How to remove custom screensaver images from your Kindle 1

Removing custom screensaver images from your Kindle 1 is as easy as deleting some files. Here are a few things to note before you do it:

  • You can’t delete the images via the Kindle itself. You’ll have to hook it up to your computer via the USB cable and navigate to the proper folder;
  • You can only delete custom images you added, as there’s currently no way to get to the built-in set of images.
  • Your last-used screensaver image may show up at least one more time after you do this, before the Kindle figures out it’s gone and replaces it.

For later Kindle models and the DX, visit this page on the MobileRead forums for the most up-to-date instructions.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for instructions on how to add custom images to your Kindle 1’s screensaver collection, you’re getting ahead of yourself. Click here instead. (For owners of later Kindle models, click that MobileRead link above.)

So here’s how to remove images. Pick your set of instructions depending on your expertise:

Truncated instructions for the tech savvy

  1. Connect your Kindle to your computer via the USB cable.
  2. Look for a folder named “system”. If it’s not there, make sure your folder preferences are set to show hidden files and folders (including hidden system folders).
  3. Within that folder is a folder named “screen_saver”. Delete the files inside that folder.
  4. Unmount the Kindle, disconnect it from the PC, and you’re done.


Longer instructions for beginners or the extremely cautious

  1. Connect your Kindle to your computer via the included USB cable.
  2. On your computer, navigate to your Kindle (it should appear as a USB-mounted drive on your desktop in OS X, and it should appear as a mounted drive in your “My Computer” window on Windows XP).
  3. Double-click on the Kindle drive listing (or icon) to open it.
  4. Now that you’re in the top level directory of Kindle, look for a folder named “system”.

It’s not there!!!
That means your Kindle is ruined! Ha ha, just kidding. What it really means is that either you’re looking in the wrong directory–make sure you’ve opened the Kindle’s built-in memory card and not a second one you’ve added after buying it–or (more likely) that your computer is automatically hiding certain folders from view. Here’s how to reveal them:

  1. Make sure you’re in the right directory. In the explorer window, you probably have these folders listed: “Audible”, “documents”, “music”, and “pictures”. Perfect.
  2. In the menu across the top of the window, click “Tools”, then click “Folder Options…”
  3. In the pop-up window, click the 2nd tab, “View”
  4. You’ll see a scrollable list called “Advanced settings:”, and you’ll see a folder icon labeled “Hidden files and folders”. There are two radio buttons there: “Do not show hidden files and folders” and “Show hidden files and folders.” Make sure “Show” is the one selected.
  5. Scroll down a couple of lines and look for this option: “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)”. If it’s checked, uncheck it!
  6. You’ll get a scary warning that altering these files could bork your computer. Take a deep breath (it’s okay, you’re not doing anything with your computer’s files) and click “Yes.” If you really don’t like the idea of this option being turned on, just reverse the process after you’re done to re-hide these files.
  7. Click the “Apply” button, then the “Okay” button.

Now that you can see the “system” folder, you can proceed.

  1. Double click the “system” folder to go into it.
  2. Double click the “screen_saver” folder.
  3. Select everything in that folder and delete it.
    Unfortunately, you won’t be able to tell by the file names which file is which image. If you want to keep some and delete others, you’ll have to either guess or start over with an empty folder.
  4. Click the “Back” button twice to go back to the main directory of your Kindle. If you wish, you can repeat the instructions above to re-hide hidden files and folders, but it’s not required.
  5. You’re done. Unmount or eject your Kindle from your computer, then disconnect it from the USB cable when it’s safe to do so.
  6. After a couple of screen refreshes, your old screensaver images will go away and the system images will start appearing again. If you then want to add new custom images, follow these instructions.

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