I do not wish my screensaver to lock my computer, thank you.

In Windows XP, it really annoys me when my computer idles for a few minutes and then the screen locks. I try to be careful not to leave my laptop lying around, so I prefer my screensaver not to be password-protected.

In order to make it so that your computer won’t lock itself after a few minutes, do this:

  • Run ‘regedit’ to edit your registry
  • Navigate down the tree to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software Policies > Microsoft > Windows > Control Panel > Desktop and look for an entry ScreenSaverIsSecure. You want to make sure the value for ScreenSaverIsSecure is 0 (zero).
  • Exit regedit; you’re done!

Now just remember not to leave your laptop sitting around at your local den of identity theft.

More details for the terminally curious.

38 Responses to I do not wish my screensaver to lock my computer, thank you. (Leave a comment)

  1. anon

    Or you could just go to your display properties –> screensaver tab –> uncheck ‘On resume, password protect”

    You can choose either way you prefer – i guess it just depends on how big of a geek you are :)

  2. There is an easier way: right-click on the desktop – you’ll get a window “Display Properties” – click “Screen Saver” – dissable “On resume, display Welcome screen”.
    This should do the same – does it with you?

    Tobias

  3. Matt

    Yeah, but if you have a laptop provided by your company, sometimes that option is disabled in the display properties screen. :)

  4. What? The display properties screen is disabled but you’re allowed to change the registry? Hmm… not well thought! :)

  5. Amish

    thanks matt … :)

  6. Matt,
    Honestly speaking there are much easier ways to do this rather than having to edit your registry settings. Just my 2 cents.

    Love your reading your blog.

    Thanks

  7. Paul

    > Yeah, but if you have a laptop provided by your company, sometimes
    > that option is disabled in the display properties screen.

    If the company does not allow you to edit your display prefs, but at the same time they allow you to edit the registry file… Lol, then I have no comment!

  8. Hey Matt,

    I am sure policy would prevent you from this at Goog, but I like being admin on my laptop enough that I bring my own to the office – even when there are company supplied machines. I just tell ‘em “no thanks.” Then I work it out with the network admin to hook my machine in. woohoo! I can install programs!

    I always get schooled by network admins to stay up to date, which is no problem. I can be faster, actually. Matt, at least you run wild at home where you are king of the castle (and your machine).
    :)
    -detlev

  9. anon

    If the company is limiting you from changing that option, more than likely they’ve displayed regedit as well. Unless you work for Google apparently. :P

  10. Michael Updegraff

    Matt

    Do you often ponder how many people watch you, and should a slip occur (although one did not) are ready to pounce?

    singing “I correctd MC”

    Un-Hypothesizers :-)

    Thank you for thy blog!

  11. For some reason I thought you’d be running Linux… I hope that’s at least an option for Google engineers!

  12. Matt,

    Have you heard about the Tivo hack that lets you skip ahead in 30 second incriments? It effectively wipes our any exposure to ads. If not, here it is:

    WHILE VIEWING A RECORDED PROGRAM
    Press Select
    Press Play
    Press Select
    Press 3
    Press 0
    Press Select

    That’s it. If you did it properly you will hear three bells. Use the –>| button to jump ahead 30 seconds at a time.

  13. how big of a geek you are ! haha

  14. Are there any easier way to do this ?

  15. Alex

    I have just had the problem whereby from Display Properties the On resume, password protect was disabled even when i had a screen saver set, so i am thankful for the regedit method.

    Cheers.

  16. EvilDemon

    I’m surprised so many people find this so strange. The last 4 or 5 places I’ve worked have all had the screensaver locked out, but left the registry unlocked. I’ve spoken with some friends today, and between us can name about 20 employers who all do the same thing, but nobody can remember ever being locked out of their registry.

  17. PK

    Hi I have a similar problem.. I am an admin on my computer but the weird thing is, even if I disable my screen saver and hibernation and all, it still gets locked. I searched for the regedit entry and do not have the screensaver entry in the registy. What do I do. Please help

  18. Sunlover

    Thanks for that. Thanks to the auditors, all machines lock when you haven’t used them for 10 minutes. This is a HUGE help as we have a password policy that is almost like an essay to get back into your machine

  19. Joshua

    The reason why display properties is blocked, is probably not due to a administrative or access restriction.

    Many laptops come prebuilt with their own display properties page, that takes over the Windows default one.

