Windows 10 screensaver/display help request
June 3, 2023 10:49 PM   Subscribe

I have Windows 10 screensaver and power settings set to go to the screensaver after 4 minutes and turn off the displays entirely after 5 minutes. Neither are working, however: the displays remain powered after 5 minutes and the screensaver is never enabled. I am able to use the "Preview" button in the screensaver control panel to manually turn on the screensaver and blank the displays when I walk away from the keyboard. This isn't quite the same as turning them off, but will do in a pinch. The control panel is hidden away in Windows 10. How can I put the control panel into the dock, or add a keypress binding to go directly to Preview mode, or otherwise fix the settings without reinstalling Windows?
posted by They sucked his brains out! to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Not exactly sure what u mean, but I found this on Google.
posted by LOOKING at 12:22 AM on June 4

Sounds like you might have a badly behaving app (video players etc can request the screen saver never activate), or I've seen systems stay awake due to a forgotten mouse plugged in that had fallen behind the desk.

You can check if an app is keeping windows awake by running a command in an admin command prompt:

powercfg /requests

If that doesn't help, you could use Windows+L to lock your machine when you want to leave.
posted by samj at 12:26 AM on June 4 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Windows 10 for some reason refuses to accept that it is idle for me if I have a controller plugged in (same deal with xbox, ps4, and switch controllers). It took me forever to figure out, as I assumed that a controller lying idle on a desk was idle in the same way a still mouse was. Apparently not.
posted by Dysk at 12:29 AM on June 4

My Windows 10 machine is configured similarly, and its behaviour is inconsistent - most of the time, it does what it's supposed to, but sometimes the screensaver just doesn't kick in. (Also, sometimes when it's turned the screens off, when I unlock it I find it's switched the contents of the two external displays, which is absolutely infuriating.) I've never been able to work out what's going on with it; it's my work laptop, and it's always got the same applications running and the same peripherals plugged in.

Anyway - I lock it manually when leaving my desk if I want to be sure, which bypasses the screensaver and goes straight to the lock screen, then turns the displays off. Windows-L, as samj says, or Ctrl-Alt-Del and "Lock".
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 6:43 AM on June 4 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Running powercfg /requests required running with administrator privileges.

However, I get None for all the listed categories:







Windows-L or locking via Ctrl-Alt-Del brought me to the lock screen. However, the lock screen stays visible after five minutes; the displays do not shut off. The lock screen approach did not appear to work.

I do have an Xbox controller plugged in to play games; thanks, Dysk. I'll try unplugging that next (ugh, Windows).

Is there any way to map a system event to a keypress? (Like the equivalent of clicking Preview in the control panel?) In OS X there is AppleScript, which is verbose but works. Is there an equivalent to this in Windows?
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:39 PM on June 4

I've used NirCMD to turn off displays in Windows before, and it looks like it also supports starting the screensaver. It's kind of a swiss army knife utility with a bunch of little features.

Weird that something is keeping your PC awake though, I've not seen that behavior without a video playing or something myself.
posted by Aleyn at 7:39 PM on June 4

Response by poster: Dysk was right: the Xbox controller appeared to be keeping the displays going. Wish this was configurable behavior, but at least I now know the cause of the bug.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:40 PM on June 4

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