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When logged in to my user account, the screensaver selected in System Preferences is used. However, when on the login screen before logging in or using fast user switching a different screensaver is used. How do I set the screensaver used on the login screen?

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The screensaver for the login screen is the one set for the root (i.e. system) user account. To launch System Preferences as root, use sudo; a Terminal window run:

sudo /Applications/System\ Preferences.app/Contents/MacOS/System\ Preferences

Then you can change the screensaver settings as you normally would. Note that in order to use sudo, you needs to be an admin user.

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The receipe look right, but doesn't work on Lion. The /Library/Preferences/com.apple.screensaver.plist isn't modified. On the other hand, directly editing this file works fine, but I won't advise anyone to play with plist + vi on this file :[. –  daniel Azuelos Jan 3 '13 at 8:16

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