How to Fix It When the Windows 10 Screensaver Is Not Working

Most screensaver problems relate to configuration errors

Even though screensavers aren't required for LCD and LED screens—only CRT and plasma displays are susceptible to burn-in—people still use screensavers to offer a bit of visual flair or to protect sensitive on-screen information when they walk away from their desk. Correcting problems with Windows 10 screensavers not working usually requires simple tweaks within the Settings app.

These instructions apply to Windows 10 only.

Screensavers once protected displays from burn-in. Now they are a power-saving tool and a way to show off images.
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Causes of Windows 10 Screensaver Not Working

There are different problems you might encounter with the Windows 10 screensaver, but these are the most common:

  • The screensaver freezes upon activation or when you try to stop it.
  • The screensaver won't start even after you've waited the right amount of time.
  • The screen won't resume and return to your normal computer screen.

In almost all of these situations, the error sources to a configuration problem.

How to Fix Windows 10 Screensaver Problems

Try these steps, in order of most to least intensive, to get your screensaver working again.

  1. Check screensaver settings. While Windows updates can resolve problems, they sometimes change customized settings. If your screensaver isn't working as it should be, make sure it is enabled. Fnd your screensaver settings under Settings > Personalization > Lock screen > Screen saver settings. If you do not currently have a screensaver selected, choose the one you like and choose the amount of time before it activates.

  2. Check your power settings. In a way, your screensaver is a power management tool. Changes to your power savings options can affect the operation of the screensaver. If nothing else has worked, reset these power savings to default. Access Settings > Power & sleep > Additional power settings. Choose either Balanced or High performance. Click Change plan settings to commit the changes.

    On the next screen, select Change advanced power setting. At the bottom of a new pop-up window, select Restore plan defaults.

  3. Check your sleep settings. Verify the Turn off the display time. If your settings tell the display to shut off faster than your screensaver is set to activate, then you'll never see it. Adjust the sleep settings on your computer so your screensaver comes on after five minutes of inactivity and the display turns off entirely after ten minutes.

  4. Apply pending Windows updates. Microsoft releases regular updates that correct minor glitches and errors in the operating system. If you encounter a problem with the regular operation of your computer, the first step should be to make sure Windows 10 is up to date. You can find that information in the Windows Update service on your computer. Consider changing your Windows update setting so that Windows updates automatically.

  5. Clean your mouse or touchpad. In much the same way that auxiliary devices send false inputs that keep your screen active, a dirty mouse or touchpad can also send false inputs. Small drops of water are particularly to blame. Use a soft cloth to clean the sensor on the bottom of your mouse or the touchpad where your hand rests. Disconnect your mouse or turn off your machine before cleaning so that you don't click something by mistake.

    Cleaning a wired mouse is a little different than cleaning a wireless mouse. The most important thing to remember is to disconnect the mouse from the computer before you start taking the mouse apart.

  6. Disconnect peripheral devices. Many people use extra accessories with their computers, such as an Xbox controller. These devices sometimes send signals that make the machine think it is in use, even if the screensaver should be active.

Unplug unnecessary devices from your PC. Remove each device one at a time until you find the potential cause.