Launch a privacy screen saver in GNOME

A major annoyance when I am traveling, or at the workplace is when people are snooping and looking over my shoulder at my laptop. Rather than slamming the lid of my laptop, I thought it would be nice to setup a keyboard shortcut that would launch my screen saver and hide my work. Previously I posted about how to create keyboard shortcuts to launch custom commands. Today we will add a keyboard shortcut that will launch the GNOME screen saver.

The first step is to open a terminal and type gconf-editor

In gconf-editor go to apps >> metacity >> global_keybindings. In run_command_1 type: Alt+s

Next, select apps >> metacity >> keybind_commands. In command_1 type: gnome-screensaver-command –activate

Now whenever you press ALT + S your screen saver will launch and hide your work from snooping eyes.


  1. On my machine -activate was an invalid command, its –activate or just -a, silly switches.

  2. Third time’s the charm, this forum software kept thinking the lesser than and greater then were being used as metatags.

    Yes I used gnome-screensaver-command -a
    in addition the keybinding format is “less than symbol Alt greater than symbol s” with no spaces.

  3. can you explain that in layman’s term?

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