Saturday, 5 September 2009

Turn Off Screen Saver in Ubuntu

OK, so CRTs are, like, so 20th Century. If you left them running showing the same image for days on end, like the log on screen in a computer lab, you would eventually find that image burnt onto the screen itself. This is bad. So we invented the screensaver, a bit of software which detects when you have not typed anything or moved the mouse for a while and either blanks your screen, rifles through your pictures collection, or shows some high art animation usually involving toasters. This stops the insides of the CRT from being damaged.

a) no one uses CRTs anymore
b) LCDs do not burn in
c) sometimes I want to leave the screen displaying information without the fucking screen going dark every ten minutes.

Now, I am an intelligent guy, so I go to the System -> Preferences -> Screensaver tool and uncheck the "Activate Screensaver when computer is idle" dialogue box. That should do it?

After ten minutes: blank screen. Oh for fucks sake. So I go to the Power Management options from the Screensaver tool. I tell it 'Never' to put the display to sleep.

After ten minutes: blank screen. Oh for fucks sake. I have to activate the god damned trackpad every nine minutes or so to avoid the screen blanking. Brilliant. I seriously consider trying to activate the trackpad automatically every 9 minutes.

It turns out (and by it turns out I mean after spending the better part of my life trawling through google and forum searches) that you need to change a setting in the gconf file. Whatever the gconf file is. You do this by running this command in a terminal:
You then navigate through the tree structure until you get to:
which you set to false by unchecking it. Hey Ubuntu developers, when someone unchecks the "Activate Screensaver when computer is idle" turn off this bloody setting.

Now, here at the end of all things, sam, I finally have an LCD which does not go dark every 10 minutes.


  1. thank you so very much, I too was going mad with this problem and cannot for the life of me fathom why this hasn't been fixed yet.


  2. Hey! First, thank you for your helpful posting. But in my Configuration Editor does the category 'apps' only contain gnome-screensaver and nothing more. In 'gnome-screensaver' is just 'theme ubuntu-theme-blabla..'

    help me pls!

  3. Oh, yeah. They changed the way it works in the most recent versions of Ubuntu, with the result that I am back, once again, to the joys of fucking blank screens.

    If I can work out how to, yet again, turn off the fucking screen saver, you'll be the first to know.

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  5. I think this may work for you. Open up terminal and paste this (assuming your text editor is gedit, if not then replace that part):

    gksudo gedit /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-server-layout.conf

    Enter your password and the text editor should open. Paste this and then save:

    Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier "ServerLayout0"
    Option "BlankTime" "0"
    Option "StandbyTime" "0"
    Option "SuspendTime" "0"
    Option "OffTime" "0"

    Log out and back in, or restart the computer and the changes should take effect. You can check to see if it did something by running this command in terminal:

    xset q

    You should see the screensaver timeout is 0, and under DPMS all the settings should be 0. Hope it works :)

  6. If that doesn't work then you can manually enter these commands, or create a shell script to run them automatically:

    xset s off
    xset -dpms

  7. Hi Jeff,

    Yeah, caught that one in a later post:

    Still doesn't fucking work. Now using 11.04, and they seem to change the mechanic of the screen saver deactivation with every release.


  8. There is some faggot Microbloat secret agent that worked its way in to ubuntu developers team. Find him and FUCK him.

  9. Has anyone come up with a bloody solution to this persistent display of incompetence? Terminal doesn't wake up after it goes to sleep, if I forget to switch to x before going away I'm pretty much screwed...