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How to change the screen saver grace period

The process of enabling or changing the screen saver grace period is of a rather technical nature. If you follow the steps below, however, you should be able to get it working.

For a definition of the grace period, see What is the screen saver grace period?

Step-by-step instructions

  1. 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".
    • On Windows 8 and 10, you can begin typing "regedit" as soon as you click the Start menu button. This will bring up a list of search results. Click the link to the "regedit" program.
  2. The registry editor will now open. Proceed by double-clicking on "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE", followed by "SOFTWARE", "Microsoft", "Windows NT", "CurrentVersion", and finally "Winlogon".
  3. If a record named "ScreenSaverGracePeriod" is listed on the right, right-click on it and select "Modify". You can now enter a time in seconds to define the length of the grace period.
  4. If no such record exists, you will have to create it as follows:
    1. Right-click on the "Winlogon" folder, select "New" and then click on "String value".
    2. Type "ScreenSaverGracePeriod" (without quotation marks) into the box and click "OK".
    3. 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.
  5. Close the Registry Editor by clicking on "File" and "Exit", or click the cross at the top-right of the window.

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, try installing this hotfix: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2685088

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