How to configure the Screen Saver

Screen savers are programs that were initially designed to prevent the so called “Phosphor burn-in” on CRT and plasma monitors. Filling the screen with moving images when you did not use your computer was preventing the loss of image quality over time. Modern LCD monitors are not susceptible to burn-in because the image is not directly produced by phosphors. This is why nowadays, screen savers are used mostly for entertainment or security purposes.

Compared to Windows XP, Windows Vista changes a bit the way you configure your screen saver. In this short tutorial I will show you how to set your screen saver in Windows Vista and how to configure different parameters.

First, right click on your desktop and select Personalize. Alternatively, you can go to Control Panel -> Appearance and Personalization -> Personalization.

In Windows 10 to change the screensaver settings and to turn screen saver on/off you’ll have to first click that little search icon in the bottom-left corner of your screen and then type: “Change screen saver” and push enter. Now you can control your screen saver settings.


From the list of available personalization options, click on Screen Saver.


The Screen Saver window will now launch. Here you can change the active screen saver and configure different parameters.

Screen Saver

To select another screen saver, scroll down the list highlighted below. When you make a selection, a preview will be shown inside the small monitor from the Screen Saver window. You can also preview it on your monitor. Just click on the Preview button and stop using the mouse and keyboard. Once you have viewed the selected screen saver, start moving your mouse and you will return to the Screen Saver window.

Screen Saver

Some screen savers (such as ‘3D Text’) have different parameters that can be changed. To configure them, click on the Settings button. A new window will appear in which you will find all the available configuration options. When you finished configuring it, click on OK.

Screen Saver

After you have selected and configured (if possible) your screen saver, you can set the wait time after which it will be loaded. Type the desired number of minutes in the Wait text box.

Screen Saver

For more security, you can also check the box that says ‘On resume, display logon screen’. When this box is checked, you will always have to type your password in order to return to the desktop. This helps avoid your PC being used by unauthorized people while you are away.

Related articles:
Customize your desktop icons
How to change the size of your icons
How to change the font size in Windows Vista
Remove the arrow and the “shortcut” text from your Windows Vista shortcuts

16 thoughts on “How to configure the Screen Saver”

  1. No access to other screen savers other than Windows logo
    when i click on settings, a pop up box says “this screen saver has no options you can set”. the only screen saver that i have access to is the windows logo. can you help?

    • Settings
      If you have only the default screen savers installed, you can set different parameters only for
      “Photo” and “3D text”. The others have no parameters that can be changed.

      • only windows logo screen saver
        i wasnt clear. the only screen saver available is the windows logo. the pull down menu is not operative at all. how can i get access to the other screen saver choices?

  2. Screen Saver
    I have selected a screen saver “ribbons” but it will not activate after the alloted minutes have passed. Is there something that should be turned on or off maybe in the background.

  3. screen saver settings
    Everytime I restart my computer, I lose my screen saver settings. i.e. after shutting down for the night, and starting up the next morning, I don’t have the screen saver switched on anymore – I have to go back into personalize and put it back on again.
    Is this normal???? Or is there something wrong with my system. It doesn’t happen with XP….

    • screensaver
      Kirsty, I have the same problem as you. I have to set the time and start the screensaver everytime I start up my computer. Did you ever find out what can be done to prevent this? Please email me if you did. Thanks! Jean

  4. My screen saver will not work.
    OS is Vista… I know how to select and set my screen saver but it seems it will not run.. I set it to run after 5 min of idle… but nothing…

    What should I do? Do I have to load my OS!!??


    • screen saver in Vista
      My OS is Vista on a new HP laptop and it will not run either. I have tried changing it and closing all apps but it still never comes on – I am currently turning the monitor off manually when done.

  5. Where did it go??
    When I go to the Personalization Page, Screen Saver isn’t even there for me to click on. It’s just not there at all. There’s a small space where it would have been. Is there a service I have to turn on or turn back on, because it wasn’t always gone and now I don’t know how to get it back.

  6. Choose Font Size of 3D text screen saver
    Is it really true there is no way to choose your own font size like you used to be able to.
    Is there only the small, medium and large option? THX

  7. Screen Saver Issues
    To those that have had issues with their screen saver not working I have found a link that may answer your questions. I’ve had the same issues with my new Vista (as well as many other issues) But as far as the screen saver problem…I’ve also had them with my XP machine. Check out this link….you might be surprised what is causing this issue. Good luck ….

  8. screen saver
    i have a problem i accessing my screen saver! when i right clik on my desktop and select personalize, the option of screen saver and change background doesnt come! if i try it through control panel i receive one message saying,”your system administrator has stopped launching of display setting controle panel” please give me a solution to this problem!!!! i’ll b waiting!

  9. Can’t use any installed screen savers
    I’ve installed a few screensavers off of When they finish installing, it comes up with the screen saver settings window, with the screensaver I just downloaded, others that I have downloaded, and the default ones. I can preview all of my downloaded ones from here, but if I press OK and then wait for the screensaver to turn on, noting happens. And when I right click, select personalization, and press screensavers, it says the that I’m using is (None), and all of my downloaded ones do not appear on the list. Is there any way for me to make them work? I know for sure that they all downloaded properly.

  10. Screensaver problem with a PC running Vista
    My ribbons screensaver locks up after a short time. If a close the pop-up box that shows the error, things resume ok. If I click the option to diagnose the problem, the solution is to install Vista SP2 for x64 based systems. Is that really the answer???
    The other curious thing about this is it only happens on the network at the place I work using this PC. When I use this PC at home on a friend’s wireless network, it does not happen.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.