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Putting Screensavers Under Control

No matter how much you enjoy your favorite screensavers, sometimes they can be rather annoying. Don't like them interrupting your presentations? Hate them disturbing you watching movies? Look no

by Roman Kramar  




No matter how much you enjoy your favorite screensavers, sometimes they can be rather annoying. Don't like them interrupting your presentations? Hate them disturbing you watching movies? Look no further. This article will show you how to gain full control over your screensavers in no time.

There's no doubt screensavers bring a pleasant variety to your desktop. Not to mention they prevent your monitor from burn-ins. Still there are times they had better sit quiet and hadn't interfered with your work.

Demonstrating a slideshow, watching a movie, reading an article - all these activities and many others may leave your computer with no keyboard and mouse input for a few minutes. Depending on your preferred settings, two or three minutes of inactivity may be enough for a screensaver to start and interrupt your work when it shouldn't.

The obvious solution to the problem is disabling screensavers right before any of those activities. However, it's very likely you'll forget to do it. Furthermore, it's even more likely you'll forget to turn screensavers back on later, thus leaving yourself without their benefits for indefinite time.

Thankfully, we are not the first people who encountered this problem. Quite many different tools already exist to help you. They range from simple support for screensavers in some applications to universal and powerful tools to control them.

If screensavers interrupt you often when you watch movies, but otherwise don't bother you, you may find it sufficient to use a media player that has a built-in support for screensavers. For example, Winamp and The Playa have an option to prevent screensavers from starting while they play a movie. Consider using one of them or another media player having that option unless you are looking for a more versatile tool.

For those of you who'd like to have full control no matter what you do, there are many universal applications. This time we will talk about two of them.

If you want a program that is easy to use and that would allow you to disable screensavers quickly and then easily enable them, Hot Corners is right for you. It's a small tool letting you control screensavers in three ways:

  • by moving the mouse into one of the screen corners

  • by pressing a combination of keys on your keyboard

  • by clicking an icon in the system tray

You can set one screen corner for disabling screensavers and another for starting them. This way moving the mouse into the first corner will prevent any screensaver from starting. Moving the mouse into the second corner will start your default screensaver. Holding the mouse in any other place of your desktop will make screensavers behave in the usual manner. For you convenience, Hot Corners allow you to vary the size of the corners. This way you won't waste too much time positioning the mouse precisely.

Alternatively, you can set a pair of keyboard shortcuts to quickly disable or activate a screensaver. You may prefer this method if you extensively use the keyboard while working.

Another useful feature of Hot Corners is Power Management control. Not only it can prevent screensavers from starting, but it also won't let your monitor to go in power saving and power-off modes.

Hot Corners were created by South Bay Software, and are available for download from

http://www.southbaypc.com/HotCorners/

Another interesting tool is Galt Screen Control by Galt Technology. It definitely lacks the variety of screensaver control methods available in Hot Corners. Nevertheless, it has many other features you may find useful.

There is only one way to disable screensavers using Galt Screen Control. You will have to right click the application icon in the system tray and select the corresponding option.

But there's more in it than simply disabling screensavers. You can select an option that will disable them for 1/2, 1, 2, or 4 hours, giving you even finer control. This way you will never forget to enable screensavers back later. Galt Screen Control provides an easy and convenient way to launch or configure any installed screensaver. It requires you just two menu clicks. Furthermore, the tool can select a random screensaver when you ask it. Alternatively, it can do it on each program startup or on an hourly basis.

You can download Galt Screen Control from

http://www.galttech.com/screenshots/screencontrol.html

Now that I've shared these little secret tools with you, it's time to show your screensavers their real master. Don't waste a second! Put them under control!

Roman Kramar is a software developer who enjoys writing screensavers as his time permits. Visit his site at http://www.elasticsystems.com/ to find out more about screensavers and his work.


webmaster@elasticsystems.com


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