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How to set the screen saver timeout when connected to AD and set it to a different timeout when not connected

Posted on 2005-03-09
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
We are running a windows 2000 server, all of our computers are windows xp sp2, everone has their own computer and we don't use roaming profiles.

My quesiton is, the users that have laptops are part of our training department. We currently have the screen saver timeout and password protect at 15 mintues using GPO. This is sufficient for our security when they are connected to the network and the users have access to network resources. The laptop users are complaining that when they go on the road to do mini conventions that the screen saver comes on to fast will doing their presentations (they might site on one powerpoint slide talking longer than 15 minutes). I need a solution that sets their timeout to 15 when in the building (connected to AD) and sets their timeout to 1 hour when not in the building (not connected to AD.).

Thank you,
Aaron
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Question by:chemdry
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18 Comments
 
LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:mikeleebrla
ID: 13496810
all you have to do is have them log on with a local account when they are away from the office.  this local account of course has nothing to do with the domain.  The users can set the screensaver timeout to whatever they would like when they are logged in with a local account.
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:trailblazzyr55
ID: 13497358
You could perhaps adjust your power settings, this would allow you to adjust how your computer responds based on if it was plugged in or running on battery power. Then maybe you'd want to remove the screen saver. This way instead of going to a screen saver the laptop would simply turn off the monitor and then the user would be prompted to re-login such as you have with your screensaver when they wanted. You can create different profiles under the power management based on if the computer is plugged in or not.

regards,
~trail
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:mikeleebrla
ID: 13497532
trail,,, the problem is that when the users are logged in with a domain account there is a GPO in place that FORCES all of them to have a 15 min screensaver, users can't change this setting b/c it is pushed to them via  a GPO.  Any power settings changes they make will have NO effect on the screensaver at all.  Why on earth would a presenter want the monitor to turn off in the middle of their presentation??? why did you even suggest that.  The whole point of the question is that they want the presentation to stay up for longer than 15 min. Your suggestion makes the problem worse by turning off the monitor all together.

The screensaver GPO is a USER setting, not a COMPUTER setting.

there is no "magical" way of letting the laptop 'know' that its not in the office and doing a presentation so the screensaver needs to be an hour and not 15 min.  If the laptop isn't connected to the network (and can't contact a domain controller) it will log in with "cached login credentials" IE the last username/password combination that was used when a domain controller was available.  I'm assuming that this is how your users are loging into their laptops when off-site.  In that case the GPO will be applied.  Having them log in with a local account (non-domain) will allow them to log in to the PC and not have the GPO in effect.  they will be free to set the screensaver timeout to whatever they would like.  
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:andymsmith18
ID: 13497770
can you not set up a script or somthing on the gpo that tells the laptops to change screen saver time if its not conected to the domain have it run at logoff i dont know a lot about gpo and domain settings so i dont know if this wood work ?
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:chemdry
ID: 13497885
I don't think them logging into their computer with a local account is going to be a solution mikeleebria. I'm trying to make this easy even for the dumbest, and believe me, the training department IS the dumbest :) Anyways, I don't want to complicate things with that solution since they have syncro offline files with them and I'm not sure how logging in as a local would effect that (that's one point: same desktop their used to, all of their custom settings, etc.). I was thinkning more a long the lines that if it can't be done in GPO (which I don't know), then maybe moving those users to another OU that doesn't have the screen saver timeout setting applied, but do it through a log on script that can detect whether they are connected or not. (I believe that log on scripts are cached????).

Aaron
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:mikeleebrla
ID: 13498033
well...you never mentioned synching of offline files in the question so how was i supposed to know about it??  FYI it will have no effect as synching is done when they are connected to the network, not when they aren't. Since they will be logging in as with a local account when they are not connected to the network, no synching will take place.  

You never mentioned that you wanted them to have the "same desktop their used to, all of their custom settings, etc.).  If you would have put that in your question i would have given a different solution.

again, there is no "magical" way for the laptop to know where it is.

from what i can see you have 2 options.

1.  have them log in with a local account (so the GPO isn't applied at all).  Make this local account use the same profile as their domain account so all of their desktop settings and so on will be the same.  You can use tweakui to do this.
2.  if you know that a user is about to take a laptop offsite, move that user to a different GPO with a longer screen saver timeout. wait 15 min. Have the user log into the laptop, run gpudate and make sure the longer GPO is being applied.
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:trailblazzyr55
ID: 13498554
mikeleebrla,

I think you took what I said in the wrong way, I wasn't suggesting that instead of the screensaver being turned off, you turn the power or screen off. If you read what I said I mentioned taking the screen saver off for the purpose of resolving the problem of the screensaver coming on during a presentation. Now obviously you wouldn't want the power going off during a presentation and nowhere did I say that's what they should do. What I meant by adjusting the power settings was to offer a way to change profiles based on if the laptop was plugged in or not. So when the presentation would be taking place, the power settings would be such that the SCREEN nor the SCREEN SAVER, would interupt the presentation. When there are no presentations taking place and the laptop is idle for a certain time, then the idle or power save would kick on.

