Windows Tips: Toggle Your Screen Saver With a Single Click
(2K, XP)When I edit and burn my own DVDs, it's bothersome to navigate to my Display Properties dialog box repeatedly to switch my screen saver off so I don't end up with just a nice coaster. Deactivating my screen saver takes no fewer than four clicks. That may not seem like a lot, but it's a hassle to deactivate and restore all the time. Is there a way to create a desktop icon to toggle the screen saver on and off?
Jeffrey McCullough, Baltimore
It's helpful to turn off a screen saver before burning CDs or DVDs, running backup software, defragmenting a drive, or performing other PC activities. Unfortunately, Windows makes doing so unduly difficult. But you can create shortcuts for this purpose that you can access with a single click or keystroke combination.
First, create a Registry file that turns off your screen saver. Choose Start, Programs (or All Programs), Accessories, Notepad. On the first line, type Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 and press Enter twice to add a line break. Then type [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop] and press Enter. Finally, type "ScreenSaveActive"="0" and press Enter (see FIGURE 1
The next step is to create two shortcuts that each merge one of these Registry files into the Windows Registry. Right-click the desktop and choose New, Shortcut. In the box, type regedit /s followed by a space. After the space, type SaverOff.reg preceded by the path to the file (see FIGURE 2
At this point you have two desktop shortcuts--one for deactivating your screen saver and the other for activating it. To disable the screen saver, just launch your Turn Off Screen Saver icon. To enable it again, run the other shortcut.
Finding the desktop shortcuts could slow you down as you minimize windows (press Win-D to minimize everything, or click the Show Desktop icon in the Quick Launch toolbar). To activate the shortcuts via your keyboard, right-click the Turn Off Screen Saver shortcut and choose Properties. With the Shortcut tab in front, click in the Shortcut key box and press the key combination you want to use to turn off your screen saver. You can press a single function key (like F2), but it's better to use a key or key combination that you will not need in another application. You can select almost any key on your keyboard for this purpose, but if you choose something other than function keys, your shortcut must begin with Ctrl-Alt, Ctrl-Shift, Shift-Alt, or Ctrl-Shift-Alt.
While you're in the shortcut's Properties dialog box, you may want to use the Change Icon button to give the shortcut a distinctive appearance. Type %windir%\system32\shell32.dll in the box at the top to see a large number of icons to choose from (see FIGURE 3
You can disable or enable your screen saver with a single click of your mouse if you add the shortcuts to your Quick Launch toolbar (see FIGURE 4