Windows help: How to change your screensaver

How do I change my Windows screen saver?

To change your screensaver in Microsoft Windows follow these steps:

Screen saver settings
  • On and empty area of your desktop click with your right mouse button
  • On the small menu that pops up, select Properties. The Display Properties window will appear
  • Select the Screen Saver tab to view the screensaver settings

From the screen saver settings page you can select a different screen saver, adjust the settings of the current screensaver and set the time required before your screensaver will activate. You also have the option of requiring a password to be entered before you can use the computer after the screensaver has been activated.

You can also adjust your computer screen power settings by pressing the Power button.

After choosing a screensaver, and pressing the settings button to make adjustments to the screensaver you can preview how it will look by pressing the Screensaver Preview button.

When you are happy with the screen saver settings you've selected, press OK to save your settings.

Don't confuse your screensaver with your wallpaper

The screensaver is what comes on when your computer is idle for a predetermined amount of time. Screen savers were originally designed to prevent 'burn in' on old style computer screens by having the same image showing for hours at a time. Today, a whole industry has grown around screensavers, even though with today's modern LCD screens, they aren't even necessary!

Windows Wallpaper

The Windows Wallpaper is the image that is displayed in the background, on your desktop. If you have a new computer, the Windows wallpaper may show the manufacturers logo, or it may simply be the default Windows wallpaper.

Wallpaper setting

How to change your Windows XP Wallpaper

  • On an unused area of your screen, click with the right mouse button
  • On the small menu that pops up, click Properties
  • On the Display Properties window, click the Desktop tab

From the Desktop Properties window, scroll through the Background list until you find a image you like, and press OK.

How to set your Windows desktop wallpaper background to a picture on the internet

Follow these steps to set your Windows background wallpaper to an image from the internet.

  • When you find the image you want as your Windows wallpaper on the internet while using Microsoft Internet Explorer or Firefox, click on the image with your right mouse button.
  • From the small menu that pops up, select Set as desktop background

Warning about free screensavers

So-called Free screensavers you find on the internet very often have spyware or adware hidden within them. You should never download or install any free screensavers or free cursors from the internet unless you are absolutly certain that they are spyware and virus free. Because it is usually impossible to determine if free Windows screen savers or free cursors contain spyware or adware until after you install them on your PC, you should never install them. If you want screensavers that are safe to install on your PC, you may have to spend a few dollars.
For more information on how to preventing spyware and adware see our how to prevent spyware page.




Hi im a student wanting to change my background. Though do not have right click or control pannel and want to chanege the wallpaper using firefox.Can you please help me ?????

Firefox will not help you at all to change your Windows background.

if your admins have locked-out changes to the background and control panel using Windows network Group Policies, there isn't much you can do other than learn to live with the background you already have.. Dont forget, it's not YOUR computer..

I have done everything that you suggested to activate my screen saver. It will not activate and everytime I go back to the display properties window the dropdown box is back on "none" for a screensaver. I can click apply and ok. I can click just ok. It doesnt matter, it always goes back to "none". Strangely enough the screensaver will preview, and it runs on the little miniature screen in the display properties box. I dont know what else to do. Do you have any suggestions.

This seems to be a pretty common issue, with no single or easy way to fix (other than a full reformat/re-install). Do the obvious things first: scan for viruses and spyware, and uninstall any unnecessary software. Then check these two posts and try what they recommend:



can you make screen saver to change photos in less than 6 sec , that's the shortest time allowed on window xp currently.

I'm wanting to make my screen saver to be a moving GIF image, how would I do that?

You would probably have to find a screen saver program that allows you do do that. You can't do that with the build in Windows screensaver.

The "Display Properties" window on my computer does not have "Themes" "Desktop" "Screensaver" "Appearance" or "Settings" tabs. The only change I can make is to "Themes". Where/how do I find them? I'm using a Lenovo T60 running WinXP SP3. Thanks for your help.

Is this your personal computer or a company computer? It sounds like there might be a system 'policy' that has removed those tabs..

This has been a personal computer from the day I bought it new @ Micro Center three years ago.


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