    Actually this is quite common, Toshiba usually forces you to use all of their software- from wireless to display to power options – everything.

    -J

  20. flo

    how can i stop others from using my printer when im not around. Its my desktop (at university), when im away, people can logon thro ‘ stand alone’ mode,that allows them to use my computer without being logged to the internet. This mode, doesnt require a password to be used. From there, they use my printer.
    Is there any way that i can stop them from accessing my PC after the welcoming screen?

    Much appreciated

  21. Matt,
    Honestly speaking there are much easier ways to do this rather than having to edit your registry settings. Just my 2 cents.

    Love your reading your blog.

    Thanks

  22. bob

    Never thought I’d find an answer to my dilemma! Thank you for this. (was an old company PC that disabled screen saver password option). Frustrations averted.

  23. Mike

    my 2 cents to this post – this time, the screensaver lock feature in some G machines is really impossible to remove ;-) at least with this simple hack :)

  24. Awesome thanks!

    - I’m in the same boat actually – can regedit but have above policy set…

    Anyway you inspired me to look up the edit for windows 2000

    see link above – it is in contrrol panel/desktop

  25. Shay

    Hi all.

    As a system admin I can tell you that registry is locked for users not admin, but…

    The issue is that the registry is open only for a section called HKEY_CURRENT_USER, and since this is a per user policy, you can change it via the registry. If you couldn’t, then you wouldn’t have access to regular things users can do.

    Cheers.

  26. jOHN

    * Run ‘regedit’ to edit your registry
    * Navigate down the tree to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software Policies > Microsoft > Windows > Control Panel > Desktop and look for an entry ScreenSaverIsSecure. You want to make sure the value for ScreenSaverIsSecure is 0 (zero).
    * Exit regedit; you’re done!

    Can you change it to say 30 mins. by using 30 instead of 0 (zero)?

  27. Chris

    This is an awesome idea.
    My company just went to the ole 15 minute password policy and it kills me.
    Makes it even worse when they require some convoluted password. My company does not do that yet, but is implementing that type of policy at the next password change.
    Regarding the question by John, the ScreenSaveTimeOut value appears to be seconds. To get to thirty minutes, you could probably change that to 1800.

  28. Andy

    Setting the value for 30 does not change it to 30 minutes. It’s basically just a true/false statement. If you set it to 0, it means it will not be secure. If you set it to any positive (and probably negative) number, it will be secure.

    The location of the “ScreenSaverIsSecure” registry key may be in different locations depending on what version of Windows you have, so you could always just search for “screensaverissecure” and change the value to “0″

    If it doesn’t work, search multiple registry entries or other “screensaver” entries that a 3rd party security application might have placed.

    Good luck :)

  29. Bob

    If you can’t change the setting in the Control Panel but you can edit the registry key, then the setting is being forced by a GPO. In which case, when the GPO refreshes locally it will revert back.

  30. Arjun

    How can I set 0 on Vista machine. Can you please help finding the below path on Vista machine.
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software Policies > Microsoft > Windows > Control Panel > Desktop

  31. sandra

    Thank you so much, Matt. I was going bonkers having to sign into my work laptop with my crazy password after the screensaver locked my computer every 5 minutes (which is extra silly, considering I work from home)!!! Display properties settings was disabed, but regedit was not. I tried several other “fixes” to no avail. This worked like a charm.

  32. Reon

    Even if i am changing it in the registry it reverts back after some time and the screensaver still kicks in. Like Bob mentioned above in the thread i checked the GPO setting in GPEDIT.MSC. but screensaver is not configured at all in that.

    Can anything else be done to disable the screensaver?

  33. danny

    okay. this is good info. if your laptop is provided by the company, you will be using a local profile meaning that as long as the bios isn’t locked and you can boot from other media and the hard drive is not encrypted you can still copy the ntuser.dat file from the users profile, edit it with regedit and then place it back in the profile on the laptop. not many companies bother encrypting hard drives which is really the only way to protect against users modifying there security settings or adding themselves to the local administrators group.

  34. DJ_Zephyr

    Wow, thank you for this. I use Synergy to allow my two machines to use the same mouse and keyboard thru my LAN, but when one would go to screensaver, it would lock the networked mouse out. Stupid checkbox in the screensaver dialog is all but useless. Hopefully, this will fix that.

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