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Those crazy pipes running around on your screen is a standard Windows screen saver... but freezing indicates a problem.

Leo, I have my screen set at 20 minute standby after which the screen usually goes blank - black. Sometimes, I return to find that the screen is covered or being covered by a pipework system in a random fashion. If the non-geometric picture has finished, I find that sometimes I cannot return to a live screen no matter what keys or series of keys are operated and I have to do a reset. I do not know how this feature originated as I did not download it, but it is just possible that a local technician here in Bali may have added it, thinking he was doing me a favor. I'm using XP Home edition. I always try to find something different for you to get your teeth into.

In this excerpt from Answercast #21, I look at a case where a standard screensaver is both taking the owner by surprise and freezing the system.

Pipes screensaver

Well, thank you for that! My teeth are always in need of sharpening. In this particular case, it's actually pretty straightforward.

  • The pipes that you're seeing are actually one of the standard screensavers that comes with Windows and Windows XP.

Why it's hanging on you, I honestly don't know. That shouldn't obviously be happening.

Check screen saver settings

My recommendation is that you go in and take a look at what your screensavers is set to be.

It's possible that the black screen you're seeing might be a timeout on the monitor or the power setting in Windows that says turn off the monitor after this number of minutes, whereas the pipes are the screensaver setting, which might kick in perhaps in a shorter amount of time.

Right-click on your desktop and one of the options should be for Screensaver or Screen properties. Therein, on one of the tabs, you should be able to get to the screensaver section.

My guess is you'll probably find that the screensaver that's been selected is indeed pipes and you can change that to be whatever you like or you can leave it alone.

Test the settings

My temptation would be right now to change it to something else, just in case it is in fact the pipes screensaver that is causing your machine to hang. It's unlikely, but it's so easy to rule that out, so that would be the first thing I'd start with.

Article C5388 - May 25, 2012 « »

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.

Not what you needed?

Glenn P.,
May 29, 2012 10:53 AM

Oh, yipes! It's Pipes!     :)

I haven't seen the Pipes screensaver in AGES!!!   :)   Nice!

By the way (BTW), were you aware that if you set all parameters in Pipes to their most extreme, the joints turn into teapots, LOL?!?     :)

Regarding your "freeze-up" problem -- I'd check your "power management" settings as well. Not all computers recognize them, and if Windows sends the wrong "power-reduction" command to a computer that can't cope with it... instant freeze! Hasn't happened to me personally, but I've "heard stories" from people to whom it has, so it's worth looking into.

To investigate your power settings, go into the Start Menu, click "Settings", click "Control Panel", click "Performance and Maintenance", and then click on "Power Options".

Hope this helps!     :)

May 29, 2012 7:52 PM

I would agree with Glenn P.

My Windows 98 machine could not return from sleep without freezing, and it was that way straight out of the box.

May 30, 2012 12:53 AM

I have seen issues with programs that refuse to let PC's go to sleep, or hibernate. Usually doesn't cause lockups though. Also, some anti-virus programs can configure to scan with 'screen savers' (usually by tagging onto a standard one) which is why you might not get the screen saver you are expecting.

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