Changing the Windows Logon Screensaver

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When you start Windows, you may be represented with the welcome screen, which prompts you to enter your username and password. If you leave the machine inactive for a specific time, the Windows logon screen saver starts. That screen saver is the Blank screen saver (Logon.scr) represents a blank black screen.

You can control the Windows logon screen saver from the registry options in HKEY_USERS\.Default\Control Panel\Desktop.

Registry Editor + Logon Screen Saver

Changing the screen saver options

To change the logon screen saver options follow the following steps:

  1. Open the Registry Editor from Start -> Run -> regedit.exe.
  2. Locate the logon options in the registry key HKEY_USERS.DefaultControl PanelDesktop.

There, we are interested in three values:

  • SCRNSAVE.EXE:
    For changing the current screen saver.
    Set this value to the path of the new screen saver (relative paths allowed.)
    Note that, most screen savers are located in %windir%System32 (the default path) folder and they have the extension “scr”.
    The default screen saver is the Blank screen saver (Logon.scr).
  • ScreenSaveTimeOut:
    For changing the time that you must wait for the screen saver to start.
    Set this value to the number of seconds to wait. For example, 60 for a minute.
    The default timeout is 600 seconds for 10 minutes.
  • ScreenSaveActive:
    For turning the screen saver on or off.
    To turn off the screen saver set this value to 0. Conversely, set it to 1 for turning it on.

Actually, these options and others on “HKEY_USERS.DefaultControl Panel” are the default options for new users. For example, setting the Desktop/FontSmoothing to 2 means sets the screen font smoothing to ClearType for every new user. And changing the screen saver options also, affects all the new users not the logon screen only.

To be honest, the HKEY_USERS hive contains the customizations for every user on the machine based on his SID (Security Identifiers). So, you can find users’ customizations in this registry hive. Also, you can find current user’s customizations in HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive.

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