Just upgraded to 11.10 and there is one pretty annoying thing: whenever Unity decides that my laptop was idle for too long, the screen goes black and -- the most annoying part -- locks up.

Thus, two questions: how do I configure this "idle" period and how do I prevent the screen from locking up in this case?

Thank you.


3 Answers 3


The easiest way to do this is open up the System Settings, Dash -> System Settings and select your screen.

You should be prompted with the following screen options;

Screen Options

You simply need to choose a setting that suits your needs - if you do not want the screen to turn off simply select 'Never'

Selection Options

You can also choose whether you want to 'Lock' the screen as well. Once done choose 'All Settings' and then close - you may have to log out and back in again for the changes to take effect.


For 12.04 this setting screen has been renamed to Brightness and Lock - see below;

12.04 setting screen

  • Hmm, I can't find this settings Dialog in my System settings dashboard. The closest one I can find is "Display and Monitor" and is looks totally different from yours. Am I doing something wrong? screenshot Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 9:59
  • Oooh, I just found out what is wrong: I was launching system settings from the "Dash home" menu via search. If you launch the "System settings" from the top right corner dialog, It is totally different and it does have the "Screen" settings you are talking about! Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 10:03
  • I get to the same 'System Settings' either way via the Dash or the Cog..... Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 10:08
  • Well, it turns out, I can to it either way too. It is just that somehow I ended up with TWO different "System settings", when I try to get to them via dashboard. They have the same icons, but, apparently, launch different programs. From this point it is trivial: I just have to remember the order in which they show up in search. Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 13:13

I believe that if you go in your system settings and then the power options, you will be able to set if you want your screen to lock or not, and after what time.


Similar results can be achieved by going to the top of the screen, then select System -> Preferences -> Screen saver.

I did this on my Ubuntu 10.04 system

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