How to Install, Change, Autostart Screensaver in Ubuntu

2 min

This basic guide would help you to install, change and autostart screensavers in Ubuntu.

Screensavers are beautiful for desktops and should be available to everyone as part of their preferred OS. However, if you are Ubuntu user, you might be noticing a blank screen for screensaver. This is because, in recent past, post GNOME 3, the developers decided to drop the screensaver and keep a blank screen.

However, those are old in Linux universe, knows about xscreensaver which is around for a while and comes with some cool hacks for screensavers.

Though the support for screensaver dropped in Ubuntu recently, you can still install xscreensaver and enable it in Ubuntu 16.04, 18.04, 18.10. Here’s how you can do it.

Worth noting that, xscreensaver being a 26 years old software, it is still maintained and updated!

How to Install Screensaver in Ubuntu

To install xscreensaver in Ubuntu 16.04, 18.10, 18.04, 20.04 LTS, Linux Mint and other Ubuntu based distributions – run below series of commands.

  • Open terminal.
  • Install the packages via running below
sudo apt-get install xscreensaver xscreensaver-gl-extra xscreensaver-data-extra
  • Remove the GNOME screensaver
sudo apt-get remove gnome-screensaver
  • Now, to start the screensaver via autostart, add below as command in startup applications (open via dock search).
xscreensaver -nosplash

Configure and Change

Open screensaver via application menu or dock search after complete installation.
You can specify the timings of screensavers along with several options.


This is how you can install and activate screensavers in recent Ubuntu and its derivatives.

Disable Screensaver

To disable the screensaver, you can remove it from startup completely i.e. removing from startup application window. And then reboot.

However, if you are watching movies or doing important tasks and want to deactivate screensaver temporarily you can run below command to disable the screensaver immediately.

xscreensaver-command -deactivate

To activate again run:

xscreensaver-command -activate



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