A Screen saver on a Windows device is a graphical display that activates when the computer is inactive for a set period, originally designed to prevent burn-in on older monitors. While less relevant with modern screens, it now serves as a visual display for entertainment and energy conservation.
Users can select and customize screensavers through settings app, adjusting activation delay and security options, though their primary purpose has shifted from protection to aesthetics and efficiency.
Recently, I discussed about how to disable taskbar settings on Windows 10 devices using Intune which is helpful for organizations who do not want their employees to make changes to the taskbar settings.
If you are managing your devices using Intune then you can control Screen saver settings from In-built settings catalog on Intune admin center. In the next sections, we will see how to enable Screen saver, Configure its Idle timeout settings for Screen saver activation and provide a specific executable to run when Idle timeout is expired.
Steps to Enable Screen Saver on Windows using Intune
You can enable a screensaver on Windows 10 or Windows 11 devices by following below steps on Intune admin center:
- Login on Microsoft Intune admin center
- Click on Devices > Configuration profiles
- Click on + Create profile
- Platform: Windows 10 and later
- Profile type: Settings Catalog
Provide a Name and Description of the Policy to Identify it on Microsoft Intune admin center.
- Name: Enable Screen Saver on Windows devices
- Description: This device configuration profile will enable screen saver on Windows devices
Click on + Add settings and then search for “screen saver” in the settings picker. You will find few settings related to Screen saver. You need to select below three settings:
- Enable Screen saver (user) – This will enable desktop Screen saver on target devices. Please note that this setting is dependent upon below two settings. If its not configured, screen saver will not be enabled.
- Force specific screen saver (User) – Using this setting, you can provide a path of the screen saver file stored on the device. Screen saver file is having a file extension of .scr.
- Screen saver timeout (User) – Specify how much Idle time must pass to Initiate Screen saver on the device. Minimum time you can specify for this setting is 1 second and maximum time is 24 hours (86,400 seconds). If its set to 0, screen saver will not be activated.
If you only enable “Enable Screen saver (user)” setting, screen saver on targeted windows devices will not be activated. This setting is dependent on Force specific screen saver (User) and Screen saver timeout (User) settings. So please make sure to configure all three settings.
- As you can see from below screenshot, I have Enabled these settings and provided below values:
- Screen saver timeout (User) – Enable this setting and Provide the Idle timeout value. I have specified 5 seconds as I am testing this policy. For production devices you can specify as per requirement. The default value is 15 minutes (900 seconds).
- Force specific screen saver (User): Enable this setting and provide the path of Screen saver executable name (User). This needs to be pointed to screensaver file (.scr file). I have provided %Systemroot%\System32\ssText3d.scr path which is a In-built Windows screen saver file. If you have any custom screen saver file, you can provide the path here.
- Enable screen saver (User) – Toggle the switch to Enabled state to Enable screen saver on Windows devices.
You can either create an Azure AD group or use an existing one which Includes users or devices. There are only two assignment sections available to assign this device configuration profile. First one is Included groups and second one is Excluded groups.
In the Included group section, click on Add groups and select an Azure AD group to assign this device configuration profile. I have a group called CloudInfra Windows devices which contains Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices.
Once your testing is successful and you want to apply this profile to all organization computers, then you can click on + Add all devices to target all Intune managed devices.
Review + Create
On Review + Create tab, review the device configuration profile details and click on Create. As soon as you click on create button, The device configuration profile deployment process to enable screen saver will start.
Intune Policy Refresh Cycle
The Device will Sync / Check in to start Device configuration profile deployment. It may take some time for the process to start. Therefore, if you are testing it on a test device, you can force initiate Intune refresh cycle on the device which will speed up the download and configuration process. You can also use Powershell to force initiate Intune refresh cycle.
Also, you can restart the device first which also starts the device check-in process. Manual sync is not mandatory on user’s devices as the device check-in process happens automatically. But if you are testing this setting on a test device then this can speed up your testing and can save some time.
Monitoring of Device Configuration profile
You can check the status of device configuration profile from Intune admin center by following below steps:
- Login on Microsoft Intune admin center
- Click on Devices > Configuration profiles
- Click on the Device configuration profile and on the top of the page you find quick view of Success, Failure, Conflict, Not Applicable and In Progress status.
- Click on View report to find more details about the status of Device configuration profile.
End user Experience
Let’s check the Experience on a End user device after this policy has been applied. As I have kept the screen saver timeout value to relatively very low which is 5 seconds. Therefore, the screen saver was activated on my device after 5 seconds of Idle time.
You can also go to the Settings > Personalization > Lock screen > Screen saver to launch screen saver settings window. As you can see that the settings are greyed out and cannot be changed because its managed by Intune.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
1. Where to locate Screen saver registry entries created by Intune
As this is a user based policy, therefore Screen saver registry entry will be created under HKEY_CURRENT_USER node. After applying Screen saver policy via Intune, registry entries will be created under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Control Panel\Desktop key which will have below values:
- ScreenSaveActive – 1 (value of 1 means Screen saver policy is active and enabled)
- ScreenSaveTimeOut – 5 (Its set to Idle timeout of 5 seconds)
- SCRNSAVE.EXE – %Systemroot%\System32\ssText3d.scr
2. Where to find Intune logs related to Screen saver policy we deployed
As we have deployed a Screen Saver device configuration profile on target devices, It has been implemented successfully. But in case of any issues you want to troubleshoot and find out why the policy is not getting applied. For this, you can check Event viewer and go through the logs as per below steps:
- Press Windows key + R to open Run dialog box.
- Type eventvwr and press enter to open Event Viewer.
- Expand Applications and Services Logs > Microsoft > Windows
- Find DeviceManagement -Enterprise-Diagnostics-Provider > Admin
- Right-click on Admin logs and select Filter Current log (as shown in below screenshot)
- Filter the Event ID log for Event ID: 814. Press OK button to proceed.
- As you can see in below screenshot, The logs are showing for Screen Saver policy we applied on Windows devices. If you check the details, It shows that that Screen saver state is Enabled and Screen saver time out frequency is 5 seconds.
MDM PolicyManager: Set policy string, Policy: (CPL_Personalization_ScreenSaverTimeOut), Area: (ADMX_ControlPanelDisplay), EnrollmentID requesting merge: (F62221AB-A02E-48E3-A4F0-71D93A1C547F), Current User: (S-1-12-1-2408410540-1219985927-1228550830-209493422), String: (), Enrollment Type: (0x6), Scope: (0x1).
3. What’s the location of Screensaver files in Windows 10/11
If you are trying to enable a Screensaver on Windows devices using In-built Screen saver files available then you can choose from a number Screensaver options. To locate Screensaver files on Windows, please follow below steps:
- Press Windows key + R to open Run dialog box
- Type %systemroot%/system32 and press enter
- Search for *.scr files in this folder using the search box. This will result in listing of all files with extensions .scr. These are Screen saver executables, you can use any of the files to apply a Screen saver on Windows devices.
- You can double-click on each file to test the Screen saver, If you like it you can configure it using Intune using the steps given in this blog post.
In this blog post, we have seen how to Enable screen saver policy on windows devices from Intune admin center. Please make sure to select all the settings as shown in the blog post to enable screen saver. If you want a custom Screen saver then you first have to copy screen saver file (.scr) on the device and provide that path in Force specific screen saver (User) setting.