Windows XP Screen Saver (Technical)

flutters eyelashes for effect Hey there, all you computer-savvy Dopers!! I come to you to beg assistance with my screen saver. Normally, thanks to the power of Google and some common sense, I’m able to figure out what needs done when my machine acts up, but I’m in way over my head here.

Here’s the scoop: I haven’t used the screen saver on my desktop in about a year. Last night, my husband was changing the desktop settings (I’m giving him the desktop since he bought me a laptop, and he’s personalizing it to suit his tastes.) When he got to the screen saver settings, they were greyed out. Which means, of course, that something is configured to disallow changes from being made. I ran Spybot, AVG Antivirus, and Advanced WindowsCare, but none of those turned anything up, so I did a net search. Found several tech geek sites that were in agreement that the registry was usually to blame (I tend to be very cautious so as not to screw things up worse!)

Under the Users/Desktop settings in RegEdit, the Screen Saver value was set at 0, and I changed it to 1 and did a reboot. Re-ran my Spybot, AVG, and AWC, and found some registry errors, so I fixed those. Now, the settings in Control Panel are unlocked, and I can choose a screen saver and configure the settings just like normal. HOWEVER, after the allotted minute, it still won’t come on. It’ll run fine in Preview mode (and I checked all of them, to make sure the problem was across the board.) But leave the computer sit, and nothing happens.

I know the first thing to spring to mind is usually spyware/malware/viruses, but I keep very carefule track of all that, and I don’t download unneccessary crap for my computer (toolbars, games, or anything like that.) Nothing I’ve come across has turned up results, so that’s why I’m here, asking the gurus of the intarwebs for advice. Please, please inform me of what I missed!

flutters eyelashes again, just for good measure

When you go back in to Control Panel | Display Settings, is the screensaver still set? What happens after a reboot? What happens if you log in as a different user?

Is there anything in the event logs?

If you’re logging in as an administrator, try Start | Run | gpedit.msc and check the screensaver settings in there. Be very careful.

Yes, the screen saver stays configured how I put it. After reboot, still the same. Guest login has no change from the main one.

How do I view the event logs? (I don’t need a step-by-step, just let me know where to find it.)

Aha!! The file “gpedit.msc” can not be found. Hrmm, I get the feeling that’s a big deal. LOL

Try downloading and merging the registry file on line 230, right side, here

Did you mean 227?

That was what I was coming in to post. There are a few viruses that do this even after they are removed.

Event log is at Control Panel-Administrative Tools-Event Viewer.

I don’t have access to a copy of XP Home, but if that’s your OS (as opposed to XP Pro) then gpedit may not be available. I don’t know, and I can’t check, but it’s at least possible.

There’s a ton of stuff in the event logs, many of which say “error”. Is there a specific thing I’m looking for?

I did lines 227 and 230, and still am not seeing any change. (That site is awesome though!)

Yes, I’m running XP home. If I had my install disk, I’d just wipe the damn thing and start over from scratch, but my pc was custom made, and the guy who built it for me doesn’t have the same contact info or address anymore, so I’m SOL there.

Thanks, you guys, (gals?) for trying to help me out. I appreciate it muchly.

Sorry. I wasn’t aware you only had XP Home - it’s only there in XP Pro.

Out of curiosity, are you sure the account you are using has administrative rights?

Glad to hear I’m not missing an imortant file!!

Yes, I’m sure it has administrative rights. It’s the only account we use anymore, although we do have a guest one set up that we never deleted.


Anybody? Hello? Bueller??

Does this sound like it will help?

Thanks, Paul, but no. I can SET the screen saver fine. It just won’t come on.

FWIW, I tried it anyway, and still no luck.

Just a thought but screensavers only come on after inactivity of both mouse and keyboard. Is there something faking activity?

Oh well, worth a shot. Further to what Quartz said, you could try disconnecting keyboard and mouse, and see what happens then. Might help to track down the problem.

Some of the sites I’ve seen have mentioned that this can be an issue with wireless devices - do you have a wireless mouse or keyboard?

I don’t have wireless mouse or keyboard. This is really frustrating to me, because I’ve tried just about everything I can think of! Installing SP3 now, will see if that has any effect.

Have you installed a third-party screen saver, and then deleted the install files instead of uninstalling?

Nope. I don’t install anything third party, other than antivirus/spyware stuff. Been burned in the past, before I knew that some stuff carries bad stuff with it, so I avoid all that stuff now.