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Create Shortcut Icon to Disable / Enable the Screensaver

How many times have you been watching a long video on your computer and had the screensaver come on? Then you play the game of trying to jiggle the mouse every certain number of minutes to make sure it doesn’t happen again…  seems like it would be easier to have a really quick way to disable the screensaver.

Our solution comes in the form of a little utility named flipss.exe which can be used to easily enable or disable the screensaver via a command line argument… we’ll just have to manually create shortcuts for each task.

Create Disable/Enable Shortcut

Right-click on the desktop and choose New \ Shortcut from the menu.

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You will need to enter in the full path to where you saved the flipss.exe file, followed by either “/off” or “/on”. For instance, if you saved the utility in C:\MyFiles you would use this path to create the disable icon:

C:\MyFiles\flipss.exe /off

image

On the next screen you’ll need to give it a useful name, and then create a second shortcut with “/on” which you can use to turn the screensaver back on.

image

You can give them different icons by going into the properties for the shortcut and choosing the “Change Icon” option. Personally I moved the icons into the quick launch bar for easier access and indexing in Launchy.

Download Flipss.zip from jddesign.co.uk

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/13/07

Comments (31)

  1. H. W. McDaniel

    This is neat.

    Could/would you build a little utility that switches the default audio device from headphones
    to speakers? I find that drilling down thru C.P is a real pain.

    Thanks for listening.

    mc

  2. Tamil
  3. Hmm

    Interesting, when i type in

    “C:\Program Files\FlipSS\FlipSS.exe /on” with the “” that are required to make a new shortcut it says
    ‘The name ‘c:\this\folder\FlipSS.exe /on’ specified in the Target box is not valid. Make sure the path and file name are correct.

    however

    “C:\Program Files\FlipSS\FlipSS.exe” /on

    does not exicute the said program.

  4. James

    If you have placed FlipSS.exe under a folder on Program Files, the following shortcuts should theoretically work:

    “C:\Program Files\FlipSS\FlipSS.exe” /on
    “C:\Program Files\FlipSS\FlipSS.exe” /off

    However, I am getting a dialog box that says “Failed SPI!” when I run it. It does this when I run this from the command line too.

    It is possible that your system does not allow you to enable/disable your screensaver (even if you are an admin user) . If you can’ change the scrrensaver through normal means, then this won’t work either.

  5. Sara

    Having the same problem as Hmm.

  6. jim

    when you set up your shortcut under “Target:” in the properties of the shortcut use flipss.exe /on without quotes and make sure that your “Start In:” folder is the folder where the program is…

    Windows will then change to “c:\My Files\flipss flipss.exe” /on which works….

    Weird and quirky but thats how I got mine to work…

  7. jimbo

    I had the same problem. You have to put a space between “.exe” and /on or /off to get it to work. so it would be: xxxxxxx\flipSS.exe[space]/on (or /off). It works for me now.

  8. M.

    I followed the instructions and … nothing works? I double-clicked the icon, my cursor “moved”, and my screen saver was /not/ disabled.

  9. Alecska

    I think I know what the problem is :

    I also put flipss.exe in the *Program Files* folder, and I had the same error : “invalid path”.

    So I put flipss.exe in the C:/ root and the shortcut works well !

    The problem comes from the double quotes in the path, added by Windows because of the space between *Program* and *Files* words.
    If you install flipss.exe in a directory without a space in the name, I think it’s ok.

  10. Hmm

    @jimbo

    on windows XP Pro SP2, it does not work

    “C:\Program Files\FlipSS\flipss.exe” /on
    “C:\Program Files\FlipSS\flipss.exe” /off
    “C:\Program Files\FlipSS\flipss.exe /on”
    “C:\Program Files\FlipSS\flipss.exe /off ”

    i tried all four variants, either did not work or gave me an invalid path error

    @Alecska
    I will try and verify that

  11. jaime mackenzie

    Cannot stop screensaver from kicking in.Tried doing it through properties, it lasts a while but when i restart the settings go back to on. I am running Windows XP pro sp2. How can i disable the screensaver ?

  12. Higham

    Didn’t work for me… any ideas?

  13. yeti

    I have the same problem as james… Failed SPI !
    I cannot set any parameters for any screensaver, even as admin… I have upgraded my HPnx9420 from XP towards Vista-Ultimate…

    Does Anyone have any suggestions?? Please…

  14. Adam

    For everyone who is having problems:
    there must be a space between .exe and /on (/off)
    It MUST be saved outside of program files. example:
    C:\FlipSSFiles\flipss.exe /on

  15. Yeti

    Yeah I did that… the application does work, however it does NOT have the required result. In that i will be able to change my screen saver settings….

  16. XP105

    Shame there isn’t a way to simply toggle it on or off with the same command. I can guarantee I will get mixed up at some point. But still, thanks for the tool, it’s brilliant. If you do make a toggle one, please let me know.

  17. Erik

    I have used Alecska advise “If you install flipss.exe in a directory without a space in the name, I think it’s ok. ” and Adam`s “there must be a space between .exe and /on (/off)” and it works perfect.

    P.S. I don’t use the ” on ” command but “start” instead and the screen saver kicks in immediately

    I run XP PRO SP2

  18. Adam C.

    if you save it in the “Program Files” folder set the target to:

    “C:\Progra~1\FlipSS\flipss.exe” /on
    “C:\Progra~1\FlipSS\flipss.exe” /off

    and on vista you may need to do:

    “C:\Progra~2\FlipSS\flipss.exe” /on
    “C:\Progra~2\FlipSS\flipss.exe” /off

  19. Hobbs3000

    The last comment by Adam C works.

