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What to Do if All Screensavers Fun is Grayed Out?

Finally, you have some time to personalize your desktop with an interesting screensaver. But wait... What's that? Why in the world the system prevents you from doing that? The screensaver controls are grayed out or, even worse, the whole Screensaver tab is missing from Display Properties. Don't panic! This article will help you change things for the better.

I've found that people who use Windows 2000/XP often can't enjoy screensavers because their system is configured in a way that prevents them from doing that.

Unless you are very experienced in administrating Windows, you may stuck with the problem. If you ever found yourself or your friend in a situation like this, add this article to your arsenal of screensaver tips.

Most of the time people encounter the problem with office computers. I should warn you, though, that some companies have a strict screensaver policy. Usually they allow only certain or no screensavers at all to be used on office computers.

If you are not sure how your company treats screensavers, I recommend you to consult your system administrator before applying any of the changes described below to your system.

So why can screensavers be inaccessible on your system?

As you know, Windows 2000 and Windows XP had many improvements over Windows 95/98 and Windows Me that made lives of many users easier and more comfortable.

But that's not all that made these operating systems so popular. Their developers also haven't forgotten about people who are responsible for administrative tasks when it comes to computers shared by different users and large computer networks.

Windows 2000 and Windows XP introduced a lot of new features needed specifically for their administration. Controlling/disabling screensavers was among them.

No matter whether it was their intention or an accident, your system administrator or the person who configured your PC could use this feature to your disadvantage. Now you'll have to use it once again and regain control over screensavers.

Here's what you should do:

  • Click Start and then click Run...

  • Type "gpedit.msc" and press Enter.

  • A window will open with a tree on its left. Expand the User Configuration node, then expand Control Panel and click Display.

  • Now look at the policies in the list to the right. Make sure that the policies starting from Hide Screen Saver Tab and ending with Screen Saver Timeout all have their state set to Not Configured.

  • If any of them has a different state, double click the line with the policy, select Not Configured and click OK.

  • Now close the Group Policy window.

    Now you can open Display Properties and see whether screensavers are back. If they aren't, step back and check if you carefully followed all the steps described above.

    Note that you can see a window saying you don't have permission to access Group Policy window when doing the step 2. That will happen if you are working under a restricted user account. You will have to log under an account with Administrator's rights or contact your system administrator.

    With a little creativity, you can use the information in this article to prevent your kids and other unauthorized users from messing with your screensavers. The procedure is basically the same. The only difference is that you should specify meaningful values for screensaver related items instead of Not Configured.

    About The Author

    Roman Kramar is a software developer who enjoys writing screensavers as his time permits. Visit his site at to find out more about screensavers and his work.

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