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An Administrator's Guide to Customizing the Desktop and the User Interface for Windows 8

Screen Saver Dos and Don’ts

Screen savers are designed to turn on when a computer has been idle for a specified period of time. The original job of the screen saver was to prevent image burn-in on CRT monitors by displaying a continuously changing image. With today’s monitors, burn-in is no longer a problem, but screen savers are still around. The primary benefit that they offer today is the ability to password-lock computers automatically when the screen saver turns on.

Configuring Screen Savers with Password Protection

Password-protecting a screen saver deters unauthorized users from accessing a computer, which can protect both the personal data of the user and the intellectual property of an organization. As an administrator, you should ensure that the computers you deploy have password-protected screen savers enabled.

You can password-protect a screen saver by performing the following steps:

  1. Press and hold or right-click an open area of the desktop, and then tap or click Personalize.

  2. Tap or click the Screen Saver link to display the Screen Saver Settings dialog box, as shown in Figure 3-7.

    Figure 3-7

    Figure 3-7. Set a screen saver with password protection for user and organization security.

  3. Use the Screen Saver list box to select a screen saver. To disable the screen saver, select None and skip the remaining steps.

  4. Select On Resume, Display Logon Screen.

  5. Use the Wait box to specify how long the computer must be idle before the screen saver is activated. A reasonable value is between 10 and 15 minutes.

  6. Tap or click OK.

Reducing Screen Saver Resource Usage

A computer that is running Windows 8 and that performs background tasks or network duties such as print services should not be configured to use a complex screen saver, such as 3D Text. Instead, the computer should be configured with a basic screen saver, such as the Blank screen saver. You can also modify the settings for advanced screen savers to reduce resource usage. Typically, you do this by reducing the redraw and refresh rates of the advanced screen saver.

To reduce screen saver resource usage, follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold or right-click an open area of the desktop. and then tap or click Personalize.

  2. Tap or click the Screen Saver link to display the Screen Saver Settings dialog box.

  3. If you want to use a screen saver that uses fewer resources without making configuration changes, use the Screen Saver list box to select a basic screen saver, such as Blank.

  4. If you want to use 3D Text or another advanced screen saver but reduce its resource usage, select that screen saver and then tap or click Settings. Use the Settings dialog box to reduce the values for Resolution, Size, Rotational Speed, or similar settings that affect the drawing or refreshing of the screen saver.

  5. Tap or click OK to close each of the open dialog boxes.

Setting Energy-Saving Settings for Monitors

Many newer monitors have energy-saving features that cause them to shut off after a certain period of inactivity. Enabling this feature can reduce the organization’s electricity bill because monitors typically use a lot of electricity to stay powered up. On some systems, this feature might have been automatically enabled by the operating system during installation. This depends, however, on the operating system properly detecting the monitor and installing any necessary drivers.

On a portable laptop computer running on batteries, saving energy is especially important. By configuring the monitor to shut off when the computer is idle, you can save the battery life and extend the available battery time for when the laptop is unplugged.

To manage a monitor’s energy settings, follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold or right-click an open area of the desktop, and then tap or click Personalize.

  2. Tap or click the Screen Saver link to display the Screen Saver Settings dialog box.

  3. Tap or click Change Power Settings. The Power Options console in Control Panel is displayed.

  4. In the left pane, tap or click Choose When To Turn Off Display.

  5. Use the selection list provided to specify when the monitor should be turned off to save energy. Mobile computer devices may have separate on-battery and plugged-in options.

  6. Tap or click Save Changes.