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Disable screensaver using registry settings

We can change screen saver on a computer by changing the settings in display properties. We also have a registry hack to change screen saver settings.  These screen saver settings are stored under the following registry key.HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

Registry values that control screen saver behavior:

  • ScreenSaveActive
  • ScreenSaveTimeOut
  • ScreenSaverIsSecure

To disable or enable screen saver using registry key

Set the value of the registry value ScreenSaveActive to 0. From command line you can run the below command for doing this.

Reg add "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop" /v ScreenSaveActive /t REG_SZ /d 0 /f

To enable screen saver:

Reg add "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop" /v ScreenSaveActive /t REG_SZ /d 1 /f

To change timeout for activating the screen saver

Set the data in the registry value ScreenSaveTimeOut to the timeout limit in seconds. For example if you want to set the time out to 20 minutes you need to change the value of this registry key to 1200.
From command line you can run the below command to change screen saver timeout limit.

Reg add "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop" /v ScreenSaveTimeOut /t REG_SZ /d 0 /f

To enable or disable password protection when the session is resumed

You can password protection by setting the data in ScreenSaverIsSecure to 1. If you set this to 0, you will not be asked to provide password when you interrupt the screen saver to resume the user session.

From windows command line you can run the below command to enable password for the screen saver.

Reg add "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop" /v ScreenSaverIsSecure /t REG_SZ /d 1 /f

To disable password protection:

Reg add "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop" /v ScreenSaverIsSecure /t REG_SZ /d 0 /f

To change screen saver using registry key

Read the post  Change screen saver from windows command line using registry key

The above registry keys apply to Windows XP, Server 2003, Vista and Windows 7.

18 comments… add one
  • John Clark

    The commands for disabling screensaver and for changing timeout appear identical. Is this correct? Thanks in advance!

    • Daniel

      No, the correct value is ScreenSaveTimeOut to change timeout.

    • admin

      Corrected now.

  • Harold

    hi I like to have these hacks for screen saver made into an register file can you email these hacks for turning off screen saver for windows 8 also the time turn off and files to turn them on again that is 4 files I need with register files to double click.
    Our upload to website I can download.
    Thanks for help.

  • Chihuahua


    wondering if you can set the timeout to ‘never’?

    Would a value of 0 do that?
    (worried it will flip on me and make the screen go permanently off if I try that, so haven’t tried it yet..)

    • admin

      So you meant never activate the screensaver, right? You can refer the section ‘To disable or enable screen saver using registry key’ in this post.

    • Chihuahua

      I have managed to disable the screensaver, but the screen still locks itself after a few minutes so I have to ctrl+alt+del and type in my password again. (I have set the ‘ScreenSaveIsSecure’ to 0 already)

      Would that be a power setting and a different article?

    • admin

      This is not a screen saver then. The display becomes blank after some time which is controlled by powersettings.
      Open powercfg.cpl. Here you can increase the timeout period or set it to never. If you go further to ‘Advanced’ you can disable password prompt after hibernate/standby. Something similar to http://www.technlg.net/windows/disable-password-prompt-hibernate/ (this article is about XP, but the steps are similar in Win7)

  • David Taber

    Actually, the information above is not correct (or at least not complete) for Win7 Pro.
    Yes, deactivating the screensaver from the registry makes it so the screensaver doesn’t start, but the system still locks the screen without a screensaver.
    But that behavior is not controlled by the powerconfig control panel.
    Interestingly, setting the timeout value for the screensaver to a large number doesn’t change the actual behavior of the screensaver (or the reading on its control panel).

  • Orly

    Is it possible to run the screen saver for a limited amount of time then returns to desktop automatically?

  • Everybody

    There is no REG command.
    Why do so many things not work when mentioned in this article?

    • informed

      Sure there is. Did you try it from a command prompt?

      C:\>reg /?
      REG Operation [Parameter List]
        Operation  [ QUERY   | ADD    | DELETE  | COPY    |
                     SAVE    | LOAD   | UNLOAD  | RESTORE |
                     COMPARE | EXPORT | IMPORT  | FLAGS ]
      Return Code: (Except for REG COMPARE)
        0 - Successful
        1 - Failed
      For help on a specific operation type:
        REG Operation /?
        REG QUERY /?
        REG ADD /?
        REG DELETE /?
        REG COPY /?
        REG SAVE /?
        REG RESTORE /?
        REG LOAD /?
        REG UNLOAD /?
        REG COMPARE /?
        REG EXPORT /?
        REG IMPORT /?
        REG FLAGS /?
  • AnotherAdmin

    What may be throwing some people is if a policy has been set on the system regarding the screensaver. Those settings are in a different location in the registry.
    HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Control Panel\Desktop
    Here, the same settings you mentioned in your article can be applied.

  • Manuel

    Is there a way to lock these settings down so users can’t change them? I am looking for a screensaversetting window that has the options grayed out.


  • bbt

    From command line you can run the below command to change screen saver timeout limit.


    Reg add “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop” /v ScreenSaveTimeOut /t REG_SZ /d 0 /f

    Reg add “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop” /v ScreenSaveTimeOut /t REG_SZ /d 1200 /f

    • David Hoffman

      Both of those are correct. The one with 1200 sets the screen saver to activate at 20 minutes (1200 seconds). The one with zero means to never activate the screen saver.

  • anonimusØ

    I changed both keys, no one works …
    but are you sure that they work?

    “Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Control Panel\Desktop”
    “Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop”

    i have Windows 10 PRO 64bit

  • sofia

    Hi i dont understand how i change the permission so my screen doesnt lock after 10 minutes. My organization manages this and i cant change it. HELP PLIS!

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