The situation is that: For the encrypted home directory, any passphrase less than 10 characters is useless at all. If someone physically get the harddisk, the data and the other sensitive password stored in keyring can be leaked as a cracking machine can attempt trillion passwords per second. So I prefer a long passphrase, which typed only once a day.

For the use of a laptop, however, the screensaver can be triggered very often and it sleeps sometimes in which entering long password just waste time. In this situation, fast password attempts is not possible. I just dont want random guy touch it, so I prefer a short password. Also, a laptop is more likely to loss, so a stronger encrypted passphrase is even deserved.

On the other hand, forgetting passphrase for login will loss all data so it changes rarely. In contrast, forgetting screensaver password makes no harm as it should be able to reset by relogin, so it encourages to change often.

This is a typical usage pattern, so I want to set a different password for screensaver? Is there any programs to do that? Any script? Thanks


I have tested the xscreensaver, and in the manual, it says:

If you change your password after xscreensaver has been launched, it will continue using your old password to unlock the screen until xscreensaver is restarted. On some systems, it may accept both your old and new passwords.

So I would think there is a way to use a different password.


Personally I believe this is a bad idea. You are risking exposing your high-access account and all that it accesses.

If you did have this setup at all you might well want it the other way around, so that the 'login' one is less secure... because it also needs the username, whereas the screensaver one, the one that, wuithout even typing a username will immediately get you back into the (probably prvileged) account should be longer.

Yeah it's a pain but you can also pick a password that is long, hard to crack and easy to remember.

For instacnce hjk34&*hkj567FGH might be good but something like Boston56@fishy@#### would be much easier to remember and type and would soon become 'ingrained' in the fingers. I'd still write it down somewhere at home.

Another good option you can use is to set your screen-save for longer, say 30 or 45 minutes instead of 10... but know that you have the option to just lock it at will (ctrl-alt-del) at any time.

  • The main purpose of long passphrase is to protect the encrypted data, not only login. The username is known, so it does not add any protection. Setting screen-save time is not a problem here, it actually depends on number of time I leave the computer. – unsym Apr 29 '12 at 21:21
  • Good point. I had assumed that login would imply access to the data itself.. How about creating another user with a different username / password for those situations and try to have the minimal security level for it? – Michael Durrant Apr 30 '12 at 3:20

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