Subscriber Jeff wrote me to ask how to solve a problem he was having with is screen saver:
Hi. I’m looking for advice. I’ve got a screen saver that starts automatically and I can’t access the controls. Is there a program I can install that will send some sort of "ping" or something that will simulate activity so the screen saver won’t activate? Thanks. Jeff
Unfortunately, I don’t know of a program that would let Jeff simulate that a keyboard or mouse movement had taken place, in order to fool the screen saver.
I wrote back to Jeff to get him to clarify his problem. It wasn’t clear to me whether he could not access the settings/controls for that particular screen saver, or whether he could not access the Windows Display Properties dialog box.
The Screen Saver tab in Windows XP’s Display Properties dialog box is where we can pick which screen saver program we want to use. It’s also where the Windows controls are that set the waiting time for the screen saver (before it activates).
There are two ways to get to the Display Properties dialog box:
- You can right-click on a blank part of the Windows Desktop. This will give you a short context menu — the last option is Properties, which is the one we want. When we select Properties at that point, the Display Properties dialog box opens with the Themes tab selected.
- The other way is via the Control Panel. Start > Control Panel > Appearance and Themes > Display. That gives us the same Display Properties dialog box with the same tab displayed.
Once we have the Display Properties tab displayed, we can select the Screen Saver dialog box.
If Jeff can get to this point, he can change the waiting time to something more appropriate for him. Or, as an alternative, one of the screen saver choices is "None."
Screen savers are actually programs that have few restrictions set by Windows — which is a feature that malware writers have enjoyed and of which they have taken advantage. If you like to download screen savers, be sure you’re running a good, always-running antispyware program.
Each screen saver program has its own options (well, some don’t have any options) in addition to the basic option provided by Windows.
I use the Google Photo Screensaver (part of the Google Pack free software from Google). There are not many options, as you can see above.
You can choose a visual effect for picture changes, how often the picture changes, and where to get the pictures to be used.