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What is a screensaver timeout, or wait time?

The amount of idle time that must elapse before the screensaver is activated is often referred to as the "wait time" or the screensaver timeout. For example, if this timeout is set to 15 minutes and the computer is not used for that amount of time, this setting will trigger the operating system to automatically start the screensaver.

By default, the timeout is often set to 15 minutes. On most versions of Windows, the wait time is set in minutes and can be changed in the Screen Saver Settings panel. On Mac OS X, the Screen Saver panel contains a slider you can use to define the timeout (also in minutes).

Group policies

On Windows, it is possible for users with administrative access rights to define the screensaver timeout within administrative templates, or group policies. Doing so sets the wait time for all users, or all users within a group, to a specific number, in seconds rather than minutes. This setting will disable users' ability to set the timeout themselves.

To disable the screensaver within a group policy, set the timeout to 0 (zero).

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