Login Window

Configuring a screen saver to display at the login window

Learn how to configure a screen saver to display at the login window using OS X v10.6 and later.

Specifying a screen saver for the login window

You can use any one of the methods below to enable and configure this feature.

Using OS X Server Profile Manager

  1. In Profile Manager, select the Device or Device Group you wish to manage.
  2. Click the Settings tab.
  3. Click the Edit button to edit the profile.
  4. Select the Login Window payload under the OS X section.
  5. If you have not configured settings for this payload, click the Configure button.
  6. Click the Options tab.
  7. Enable the checkbox next to the “Start screen saver after: X minutes” option.
  8. Enable the checkbox next to the “Use screen saver module at path:” and enter a path to a screen saver module.
  9. Click OK to dismiss the edit view.
  10. Click Save to save the changes.

Using OS X Server Workgroup Manager 

  1. In Workgroup Manager, select the Computer or Computer Group record you wish to manage.
  2. Click Preferences in the top toolbar.
  3. Click the Overview tab.
  4. Click Login.
  5. Click the Options tab.
  6. Choose to manage the settings “Always”.
  7. Enable the checkbox next to the “Start screen saver after: X minutes” option.
  8. Click the ellipsis button (…) to select a screen saver.
  9. Click Apply Now.

Configure locally using the Terminal

  1. Open Terminal (located in /Applications/Utilities).
  2. The following two Terminal commands set the idle time to 5 minutes (300 seconds), and specify the Arabesque screen saver module. You can change the time period by adjusting the number, which is 300 seconds below. You can change “Arabesque.qtz” to a different screen saver if desired.

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.screensaver loginWindowIdleTime 300

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.screensaver loginWindowModulePath “/System/Library/Screen Savers/Arabesque.qtz

Screen savers that can be displayed at the login window

For security reasons, there are restrictions on which screen savers can be used from the Login window. Screen savers that work at the Login window include:

  • Apple screen saver modules; third-party or custom screen savers are not supported at the Login window
  • Among Quartz Composer screen savers, only Arabesque, Shell, and Spectrum can be used
  • .slideSaver bundles are allowed

These types of screen savers are not allowed at the Login window:

  • Third-party or custom screen savers
  • RSS feeds
  • iPhoto/Aperture albums
  • random and shuffle screen savers
  • iTunes Artwork screen saver

If an unsupported screen saver module is selected, the Flurry screen saver module displays instead.

 

How to customize the Computer Name screen saver message for the login window

With OS X v10.6 or later, you can use the Computer Name screen saver at the login window to display a custom message.

Use the following steps to manage and enable the Computer Name screen saver to display at the login window.

Tip: If you use browse to /System/Library/Screen Savers/ you may see other screen savers such as “FloatingMessage.saver”. This screen saver is not designed to be used at the login window. Use “Computer Name.saver” instead.

Using Profile Manager

  1. In Profile Manager, select the Device or Device Group you wish to manage.
  2. Click the Settings tab.
  3. Click the Edit button to edit the profile.
  4. Select the login window payload from the OS X section.
  5. If you have not configured settings for this payload, click the Configure button.
  6. Click the Options tab.
  7. Enable the checkbox next to the “Start screen saver after: X minutes” option.
  8. Enable the checkbox next to the “Use screen saver module at path:” and enter the following path:

    /System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/Computer Name.saver

  9. Click OK to dismiss the edit view.
  10. Click Save to save the changes.

To customize the message displayed by the Computer Name screen saver, execute the following Terminal command on the system:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.ScreenSaver.Basic MESSAGE "Math Lab"

Replace “Math Lab” with your custom message.

Using Workgroup Manager

  1. In Workgroup Manager, select the Computer or Computer Group you wish to manage.
  2. Click Preferences in the top toolbar.
  3. Click the Overview tab.
  4. Click the Login button.
  5. Click the Options tab.
  6. Choose to manage the settings “Always”.
  7. Enable the checkbox next to the “Start screen saver after: X minutes”.
  8. Enter the following path to use the Computer Name screen saver module:

    /System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/Computer Name.saver

  9. Click Apply Now to save the changes.

To customize the message displayed by the Computer Name screen saver, execute the following Terminal command on the system:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.ScreenSaver.Basic MESSAGE "Math Lab"

Replace “Math Lab” with your custom message.

Configuring locally

You can execute the following three commands on OS X v10.6 or later to set the idle time to 5 minutes, specify the Computer Name screen saver module, and customize the message as “Math Lab”, respectively (replace Math Lab as needed):

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.screensaver loginWindowIdleTime 300

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.screensaver loginWindowModulePath “/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/Computer Name.saver”

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.ScreenSaver.Basic MESSAGE “Math Lab


Notes

  • loginWindowIdleTime defines the time in seconds.
  • loginWindowModulePath defines the file system path to a screen saver module.
  • MESSAGE defines the custom message.