    After trying all scenarios and then only scrolling down to find comments, Adam C’s work.
    Where ever you save it (doesn’t matter if not in C:\Programs…..), just make sure after the commas that you leave a gap. And bingo. Adams the man.

    Xp sp2 for me.

  20. Adam C.

    if you save it in the “Program Files” folder set the target to:

    “C:\Progra~1\FlipSS\flipss.exe” /on
    “C:\Progra~1\FlipSS\flipss.exe” /off

    (“and on vista you may need to do:”)
    sorry i messed that up ^…. i ment to
    say if your running 64bit (x64) windows
    vista or xp then you must do…

    “C:\Progra~2\FlipSS\flipss.exe” /on
    “C:\Progra~2\FlipSS\flipss.exe” /off

  21. Pierre

    N.B. You have to have a screen saver enabled for this command to work. I assume that it is disabling/enabling the “ScreenSaveActive” registry key under “HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop\”.

  22. Selvan

    Hi,

    I didn’t try the flipss.exe but when looking to improve the trick I found below, I saw this thread and had to add to it. My intent is to help in the solution of easily turning the screen saver on and off.

    Here’s a way to just toggle it from one state to the other (if it’s ON it will be turned OFF and if it’s OFF it will be turned ON). Simply open notepad, paste the below text into it, save it as Whatever and place it Wherever you wish. I put mine in the C: drive, created a shortcut to it in the Quick Launch toolbar and named it Screen Saver Switch. But I can’t take credit for it as I did not write it.

    Const HKCU = &H80000001
    Set oReg=GetObject(“winmgmts:!root/default:StdRegProv”)
    oReg.GetStringValue HKCU,”control panel\desktop”,”ScreenSaveActive”,screensaveractive
    Select case screensaveractive
    case “1″
    screensaveractive = “0″
    oReg.SetStringValue HKCU,”control panel\desktop”,”ScreenSaveActive”,screensaveractive
    msgbox “Disabled”,vbinformation,”Screen Saver Switch”
    Case “0″
    screensaveractive = “1″
    oReg.SetStringValue HKCU,”control panel\desktop”,”ScreenSaveActive”,screensaveractive
    msgbox “Enabled”,vbinformation,”Screen Saver Switch”
    End Select

  23. selvan777

    Hi,

    Did someone mention toggle the screen saver? Check this out!

    Open notepad, paste the below text into it, save it as Whatever.vbs, place it wherever you wish and create a shortcut to it in the Quick Launch toolbar.

    I can’t take credit for it as I did not write it.

    Const HKCU = &H80000001
    Set oReg=GetObject(“winmgmts:!root/default:StdRegProv”)
    oReg.GetStringValue HKCU,”control panel\desktop”,”ScreenSaveActive”,screensaveractive
    Select case screensaveractive
    case “1″
    screensaveractive = “0″
    oReg.SetStringValue HKCU,”control panel\desktop”,”ScreenSaveActive”,screensaveractive
    msgbox “Disabled”,vbinformation,”Screen Saver Switch”
    Case “0″
    screensaveractive = “1″
    oReg.SetStringValue HKCU,”control panel\desktop”,”ScreenSaveActive”,screensaveractive
    msgbox “Enabled”,vbinformation,”Screen Saver Switch”
    End Select

  24. Spreadsheet Ninja

    Thanks for the program idea, I went with Tamil’s suggestion about Caffeine. Only reason was that I could not download anything from jddesign’s website. It was just sooo slow! OMG!! Not to mention caffeine is a tiny tiny program. Great suggestion Tamil!

  25. TJ

    for those of you with problems problems making the shortcut

    i believe you can format it as “[path]\FlipSS.exe” -on

  26. Selvan Poothamby

    I took the vbs above in my previous post and made it into a GUI using AutoHotkey.
    It opens a window to display the current state and offers a button to toggle it.
    And it’s less than 200 KB.

    http://members.lycos.co.uk/surfto/ScreenSaverToggler.exe

  27. Peter

    This is similar to what I’m looking for but not exactly. What I want is a way to ‘manually’ turn on the screensaver for Vista just by moving my cursor pointer to the top/bottom, left/right edge of the desktop screen (and only the full desktop screen). Moving the cursor away from those positions (on the full desktop – have to stress this: only on the full desktop screen when it has full focus, not when some other program is being used in a non-maximised window where some of the desktop screen is showing) should allow the default screensaver settings to take over. Is there anything like that available?

  28. Selvan

    My favorite Screen Saver Toggler, it lets you know if it’s currently ON or OFF and offers a button to toggle it. http://lastborns.esmartweb.com/sst.rar

  29. Brubaker

    This little utility is exactly what I needed.

    When making full system backups, I prefer shutdown everything that isn’t actually needed at the time. I use a script to do that, but hadn’t found a way to stop the screensaver. This works perfectly. Thanks.

  30. Chris

    Selvan Rocks! I already use AutoHotkey so that solution worked great for me. I went a step further and created a keyboard shortcut to activate/deactivate the toggle utility. Thanks!

  31. laitentier

    Hello
    I am using Windows 7. I have found this successful.
    Syntax for target is —> “……..\flipss.exe” /on <—- no arrows or dashes of course
    I created the 2 shortcuts in the same folder as I placed the programme and then pinned them (option on right click) to the taskbar.
    best wishes

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