Troubleshooting iScreensaver 4 on non-administrator accounts

Under Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, many organizations use restricted (aka Managed) accounts for most employees. These accounts have settings which in some cases may block proper operation of iScreensaver 4. Although we have tested iScreensaver 4 on both types of accounts, many companies use custom permission settings that we can’t test for.

Here is a handy flowchart for debugging. Please use this information if you have an iScreensaver 4 screensaver that works fine under Windows when run in an account with administrator privileges, but does not run on a more restricted account.

Note : the terms “non-admin”, “restricted account”, and “managed account” all mean the same thing: any account on a PC that doesn’t have full administrator permissions.

Step 0: remove all previous iScreensaver installations from the C:\WINDOWS folder and/or from the %appData% folder (see below). Remove any old files, e.g. MyScreensaver.SCR files and the corresponding “MyScreensaver Libs” folder)

Step 1: try installing the screensaver on an Admin account. Test to make sure it works fine.

1B: If the non-admin account is on the same machine, then uninstall it (this is to prevent confusion if the saver is installed in both an Admin and non-Admin account). Log out.

Step 2 : Copy the screensaver Installer to the restricted account. Launch the EXE file.
2A: if the installer EXE doesn’t launch at all then you probably have permissions / antivirus issues – verify that the user has permissions to run this app.

2B: if the installer launches – From the Install menu choose “Show Log Window”

2C: before installing, test the screensaver by clicking the “Preview” button. The screensaver content should play back full screen (be sure to not wiggle your mouse as this will exit the preview). If this works, then you know that the basic software configuration is OK. If this doesn’t work then take a look at the log window – if there are any RED error messages, please read them and see if you can figure out what is wrong (e.g. you may see a message about a missing plugin, etc.)

2D: Test the “Install for All Users” option from the Install menu – since this is a non-admin account this will often fail since write permission to C:\WINDOWS will be blocked.

2E: Quit, re-open the installer EXE then Test the “Install for Me” option from the Install menu – since this is a non-admin account this should work. If not, you probably have permissions issues or anti-virus issues. If successful, the file will be installed in the %appData% folder
For Win7, Vista typically C:\users\username\AppData\Roaming\iScreensaver\
For XP, typically C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\iScreensaver\

Note: if you are using Active Directory and plan to roll out the screensaver automatically, please see here:

  1. For the screensaver to work, the following permissions must be allowed:
  • The screensaver needs access to the IE rendering engine. JavaScript must be enabled.

  • The screensaver needs read / write access to the %tmp% folder during operation.

  • If Flash or QuickTime content is included, access to these plugins must be allowed.

  • Anti-virus software must not block the operation of the SCR file, or access to QuickTime or Flash Plugins or IE.