How to Change the Screen Saver Timeout for All Users

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Forcing a screen saver to appear when an employee is away from his or her computer can enhance network security.

Because of the data on a computer and its network, whenever an employee is away from a computer, that computer can be a significant security risk. While it is possible to lock a workstation manually, people often forget to do it. Using the Windows Group Policy Editor, you can set the screen saver to timeout after a specified period of inactivity. Once set, this timeout will apply to anyone using that computer.


Step 1

Press the Windows logo and "R" keys simultaneously. Type "gpedit.msc" without quotation marks in the box that appears. The Windows Group Policy Editor will open.

Step 2

Double-click the "Administrative Templates" and "Control Panel" folders under "User Configuration" to expand them. Click the "Display" folder under "Control Panel." You will see the "Screen Saver Timeout" option on the right side of the window.


Step 3

Double-click "Screen Saver Timeout."

Step 4

Click the "Enabled" radio button, then type the amount of time (in seconds) you would like Windows to wait before launching the screen saver automatically for all users. The default value is 900 seconds, or 15 minutes.

Step 5

Click "OK" to save your settings, then close the Group Policy Editor and restart the computer.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows 2000

  • Windows XP Professional

  • Windows Vista Business, Enterprise or Ultimate

  • Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate

  • Windows 8 Professional or Enterprise


The Group Policy Editor is not available on home editions of Windows 8.