How to Install, Change, Autostart Screensaver in Ubuntu

2 min

This basic guide will help 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 an Ubuntu user, you might notice a blank screen for the screensaver. After dropping GNOME 3 (16.04 onwards), Ubuntu shows a blank screen for the screensaver.

However, those who are old in the Linux universe; know about the xscreensaver package, which has been 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 the latest Ubuntu distribution. Here’s how you can do it.

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

How to Install Screensaver in Ubuntu

To install xscreensaver in Ubuntu, Linux Mint and other Ubuntu-based distributions – run the below series of commands.

  • Open terminal.
  • Install the packages by running the below command:
sudo apt-get install xscreensaver xscreensaver-gl-extra xscreensaver-data-extra
  • Remove the GNOME screensaver (if installed)
sudo apt-get remove gnome-screensaver
  • To start the screensaver via autostart, add the below command in the startup applications.
xscreensaver -nosplash
  • Save and close the dialog.

Configure and Change

Open screensaver via the application menu after completing the installation. You can specify the timings of screensavers along with several options.

You can select the screensaver type from the display mode tab list. Se the lock screen time out, cycle after settings.

screensaver display mode settings
screensaver display mode settings

The advanced settings give you more options for slideshow as a screensaver from your image library. In addition, you can also change the various power-saver settings.

screensaver display advanced settings
screensaver display advanced settings


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 the startup altogether, i.e. removing it from the startup application window. And then reboot.

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

xscreensaver-command -deactivate

To activate again, run:

xscreensaver-command -activate



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