Opps.! You can’t change the Screensaver due to a permissions related error on Windows 10? I have your workaround here

Today, I am installing the new Microsoft Flight Simulator πŸ™‚ Super excited, well until I realized that its approx.. 92GB in size. Nevertheless, I played this game since the MS-DOS version, and I enjoyed playing the 1998, 2002, 2004, and X releases. FSX was awesome, I remember joining a virtual airline at VATME, and signing up for flying simulated flights on real routes onboard A320 and A330. I was serious about collecting those virtual flight hours to rise in rank, so I picked long flights all the time, and I would sometimes set the route with IFR and nap next to my machine to crunch the hours, and get some sleep. My wife was always in disbelief rejecting the idea that I can fly an Airbus 320 with a HOTAS controller. One of my friends was a real captain, and he flew a commercial airliner, sometimes I would be discussing my virtual flights with him, and he was kind enough to entertain my questions, while everyone just looking at me funny with the wish of yelling: “You are not a real pilot”, oh yes the good old days πŸ˜€

Back to the mammoth installation, check the screenshot below. Its these moments that makes you wish for 5G to come sooner:

92GB to install the new Microsoft Flight Simulator

So what does this have to do with the Screensaver error? πŸ˜‰ Well, while waiting for this installation to finish, I started thinking about the old days with FSX, and remembered that I had an awesome Screensaver back then for FS2004. So naturally, I started thinking about Screensavers, and was curios to see what Screensaver does Windows 10 have.

To my bad luck, as soon as I right-clicked the Desktop and picked Personalize:

Desktop Context Right-Click Menu (Yes, fancy name)

then choose “Screen saver settings” under “Lock screen”

Control Panel

aaaaand “bam bam”, a weird looking error message: “Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access this item.”.

Scary Screensaver Error Message

That was a first for me. I had Local Administrator permissions on this machine, so why would this pop-up? So naturally I started thinking that I have 2 options, either repair my Windows installation, or simply find a way launch the Control Panel dialog programmatically with elevated permissions. Obviously I picked the second option. I am too lazy to think about repairing this for good. To be honest, I even setup a shortcut to the solution I am about to share with you on my OneDrive to persist installations & refreshes. Yes, that lazy πŸ˜€

After a bit of digging, I found this URL which explains how I can programmatically launch the Control Panel Screensaver dialog. All I had to do was open the Run dialog (WIN + R) and type the below.

Note that the Windows Dev Center article assumes you have a Screensaver file that you want to install. You can just put any name there, I used “dummy.scr“:

rundll32.exe desk.cpl, InstallScreenSaver dummy.scr
Windows 10 Run Dialog

Drum roll πŸ˜‰ and the dialog is up and running.

Windows 10 Screensaver Dialog

Bummer though I need to run this command every time I need to change the Screensaver. Its not like I change it often, so it does not really suck. I believe its been years since I had a Screensaver turned on. I created a shortcut with this command line and stored on my OneDrive for future use. Maybe you can do the same, or just decide to Repair your Windows 10 installation. Not sure if the Screensaver is worth all that hustle. Up to you πŸ˜‰

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