.

To set a screen saver:

In Control Panel, choose Appearance and Themes > Display > Screen Saver tab (Figure 4.22).

Figure 4.22. Choose and set your screen saver carefully, so your boss won’t realize how long it’s been since you did any work.


Right-click blank space on the desktop; then choose Properties > Screen Saver tab.

Select a screen saver in the list.

(To disable the screen saver, select None, click OK, and skip the remaining steps.)

Specify how long your computer must be idle before the screen saver activates.

Try 10 to 15 minutes.

Click Settings to see any options for the selected screen saver—to change color or animation style, for example.

Check the On Resume, Password Protect (or On Resume, Display Welcome Screen) check box to display a logon window when you begin using your computer after screen-saver activation.

Click Preview to see a full-screen preview of the screen saver.

Press a key or move your mouse to end the preview.

Click OK (or Apply).


  • Your screen-saver password is the same as your logon password. If you have no logon password, you can’t set a screen-saver password.

  • Appearances aside, screen savers—particularly complex ones such as 3D Flying Objects and 3D Pipes—waste energy and processor time. To save resources, turn off your monitor manually or automatically after a certain period of inactivity. See “Conserving Power” later in this chapter.

To use personal pictures as a screen saver:

Make sure you have two or more pictures in a folder on your computer (usually, the My Pictures folder).

On the Screen Saver tab (refer to Figure 4.22), choose My Pictures Slideshow from the Screen Saver drop-down list.

Click Settings to specify the folder containing your pictures, define picture size, and set other options (Figure 4.23).

Figure 4.23. My Pictures Slideshow scrolls through all the pictures in the selected folder.

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