Screensaver does not work

By raymondmm
Jul 7, 2009
  1. I have Windows Vista operating system on my laptop. Recently, the screen saver has not been working. I have it set in display to go on after 10 minutes of non use but it will not go on. What can I do to find out why it is not working. Please give me detailed instructions of what to check to try and get the screen saver to work again. Thank you. Melody
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    What security and registry cleaner software are you using. These are the usual causes... and the scans you run for cCleaner, superantispyware, malwarebytes, and others.
    Are these Microsoft screen savers, or others that you have installed from other sources?
  3. raymondmm

    raymondmm TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I use mcafee virus scan and spybot search and destroy as well as disc clean and disc defragment for clean up of my comupter.

    Mostly I use the windows screen savers, but recently I started using a screen saver from a game called Fishdom, where in the course of the game you design a fish tank and then can select that fish tank as your screen saver and it was working fine up until a few weeks ago. So I turned it off and went back to one of the windows screen savers but that doesn't work either now. I have it set to come on 10 minutes after non use but it never comes on.
  4. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    One possibility is that some monitoring software you are using may be running in the background and interfering with it. An example is some HD condition monitoring tools, which are known to block the screen saver.

    In any case, I do not recommend using a screensaver but the energy saving option of your monitor, if available, which turns the monitor off after inactivity and thus saves energy, which is the reason it’s there.
  5. raymondmm

    raymondmm TS Rookie Topic Starter

    How do I find out what is running in the back ground? What are HD conditioning monitoring tools?

    Also, the energy saver is set on the Del recommended setting, and I went and changed it to turn off the monitor at 10 minues of inactivity, but even after 20 minutes it did not turn off.
  6. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    The first question you should ask yourself is what software you installed, or changes you made, just before the problem appeared. This is the easiest way to the solution.

    HD condition monitoring software runs in the background and periodically checks the condition or health of the HD drive by examining its SMART parameters, but this was just an example.

    As regards checking the processes running in the background, you can use Windows Task Manager, or better the much more informative Process Explorer by MS:

    Google for any processes you suspect, to find out what they are. In any case, don’t disable any processes you are not sure about.

    However, you can get easily overwhelmed if you are not sufficiently knowledgeable. So, before examining individual processes, I’d advise you to first check auto-starting apps, that is programs that start simultaneously with Windows. You may notice some that are not necessary and which you can start manually when you need them. The best tool for doing this task is Autoruns (Microsoft):

    Again, don't disable anything you are not sure what it is.

    Irrespective of your problem, stopping unnecessarily starting programs will be of great benefit to your computer.
  7. raymondmm

    raymondmm TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The last program downloaded to my computer before I had the screen saver problem was the Fishdom Yahoo game. After the game was downloaded the screen saver was working, in fact, in the process of the game you create a fish tank and you are given the option to set it as your screen saver, which I did and the screen saver was working at this point. Then I decided to turn off the fishdom SS and at that point the SS stoped coming on even though I selected a windows SS and even though I tried the Fishdom one again. The energy saving system of turning off the monitor doesn't even work now.

    I do know about closing programs in the Task Manager window. But now when I go to the Task Manager, the applications are jumping all around, the CPU % is constantly going up and down even when no programs are open.

    Will this Autoruns program tell me which programs I can safely close and will they remain closed upon rebooting.

    I am not that computer literate when it comes to the background programming so I need detailed instructions as to what to do and how to do it. Thank you.
  8. raymondmm

    raymondmm TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I went to the link you gave me for the autoruns and it said Windows XP, be advised I have Windows Vista on this computer and that may be the problem.
  9. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Posts: 688   +67

    First of all, to get effective assistance, you should enter your system parameters in your CP as per board instructions. To find the info, you can use Everest
    Now, as regards programs you installed before the problem appeared, as a diagnostic step do a System Restore, if you still can, to a time before such installation and see what effect it has. If problem persists, you can easily undo the System Restore to return to the present state.

    Some variation of CPU usage is normal, but if it’s excessive, you may have a more serious problem than the SS.

    Before, I didn’t think that the disabling of your SS was the result of malware, because such “recreational” use of viruses is declining as opposed to using them for profit. However, it’s highly advisable and the proper start to any diagnosis to go thru the TS

    Autoruns should also run on Vista. It’s portable, no installation required. It shows you all the programs that start simultaneously with the OS. Many non-Windows apps start unnecessarily and take up valuable system resources, slow down the system and may even represent a security risk. The system will benefit substantially if they are stopped from starting on their own. Of course, you can always start them manually later when you need them.

    Start Autoruns.exe. Wait for it to stop scanning till it says “Ready” at bottom left.
    Go to Options and click “Hide Microsoft and Windows Entries” so that you will not disable anything required by the system.
    Of course, Autoruns will not tell you which programs are safe to disable from autostarting, you have to go thru the list carefully yourself. When you recognize something that need not start automatically with the system, you can disable such starting by removing the tick in its box on the left. If you change your mind, you can restore the tick. As examples, I mention Adobe Reader, Quick Time and Real Player.
    Be careful not to disable anything required by your Antivirus or Firewall.
    Though there is little else essential, if you don’t know something it’s wise to leave it and Google to find out what it is. You may even find malware entries that start with the system.
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