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A screen going black after a time is either a power setting or a screensaver. It's an easy setting to change.

I am running Widows XP and installed a home security system, I am supposed to keep the PC running all the time, but it goes black after some time. How do I keep this from happening?

In this excerpt from Answercast #33, I look at a computer that needs to stay on all the time to run a home security system.

Screen goes to screensaver

If it's just going "black" and if you can wiggle the mouse or hit a keystroke and the computer comes back on, the computer has not shut off.

All that's happened is your screen saver has kicked in and turned off the display on the monitor, but that's all.

  • The computer is still running,

  • And your home security system (whatever it requires) is going to be working just fine.

Sleep mode

If, on the other hand, your computer has gone to sleep, then you will have to do something like hit a Power button (or some kind of a Sleep button to push) to get it to come back.

Change power settings

What you need to do is go into Control Panel and in Power Options, there should be various and assorted options for controlling the PC's sleep habits.

  • If you've got it plugged into the wall, there's really no need for it to go to sleep.

  • You can safely turn off Sleep or Standby.

I believe it's called Standby in Windows XP.

  • Same thing for Hibernate; you can turn that off as well.

Article C5558 - July 7, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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1 Comment
Doug Brace
July 7, 2012 4:34 PM

Change the Power Optionsnsetting so that the monitor doesn't turn off either. This is a setting that is separate from the screensaver settings.

You'll also want to invest in a UPS so it doesn't power off during a power outage.

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