TrayBlank screen saver utility

TrayBlank started off as a tool to help me test JPEG Saver. I needed to check the way it worked when properly run as a screen saver, and not just when manually started by double-clicking the program icon.

Starting a screen saver by double-clicking the .SCR file runs it as a standard program, with a normal priority. When Windows starts the screen saver, it is run with a lower priority and could also be on its own desktop, depending on the version of Windows and the security settings.

You can download the latest version of TrayBlank from the downloads page.

What TrayBlank does

When you run TrayBlank it will put a black icon in the system tray (otherwise known as the shell notification area) and sit there waiting for input. The icon has a progress bar at the bottom that decreases in size to show when TrayBlank thinks Windows is going to start the screen saver automatically.

The progress is based on the “idle time”, which is the length of time since the last keyboard or mouse input. Some programs (generally media players, games or full-screen applications) can prevent the screen saver from activating after this time has elapsed.

The TrayBlank menu

Double-clicking on the icon will start the screen saver.

Hovering over the icon will display a tooltip containing the name of the current screen saver, and the timeout value selected for when the screen saver should start.

Right-clicking the icon will display a popup menu, shown here, with these options:

“Start screensaver” — starts the screen saver in the same way as when the icon is double-clicked, by sending a SC_SCREENSAVE command message to the operating system.

“Turn off monitor” — sends a SC_MONITORPOWER command to the system that should send all monitors to sleep, just as though power management had turned them off.

“Configure screensaver…” — opens the configuration dialog for the current screen saver, if it has one. This works in the same way as the “Settings” button on the Screen Saver tab in the Display Properties control panel applet.

“Choose screensaver…” — this item opens the Control Panel's screen saver settings dialog, where you can choose the screen saver to use and change its timeout delay.

“Set timeout” — displays a submenu where you can choose from a number of timeout values. The current timeout value will be checked (unless you set it to a value that is not in the list using the Control Panel).

“Delayed start” — adds a short delay before starting the screen saver. This makes it easier to let go of the mouse after double-clicking the TrayBlank icon without any small movements making the screen saver exit straight away.


TrayBlank supports the use of global hotkeys to start the screen saver, to turn the monitor off and for configuring the screen saver. When enabled, the current hotkeys are shown next to the relevant menu items.

The Hotkeys submenu has an option to enable or disable all the hotkeys, and a “Setup...” item - this will pop up a small dialog where you can press the key combinations you want to use to trigger the “Start screensaver” and “Turn off monitor” functions. You can turn each hotkey on or off in here too.

Version history

Version 1.8
26/05/2017 — Disabled screensaver start and configure options and the progress bar when there is no screensaver selected. Notification message now shown when hotkey is used or icon is double clicked and the screensaver is not set.
Version 1.7
10/05/2016 — Added configure hotkey and checkboxes to enable each hotkey independently.
Version 1.6
14/03/2014 — Added screensaver start delay option. (Not released publicly)
Version 1.5.1
06/11/2013 — Fixed bug where application could crash if started with no screen saver set.
Version 1.5
03/11/2013 — Added screen saver name to tooltip. Added timeout setting menu.
Version 1.4
11/09/2013 — Added progress bar, timeout tooltip. Starting while already running will now wake up the existing process.
Version 1.3
13/07/2012 — Added screen saver existence check before attempting to start the screen saver. The icon will now reappear after Explorer is restarted.
Version 1.2.1
13/05/2010 — Fixed saving of options when system rebooted without explicitly exiting TrayBlank.
Version 1.2
16/02/2010 — Added global hotkey support.
Version 1.1
2009 — Unreleased version.
Version 1.0
14/08/2003 — Initial release.

Ah, but what about...

If you have any questions, suggestions for improvements, or discover any bugs, please contact me at the usual address: graham(at)