Screensaver’s controls are Grayed Out - what should you do to unlock it?

You have been working much, and finally you got several minutes and decided to spend them on your desktop personalization, found a good-looking screensaver and decided to install it, but encountered a problem. Buttons are grayed and system does not allow you to do that. Everything may be even worse – the tab with Screensaver configuration in Display Properties may be missing, but stay calm. This article will help you to find a solution to this situation.

There is known fact that users of older Operation Systems like Windows 2000 or Windows XP Professional face this problem more often than users of other systems. Default configuration of Windows just does not allow users to change screensavers – this option is simply blocked.

This may become quite a difficult task for every user, who is not familiar with Windows administration functions. If somebody you know, or you personally have faced this problem then this article should be a useful one for you.

Office computers are the category, with which problem of changing the screensaver occurs more often. Most companies have very strict computer usage and configuration policy, which may prohibit you to change the screensaver. They may not any screensaver to be used at all or allow only certain type of default ones. Be sure to read through your company Computer Usage Policy carefully if you are going to apply tips in this article to an office computer. You may need to get a consultation of your system administrator prior making any changes to the set configuration.

What are the reasons why screensavers became inaccessible on your Operation System?

Compared to Windows 95 and 98 both versions (Windows 2000 and XP) have more user-friendly and functional features. But this was not the only reason why later Windows versions became more popular than the older ones – development didn’t stop and both Windows XP and 2000 offered new functionality for technical personnel and advanced users, who had to fulfill the administrative tasks. Windows XP Professional was especially practical solutions for those administrators who had to manage and maintain large computer networks. Configuring screensavers or disabling them was among those administrative features.

Does not matter if someone has purposively or accidentally disabled the screensaver change feature on your PC – you may reconfigure it back following the simple instructions.

Below you may find some useful steps, which are essential to fix the situation:

  1. Click the ‘Start’ button and hit ‘Run...’, the console will open.
  2. In there type "gpedit.msc" and hit the Enter button.
  3. Now you should have an opened window with a tree-list on the left. Click on the ‘User Configuration’ item and expand it. Select Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Display.
  4. There are policies listed to the right, look at them and make sure that list starts from the item named ‘Hide Screen Saver Tab’ and the last item is ‘Screen Saver Timeout’. It is important that all of them are in the Not Configured state.
  5. But if any of the items has a different state you should double click the policy line, select line named Not Configured and hit OK button or Enter.
  6. Then close this window called Group Policy.


Then just open the Display Properties and check whether you can configure the screensavers again. If they are still grayed – please go through the above mentioned steps once again and check whether you did everything correctly.

During the Step 2 a window, stating that you do not have permission, may pop-out. In order to solve this you will have to login under the Administrator account (because most likely you are working under the restricted user account) or contact your System Administrator to resolve the issue.

Using the information from this article and a bit of creativity you may set your screensaver and prevent any unauthorized users of your children from playing with your screensaver settings. Steps are almost the same – the only difference is that you have to put other values for all above mentioned items (instead of leaving them ‘Not Configured’).




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