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xfce4-screensaver - Xfce Screensaver


Xfce Screensaver is a screen saver and locker that aims to have simple, sane, secure defaults and be well integrated with the desktop.

This project is a port of MATE Screensaver, itself a port of GNOME Screensaver.
It has been tightly integrated with the Xfce desktop, utilizing Xfce libraries and the Xfconf configuration backend.


  • Integration with the Xfce desktop per-monitor wallpaper
  • Locking down of configuration settings via Xfconf
  • Support for XScreensaver screensavers
  • (optional) Integration with ConsoleKit and Systemd
  • DBUS interface for limited control and querying screensaver status
  • Idle time and inhibition state are based on the X11 Screensaver extension
  • Shared styles with LightDM GTK+ Greeter
  • No GNOME or MATE dependencies. Requirements are lightweight and shared with Xfce.
  • Full translation support into many languages
  • User switching


The application combines two functions: a screensaver that blanks the screen or fills it with images when the computer is idle; a locker that provides session security.

Screensaver preferences

Enable Screensaver

  • This is the master switch for the screensaver. Note that the screensaver will not actually run unless activation has been enabled at the bottom of the tab.


  • The middle box consists of two parts: a list panel on the left and a small preview screen.
  • The list panel displays available themes (also called “screensavers”). At the bottom of the list panel there is a small configuration button that can be clicked to change available theme traits.
  • A full-screen preview can be seen by clicking the Preview button at the bottom of the tab.
  • Only a small number of themes are available by default. But Xfce Screensaver uses Xscreensaver-compatible screensavers, and collections of such screensavers (xscreensaver-data, xscreensaver-gl, etc.) can usually be installed separately from the main Xscreensaver package.
  • For troubleshooting information about themes, consult the FAQs.

Activate screensaver

  • Click the slider to activate the screensaver when the computer is idle.
  • Use the counter below the slider to set the time interval after the last screen activity before the computer is considered “idle.”

Lock Screen (Locker)

Enable Lock Screen

  • This is the master switch for the locker. This also integrates with Xfce4 Power Manager, which can be launched using the button at the bottom of the tab.
  • Note that the locker will not automatically run unless at least one activation listed below has been enabled, although manual locking remains available.

Lock Screen with Screensaver

  • User has the option to decide how long the screensaver should run before the screen is locked.

Lock Screen with System Sleep

  • Enable to allow Xfce4-screensaver to put the system to sleep (suspend).

On Screen Keyboard

  • Enabling this triggers an on-screen keyboard for login. The keyboard’s visibility before the screen was locked is remembered; a small toggle on the right end of the login screen can be used to restore visibility if required.
  • The command and any options to activate an installed on-screen keyboard may be entered in the command box. For example: onboard -e needs to be used to activate the onboard keyboard, if installed.

Session Status Messages

  • When enabled, status messages will be shown despite the locked state.


  • Enable to use Xfce4-screensaver to log out.
  • Enter any required command, and use the counter below the slider to set the time interval before logout.

User switching

  • Enable to allow Xfce4-screensaver to switch user.

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Known Issues

Allow embedding a keyboard into the window, /embedded-keyboard-enabled, may be non-functional. Onboard crashes when embedded.


See the file 'INSTALL'

./autogen.sh –prefix=/usr –sysconfdir=/etc

You may need to set your PAM auth type if it is not correctly detected.

–with-pam-auth-type=<auth-type> specify pam auth type (common or system)

(For testing, we are using: ./autogen.sh –disable-static –with-mit-ext –with-console-kit –enable-locking –enable-debug –sysconfdir=/etc )

make && sudo make install

Latest Release

  • xfce4-screensaver 4.18.3 released (2024/03/04 13:29)


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Source code repository

Reporting Bugs

In the bug report please include information about your system, if possible:

- What operating system and version - What version of xfce4-screensaver, i.e. the output of the xfce4-screensaver-command –version command apps:xfce4-screensaver If you want to debug your installation you may also be able to get meaningful debug output when starting xfce4-screensaver from the debug script: ./src/debug-screensaver.sh

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