Change Screen Saver Grace Period in Windows 8

How to Create the ScreenSaverGracePeriod Registry Setting

The scenario: you set a Windows 8 screen saver to lock your screen after say 10 minutes.  You are sitting by the computer and see the screen saver activate.  You wiggle the mouse but it’s too late, your machine is locked.

Your wish: In this scenario wouldn’t it be great to move the mouse and dismiss the screen saver instead of having to type in your password?  Well, by setting ScreenSaverGracePeriod in the registry you can get your wish.


How to Use Regedit to Create ScreenSaverGracePeriodScreenSaverGracePeriod

Launch the Windows 8 Regedit

  • From the Windows 8 New UI type: ‘Regedit’
  • Right-click the regedit icon.
  • (Optionally, Pin to Start.)
  • Run as administrator.

Create ScreenSaverGracePeriod

  • Click on Regedit’s Edit menu
  • Search for ‘Winlogon’
  • (If that does not work, navigate to: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon)New Reg_String ScreenSaverGracePeriod
  • Right-click in regedit’s right pane.
  • Select New (See screenshot to the right)
  • *Choose ‘String Value’
  • Type: ‘ScreenSaverGracePeriod’
  • Set the value data to 60 (it means 1 minute).

* Many registry tweakers advice using a DWORD here, but Guy says NO; in Windows 8 stick with REG_SZ (String value).

Result of Creating a Registry Value Called ScreenSaverGracePeriod

New Reg_String ScreenSaverGracePeriod

Registry Tip: Click on Favorites and ‘Add to favorites’.  Now it will be easy to find the Winlogon values any time you return to Regedit.

Testing The Grace Period to Dismiss Your Screen Saver

  • From the Metro UI, type ‘Screen Saver’.
  • Click on Settings (Key point).
  • Choose ‘Change Screen Saver’.New Reg_String ScreenSaverGracePeriod
  • Make sure that you positively select a screen saver, rather than leave as ‘None’.
  • For testing only, set the time to the minimum of 1 minute.
  • Tick ‘On resume, display logon screen’
    See screenshot to the right.
  • Do nothing for a minute!
  • When the screen saver appears you have 60 seconds to wiggle the mouse, or press a key.
  • Eureka!  Your desktop returns without you having to type a password.
  • Try again, this time wait for more than the grace period (60 seconds) before you press a key.
  • This time you should be at the Windows 8 ‘Lock screen’.

Recap: we have created a delay between the time that the screen saver appears and when it actually locks the computer. During this interval, you can waggle the mouse to unlock the computer.

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Scenarios For Delaying The Lock Screen

The lock screen is a useful security feature in the office or on the road.  However, if you are using a laptop in your home then it’s useful to have extra time to choose to wave off the screen saver.  While you could disable the Windows 8 lock screen by setting the screen saver as ‘None’, you may want to stop other members of the household using your machine if you leave the room.

I have described the Windows 8 ScreenSaverGracePeriod setting, however, you can use it for bypassing the screen saver locking in Windows 7 and older Microsoft operating systems.

Troubleshooting ScreenSaverGracePeriod

  • The biggest error with this registry setting is creating a new DWORD instead of a String Value.
  • Another problem is mistaking the units as minutes instead of seconds.  5 (seconds) really won’t be long enough to react.
  • The range for ScreenSaverGracePeriod is zero to 2,147,483 (would that be nearly a month!).
  • Other general problems include not running regedit as administrator, and looking for Winlogon in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER instead of the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.

See creating Windows 8 .reg files »

Summary of Windows 8 ScreenSaverGracePeriod

There are times when you are still in the room that don’t really want your machine’s screen saver to cut in.  You need a grace period before the Windows 8 computer lock screen appears, try this handy registry hack to get your wish.

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Microsoft Windows 8 Registry Topics

Windows 8 Overview  • Activate Windows 8 Administrator  • Windows 8 Remove Shortcut Arrow

Win 8 Registry Cleaner Review  • Windows 7 Style Start Menu  • Windows 8 Administrative Shares

Win 8 Registry  • Windows 8 Shortcut Desktop App  • Windows 8 .Reg File  • Windows 8 AutoRun