xscreensaver-settings - configure and control the xscreensaver daemon
The xscreensaver-settings program is a graphical front-end for
setting the parameters used by the
xscreensaver (1) daemon. It is a tool for editing the ~/.xscreensaver file, and for
demoing the various display modes.
The main window consists of a menu bar and two tabbed pages. The first page
is for editing the list of demos, and the second is for editing various other
parameters of the screensaver.
All of these commands are on either the File or Help menus:
DISPLAY MODES TAB
This page contains a list of the names of the various display modes, a
preview area, and some fields that let you configure screen saver behavior.
This option menu controls the activation behavior of the screen saver.
The options are:
Disable Screen Saver
Don't ever blank the screen, and don't ever allow the monitor to power down.
Blank Screen Only
When blanking the screen, just go black: don't run any graphics.
Only One Screen Saver
When blanking the screen, only ever use one particular display mode (the
one selected in the list.)
Random Screen Saver
When blanking the screen, select a random display mode from among those
that are enabled and applicable. If there are multiple monitors
connected, run a different display mode on each one. This is the default.
Random Same Saver
This is just like Random Screen Saver, except that the same
randomly-chosen display mode will be run on all monitors, instead of
different ones on each.
Double-clicking in the list on the left will let you try out the indicated
demo. The screen will go black, and the program will run in full-screen
mode, just as it would if the xscreensaver daemon had launched it.
Clicking the mouse again will stop the demo and un-blank the screen.
Single-clicking in the list will run it in the small preview pane on the
right. (But beware: many of the display modes behave somewhat differently
when running in full-screen mode, so the scaled-down view might not give
an accurate impression.)
When Mode is set to Random Screen Saver, each name in the list
has a checkbox next to it: this controls whether this display mode is
enabled. If it is unchecked, then that mode will not be chosen. (Though
you can still run it explicitly by double-clicking on its name.)
If the list has focus, you can type any character to search within it.
Beneath the list are a pair of up and down arrows. Clicking on the down
arrow will select the next item in the list, and then run it in full-screen
mode, just as if you had double-clicked on it. The up arrow goes the other
way. This is just a shortcut for trying out all of the display modes in turn.
After the user has been idle this long, the xscreensaver daemon
will blank the screen.
After the screensaver has been running for this long, the currently
running graphics demo will be killed, and a new one started.
If this is 0, then the graphics demo will never be changed:
only one demo will run until the screensaver is deactivated by user
If there are multiple screens, the savers are staggered slightly so
that while they all change every cycle minutes, they don't all
change at the same time.
When this is checked, the screen will be locked when it activates.
Lock Screen After
This controls the length of the "grace period" between when the
screensaver activates, and when the screen becomes locked. For
example, if this is 5 minutes, and Blank After is 10 minutes,
then after 10 minutes, the screen would blank. If there was user
activity at 12 minutes, no password would be required to un-blank the
screen. But, if there was user activity at 15 minutes or later (that
is, Lock Screen After minutes after activation) then a password
would be required. The default is 0, meaning that if locking is
enabled, then a password will be required as soon as the screen blanks.
This button, below the small preview window, runs the demo in full-screen
mode so that you can try it out. This is the same thing that happens when
you double-click an element in the list. Click the mouse to dismiss the
This button will pop up a dialog where you can configure settings specific
to the display mode selected in the list.
When you click on the Settings button on the Display Modes
tab, a configuration dialog will pop up that lets you customize settings
of the selected display mode. Each display mode has its own custom set
of configuration controls.
This tab lets you change various settings used by the xscreensaver daemon
itself, as well as some global options shared by all of the display modes.
Some of the graphics hacks manipulate images. These settings control
where those source images come from. The savers load images by running the
xscreensaver-getimage (1) and
xscreensaver-getimage-file (1) programs.
Grab Desktop Images
If this option is selected, then savers are allowed to manipulate the
desktop image, that is, a display mode might draw a picture of your
desktop melting, or being distorted in some way. The
security-paranoid might want to disable this option, because if it is
set, it means that the windows on your desktop will occasionally be
visible while your screen is locked. Others will not be able to
do anything, but they may be able to see whatever you left
on your screen.
Grab Video Frames
If your system has a camera or other video input, selecting this option may
allow the image-manipulating modes to grab a still-frame of video to operate
Choose Random Image
If this option is set, then the image-manipulating modes will select a
random image file to operate on, from the specified source. That
source may be a local directory, which will be recursively searched
for images. Or, it may be the URL of an RSS or Atom feed (e.g., a
Flickr gallery), in which case a random image from that feed will be
selected instead. The contents of the feed will be cached locally and
refreshed periodically as needed.
If more than one of the above image-related options are selected, then
one will be chosen at random. If none of them are selected, then an
image of video colorbars will be used instead.
Power Management Settings
These options control how the screen fades to or from black when
a screen saver begins or ends.
Fade To Black When Blanking
If selected, then when the screensaver activates, the current contents
of the screen will fade to black instead of simply winking out.
Unfade From Black When Unblanking
The opposite: if selected, then when the screensaver deactivates, the original
contents of the screen will fade in from black instead of appearing
immediately. This is only done if Fade To Black is also selected.
When fading or unfading are selected, this controls how long the fade will
This option menu lists the color schemes available for use on the
There are more settings than these available, but these are the most
commonly used ones; see the manual for
xscreensaver (1) for other parameters that can be set by editing the ~/.xscreensaver
file, or the X resource database.
accepts the following command line options.
The X display to use. The xscreensaver-settings program will open its
window on that display, and also control the xscreensaver daemon that
is managing that same display.
Causes lots of diagnostics to be printed on stderr.
The xscreensaver and xscreensaver-settings processes must run
on the same machine, or at least, on two machines that share a file system.
When xscreensaver-settings writes a new version of
the ~/.xscreensaver file, xscreensaver needs to see that same
file, or it won't work.
to get the default host and display number.
to find the sub-programs to run. However, note that the sub-programs
actually launched by xscreensaver-settings for display in the
inline preview pane, but are launched by the xscreensaver daemon
when run full screen, so the $PATH setting in both processes matters.
for the directory in which to read and write the .xscreensaver file.
to get the name of a resource file that overrides the global resources
stored in the RESOURCE_MANAGER property.
HTTP_PROXY, HTTPS_PROXY, http_proxy, or https_proxy
to get the default proxy host and port.
Copyright © 1992-2022 by Jamie Zawinski.
Permission to use, copy, modify, distribute, and sell this software
and its documentation for any purpose is hereby granted without fee,
provided that the above copyright notice appear in all copies and that
both that copyright notice and this permission notice appear in
supporting documentation. No representations are made about the
suitability of this software for any purpose. It is provided "as is"
without express or implied warranty.