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Disabling a group policy'd screensaver on Windows

IT

I guess many people know the issue of having a screen saver forced active after a some time through a group policy in a corporate environment. This is usually done to make sure systems are locked during breaks if people forget to press Win+L (or Ctrl+Alt+Del and then Enter). While that may well help IT security, it turns problematic when giving presentations for extended periods of time. Having to move the mouse through the presentation pointer every few minutes or dash back to the PC once the screen saver has kicked in, again, is simply annoying. On your company's systems you may be able to get the system admins to allow configuration of the interval or allow for disabling the screen saver, but on foreign systems you're often lost. But...

...a nice gentleman by the name of "Average Midget" has come up with a helpful piece of software called Screen Slayer (ScrSlayer). He published it in a thread on the Leoville Town Square forum. Quite a difficult place to find it :-).

It basically moves your mouse by zero pixels every time 80% of the configured screen saver timeout has passed. Thus Windows sees the mouse moved and starts counting again. This works in Windows XP and Vista for me.

As experience tells me, the software and its documentation through the forum thread will vanish sometime off the Internet. Thus I replicated the latest version of the full version of ScrSlayer.exe (including a GUI), the lean version of ScrSlayer.exe (without a GUI) and the three pages of the forum thread on 13.08.08 here: ScrSlayer.zip [213 kB].

Thanks Average Midget, nice work!

Updates:

21.04.11 It looks like the Leovilletownsquare link is redirecting to some new forum installation now. No ScrSlayer info found there :-(. Google still finds a copy of the old fusionbb software here. Let's see how long that one stays around.
The ScrSlayer.exe also works in Win7. Amazing.
As I've seen a copy of the ScrSlayer.zip on a Saudi Arabian blog (not that he linked the source...), I'd like to give checksums so people can verify the integrity of their downloads:
# file size ScrSlayer.zip 218563 bytes
md5sum ScrSlayer.zip d0a6ec5616b39739c7abf65626a6753a
sha1sum ScrSlayer.zip e84eefca6bfbce526f792fb91873e4fa5cf01442

27.04.17 I just had to run ScrSlayer on Windows 10 to get the TomTom MyDrive Connect software to update a TomTom Go with the newest map. This takes about an hour and failed twice when run under plain Windows 10 without somebody using the system. So apparently Win10 goes into some type of hiatus. Probably saving a few mA on the USB ports. Where the TomTom Go is connected. Duh. Started ScrSlayer and the system stayed active and the TomTom software managed to complete the update on the navigation device. Still an awesome tool to work around failed pieces of software and/or policy.

21.12.19 Remy van Elst wrote ScreenSaverStopper. It sends the F24 key every 40 seconds and therefore keeps Windows from activating the screensaver, too. No UI, just a plain executable like the ScrSlayerLean version from Average Midget's ScrSlayer.zip linked above.

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alain on :

Hello,

great piece of software, it was very useful to me

best regards

Barry Littleton on :

Thank you very much for the information, and a very big THANK YOU to the not-so-average midget - I owe you a beer!

Subhash on :

Thanks a million. This has been really paining me a lot.

Regards, Subhash

Julian on :

This tool is really well done, a big thank you to the original author and also to you for preserving it.

Quinten on :

Awesome, Talk about thinking outside the box ..

feugene on :

very nice tool.. much appreciated.. with this tool I had remove the screen lock for our company computer.. its very annoying to have it locked every after 2 mins. while waiting for a call

huge call center rep

Daniel Lange on :

If screens lock in your call center after 2 mins somebody seriously needs to talk to the IT manager. I find it amusing that he thinks a 2 min timeout is a viable security measure while agents are obviously able to run non-systems-managed software on the PCs. The latter is a serious security issue.

Filozof71 on :

Thanks a lot !!!

Sameera on :

Thank you very much. Great work!

Michael on :

I have also found Kaliro Screen Control :-) which can do the same thing. You can also get it to turn off the screen and return to the lock screen at your own interval in case you forget to turn it off. It can also store screen images in a folder every time you hit print screen - very handy. Find it at http://sites.google.com/site/kalirosupport/

AverageMidget on :

Very cool! I was doing a vanity/paranoia search and found your post. I'm glad people found it useful. The one thing I wanted to add, but never got around to, was a way to specify a "cutoff" time. There were a few times where I accidentally left it running at work. Oops! I appreciate that you gave credit. That was nice, thanks!

Jasen Webster on :

You can create a scheduled task to launch taskkill at a specified time. (i.e., end of your shift)

taskkill /im scrslayer.exe /t /f

oogler on :

someone seriously needs to bash IT manager's heads on a regular basis because the level of paranoia and over-use of security features is epidemic.

This is not a rant, it's real life security issue: example of choice: winlogon password rules and expiry. if IT decides that passwords have to use caps, numbers, punctuation, and change every week they inevitable force users to stick post it notes on the laptop with passwords on it.

Seriously, someone hit over-zealous IT managers on the head for me please. thanks!

jmrwiseguy on :

Is there any way to have ScrSlayer startup active when first launched? Similar to the -minimize option. Maybe something like "ScrSlayer.exe -minimize -activate"

Daniel Lange on :

No, that option does not exist. I guess it was intended for presentations and the like by AverageMidget not to disable ScreenSavers forever without talking to an admin. You may be able to pipe "d" to ScrSlayerLean.exe but I have not tested that.

AverageMidget on :

Maybe I'm not understanding what you mean. ScrSlayer starts up with the screen saver disabled by default. Did you mean you'd like its default start state to allow the screen saver to come on? It wouldn't be that difficult to add. The hardest part would be finding the source code. I've gone through several computers since then. It's somewhere on an old hard drive...there are quite a few of those though :/

Daniel Lange on :

In case you can't find a good backup: The source code you pasted in the Leoville Townsquare forum has been preserved in the .zip file within your posts. The resource files (.ico etc.) can probably be well extracted from the .exes.

IGnatius T Foobar on :

The place I am finding this useful is in a virtual machine. I already have a screen saver configured on the physical computer; I don't need one on a virtual machine but group policy prevents me from disabling it. ScrSlayer is the perfect workaround.

IGnatius T Foobar on :

This simple piece of software has been around for so long, but it still just does one thing, without any bells and whistles, without needing to be installed, and it's still the best!

I find it particularly useful on remote desktops. My physical desktop has a screen saver and screen lock, so I don't want the remote desktops blanking out too.

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