I want to change the default screen saver in Ubuntu 11.10/12.04. On 11.04 I just did a

sudo apt-get install xscreensaver-data-extra xscreensaver-screensaver-bsod 

And then I could change it in the control center -> screen saver options.

Now there seems to be no other option to change the default screen saver.


5 Answers 5



The Gnome 3 Devs dumped the old gnome-screensaver. The replacement screensaver is just a blank screen.

The Canonical Devs thought it was a useful idea to continue and raised a blue-print for implementation in Oneiric.

A few ideas were raised such as a Compiz specific implementation or reusing a Lubuntu/Xubuntu screensaver implementation.

However, at the time of writing, no implementation has been started.



Potential workaround - installing xscreensaver

sudo apt-get install xscreensaver xscreensaver-gl-extra xscreensaver-data-extra

Now remove gnome-screensaver

sudo apt-get remove gnome-screensaver

Now start the xscreensaver configuration tool - from a terminal:


or search from the Dash:

enter image description here

Click OK to both prompts asking to turn-off Gnome Daemon and to start xscreensaver-daemon respectively.

dash search

starting xscreensaver from login

Now to start the xscreensaver daemon on login you need to search in Dash for startup applications

Create a new entry running the command xscreensaver -nosplash

Locking the screen

If you want to manually lock the screen with the keyboard combination CTRL+ALT+L then you will need to run the following to repoint the old gnome-screensaver lock to xscreensaver

sudo ln -s /usr/bin/xscreensaver-command /usr/bin/gnome-screensaver-command

Logout or reboot for all changes to take effect.

  • 1
    This works great for me :) ... thanks for the help i now got the good old bsod again
    – tinuz
    Oct 3, 2011 at 21:22
  • 2
    I wish I could upvote this more than once....
    – belacqua
    Nov 7, 2011 at 20:34
  • This works in 13.05. :) May 27, 2013 at 9:42
  • I recommend also Really Slick Screen Savers sudo apt-get install rss-glx
    – Mariuz
    Sep 18, 2014 at 15:44
  • 1
    For 14.10 this doesn't work :(
    – Danatela
    Nov 25, 2014 at 7:20

Ubuntu 11.10 doesn’t come with screensaver package installed. You must install xscreensaver if you want screensavers activated when your computer becomes idled.

  1. sudo apt-get remove gnome-screensaver
  2. sudo apt-get install xscreensaver xscreensaver-gl-extra xscreensaver-data-extra enter image description here


  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screensaver
  2. http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1860551
  3. http://www.liberiangeek.net/2011/10/enable-screensavers-in-ubuntu-11-10-oneiric-ocelot/
  4. http://www.liberiangeek.net/2011/10/enable-screensavers-in-ubuntu-11-10-oneiric-ocelot/


Above method works in 11.10 ,i didn't tried in 12.04

  • Tried it on 12.04 and i works like a charm!!
    – tinuz
    Aug 13, 2012 at 8:25

Please take note that, for Ubuntu 12.04 and in order to be able to run several screensavers using images from the harddisk (e.g., Carousel, Gleidescope, GLSlideshow, Jigsaw, or XAnalogTV) , I had to install some additional packages.

These are:

  • libxss-dev
  • libxss1-dbg
  • libxss1
  • kdelibs-bin
  • kdelibs5-data
  • kdelibs5-plugin

Many others might get installed automatically together with the ones listed, particularly KDE libraries.

I found the instructions in this blog.


If you sudo apt-get remove gnome-screensaver but then sudo apt-get install rss-glx (see this Ubuntu Forums post and this one), the Really Slick Screensaver (GLX) effects will run on top of a screen that has not been blanked under Unity in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, not just in xscreensaver-demo but also when the real screensaver kicks in.

Hence, a solution is required that does (even in the absence of gnome-screensaver) blank the screen prior to running the xscreensaver (which does work fine under LXDE for one thing).


There is no screensaver by default in Ubuntu. You can install xscreensaver from the archives.

I'm not entirely sure screensavers actually do save screens anymore, though I'm inclined to think they don't. But they do consume large amounts of energy that could be better used for other things.

  • They prevent image burn-in on LCDs. And the amount of energy consumed by CPU is less than what Flash applets in a browser consume during normal day. Dec 4, 2013 at 15:10
  • Switching off a monitor is a more efficient way to save both energy and the screen, wouldn't you say? This wasn't always possible. Dec 4, 2013 at 16:18
  • Indeed. Though, there's a corner case - I don't want to warm up the monitor every time I'm away for less than 10 minutes, but would like it to auto-lock my screen. Blank screen is still there in Gnome, and why not replacing it with some fun pictures. Dec 4, 2013 at 17:28
  • It encourages people to not power down their monitors, is one answer. Dec 5, 2013 at 11:22

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