The core installation of Windows Server 2008 does not have the familiar display or personalization settings configuration that we have become comfortable with in prior versions of Windows and the full install versions of Windows Server 2008. You can configure the screen saver timeout in the Windows registry for Core systems.

On a per-user basis, the screen saver timeout is set in this registry location:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktopScreenSaveTimeOut

Depending on the current configuration, a group policy object may have pushed down a different configuration in Active Directory and Group Policy environments. To set a timeout value, simply run Regedit from the core prompt and browse to this location in the registry. From there, you can open up the ScreenSaveTimeOut value and tweak the default value of 600 (10 minutes).

In this hive of the registry is the ScreenSaverIsSecure value. If this value is set to 0, it means that a password is not required to exit the screen saver; if the value is set to 1, it means that a password is required to exit the screen saver. Figure A shows this area of the registry with a five minute screen saver timeout and a password being required to exit the screen saver.
Figure A

Click the image to enlarge.

These settings are not new to Windows Core Editions, but configuring these values in this fashion may be new for administrators. Another approach is the traditional Group Policy configuration, where domain membership and organizational unit placement will configure these settings centrally. This approach to the configuration is good for workgroup or standalone systems.

Note: Editing the registry can be risky, so be sure to have a verified backup before making any changes.

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