How to change a computer screen saver

Updated: 03/13/2021 by Computer Hope
Windows logo

Screen savers can be useful for locking your computer while you're away, or displaying your favorite photos as a slideshow. The following sections show you how to change your screen saver and adjust its properties. To proceed, choose your operating system from the list below and follow the instructions.

Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10

  1. Press the Windows key, type Change screen saver, then press Enter.
  2. In the Screen Saver Settings window, click the down arrow.

Menu where users may select a screen saver.

  1. Select a screen saver from the drop-down menu.
  2. Once you've chosen a screen saver, you have a few options. To change how long the computer waits before starting the screen saver, click the up or down arrows for the Wait option to your preferred timing. If you're using the Photos screen saver option, you can change the timing between pictures in Settings, then choose between slow, medium, and fast on the Slide show speed. When you're finished, click Apply (A) and then OK (B).

Applying a screen saver in Windows.

Tip

The Preview button allows you to try out a screen saver before it is set.

Tip

If you check the box next to On resume, display logon screen, Windows opens the lock screen when a screen saver is disabled. Checking this option is an excellent way to protect your computer when you are away from your desk.

Tip

If you step away from your computer and want to let others know when you'll be back, you can use the "3D Text" screen saver as a way to leave a message. Once selected, click the Settings button and look for the Text section in the new window. Locate the "Custom Text" box to change the text displayed in your screen saver. For example, you could set the text from the default to "I'm out to lunch, will be back at 1:00."

Windows XP

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. In the Control Panel window, click Appearance and Personalization.
  3. In the Display window, click the Screen Saver tab.
  4. Under the Screen saver section, click the down arrow on the right side of the first box.
  5. Select a screen saver (or, if you don't want to have a screen saver, select None). Adjust any other settings to your liking. Click Apply, then OK.
Tip

The Preview button allows you to try out a screen saver before it is set.

Tip

If you check the box next to On resume, display logon screen, Windows opens the lock screen when a screen saver is disabled. Checking this option is an excellent way to protect your computer when you are away from your desk.

Tip

If you step away from your computer and want to let others know when you'll be back, you can use the "3D Text" screen saver as a way to leave a message. Once selected, click the Settings button and look for the Text section in the new window. Locate the "Custom Text" box to change the text displayed in your screen saver. For example, you could set the text from the default to "I'm out to lunch, will be back at 1:00."

macOS

  1. In the menu bar, click the Apple icon to open the Apple menu, and choose System Preferences.

System Preferences selector in macOS.

  1. Click the Desktop & Screen Saver icon in the System Preferences window.

Desktop & Screen Saver icon in macOS.

  1. On the Desktop & Screen Saver menu, ensure the Screen Saver tab near the top is selected (A).
  2. Optional: In the left sidebar, you can choose a stock slideshow, or customize how personal photos are displayed (B).
  3. In the bottom-left corner, next to Start after, choose how long your Mac should wait until the screen saver activates (C).
  4. Finally, if you didn't pick a preset slideshow from the left section, you can choose your images by selecting them from the Source drop-down menu (D).

Screen saver choices in macOS.