What is the screen saver grace period?
On Windows, the grace period is the amount of time in seconds between the moment a screensaver with enabled password-protection is started and the point at which enforcement of that password requirement begins. In other words, if you configured your screensaver to display a logon screen when you resume activity on your computer, the grace period gives you a certain amount of time to exit the screensaver without having to enter a password.
Changing the grace period
Unfortunately, the process of enabling or changing the screen saver grace period is of a rather technical nature. If you closely follow the steps below, however, you should be able to get it working for you.
- Click the Start Menu button at the bottom left of your screen and enter "regedit" (without quotation marks) where it says "Search programs and files" and hit the "Enter" button or click the "regedit" link.
- On Windows XP, you will have to click "Run" first, then enter "regedit" and click "OK".
- Right-click on the "Winlogon" folder, select "New" and then click on "String value".
- Type "ScreenSaverGracePeriod" (without quotation marks) into the box and click "OK".
- Double-click on the "ScreenSaverGracePeriod" record you just created (it should be highlighted on the right) and enter a time in seconds, defining the length of the grace period.
You have now successfully set the screen saver grace period. In some cases, it is necessary to reboot your computer for the changes to take effect. Make sure you have selected a screensaver in the Screen Saver Settings panel, and you have ticked the box next to "On resume, display logon screen" or "On resume, password protect".
Known issue with Windows 7
Microsoft has released a hotfix for users of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 who are unable to set a grace period that exceeds 60 seconds. If you tried to set a grace period longer than 60 seconds, and yet the password-enforcement kicks in after no more than 60 seconds, install this hotfix: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2685088