Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Screensaver won't start in Windows XP

For several months -- perhaps as much as year -- I grew increasingly frustrated as my screensaver on my Windows XP desktop abso-friggin-lutely refused to start in any semblance of a consistent manner. At first, it seemed to have something to do with Outlook 2003. I'd turn off Outlook, and it seemed to kick in correctly when I left it idle. As it turned out, that perceived behavior was a red herring. Given that I have an LCD monitor, I was growing concerned that burn-in was inevitable. Unfortunately I simply didn't have the time to look into it. That and the fact that I primarily use my laptop put this annoyance near the bottom of my long to-do list.

Finally last weekend, I had enough. I had googled this issue half-heartedly when it first started happening, but this time google yielded immediate results. Users in several forums having similar problems had wireless USB mice like my Logitech laser mouse. The suggested solution? Shut down the computer, unplug the mouse, attach a USB to PS/2 connector, and plug it into the PS/2 mouse port. After one false start where I wasn't paying attention and plugged my Logitech webcam into the PS/2 port instead of my mouse ("Why isn't my webcam working? Durrrrrrr..."), I plugged her in, booted up, and lo and behold, it worked. My screen saver has been consistently working for the last several days with no issues whatsoever. I suspect that using the PS/2 port instead of USB will mean I'll lose nifty features like low battery warning messages from the Logitech monitoring software, but I can live with that if it prolongs the life of my monitor.