This was the only purpose of my suggestion...
So....
Why not just adjust the GPO to allow a longer period before the screensaver goes on, and then require users to lock their profile whenever they step away from the machine????

Regards,
~trail
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:mikeleebrla
ID: 13498802
trail,, i read it exacly the way you wrote it "This way instead of going to a screen saver the laptop would simply turn off the monitor and then the user would be prompted to re-login such as you have with your screensaver when they wanted"  It clearly says the laptop would turn off the monitor.  Also, if there is a GPO in place the USER can't turn it off.  I still dont think you understand that. Changing power options has absolutely nothing to do with a screensaver lock at all. Chaning the power settings will not in any way change the GPO being applied  I dont even know why you are talking about chaning "profiles" as that has nothing to do with this situation either.  If they wanted to change profiles they would just log out and log back in with another account so they would assume the 2nd account's profile.   Have you ever implimented GPOs before in an enterprise?

your latest "solution" about adjusting the default  GPO to wait a longer time and "requiring" users to lock thier computer when they step away isn't a solution at all.  Currently they do "require" users to lock thier computer, it's done automatically via the GPO. It's done automaically b/c users won't do it manually even if you "require" it.  Have you ever implimented IT solutions in the real world before? The point is there is a business rule in place for this company that requires computers to lock after 15 min  Adjusting  business rules to meet IT needs is never a solution.  The whole point of an IT department is to serve the busness, not the other way around.
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Wallsy
ID: 13504645
Mikeleebria, have you read this?
http://www.experts-exchange.com/help.jsp#hs4

Perhaps you should ease up on the caffeine?  :)

We are experiencing the same issues at my company. Local accounts won't work because our users need their offline files, and you can't access them through another account.

Presently we're experimenting with OU's, but we haven't found an easy way around this.

Wallsy
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:mikeleebrla
ID: 13507748
wallsy,, did you have any contribution to this problem?  I didn't see any solution or suggestion to the resolution of  problem anywhere in your post at all. Of course your setup different from chemdry's as no two setups are the same, so i can't comment as to why yours doesn't work.  If you are having problems with it i suggest that you open a question to try to resolve whatever issues you are having.   If you read my posts the local account solution was one of two possible solutions.  Either will work if implimented properly. They both have their pros and cons however. Of course you will have to give the local account rights to whichever files you want them to access, that is obvious.

and yes i have read that link above,,,, but more importantly, have you??
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LVL 6

Accepted Solution

by:
Wallsy earned 1500 total points
ID: 13514666
mikeleebria,

I am having exactly the same problem as chemdry. I have told him that the only solution we have found is to change OU's (or use group filtering). I hope that this will be of use to him, that's why I posted. His setup sounds very similar to mine and we have dismissed the idea of using local accounts for the reason I listed above.

I have not called anyone names or dissed their responses. I have not been sarcastic or derogatory. I am not looking to steal points from anyone. I am merely adding my own experience, which I thought was the point of this exercise.

Wallsy
0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:chemdry
ID: 13518549
Well I think I'll close this. The one who had the idea that would be most use to me was Wallsy. I'm still going to search and see if there is any vbscripting that can take the place of GP on these computers.

And mikeleebria, to make on online forum an enjoyable place to exchange ideas and knowledge, you need to leave the attitude at the door and quite the pre teen banter on others comments.
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Wallsy
ID: 13518934
Cheers Chemdry!

I promise I'll let you know if we find a brilliant technical solution...

Wallsy
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Wallsy
ID: 13533138
Chemdry,

I have had an idea, it just needs a programmer to make it real.

The idea was to create a little VB app that moves the mouse every 9 minutes (we have a 10 minute timeout) 2 pixels to the left and 2 pixels to the right. The tricky bit is that it would only work if powerpnt.exe is running - I'd call it Presentation Mode or something like that.

I'm going to be chatting with one of our tame developers here to se if he can spare the 30 minutes or so work this would require...

What do you think?

Cheers,

Wallsy
0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:chemdry
ID: 13536442
Hey Wallsy,

That would be great if you could get it to work. I'm thinking windows waits for any activity  from user interface devices vs the mouse moving it's position. Ask your programmer and see what he can do.

Thanks,

Aaron
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:andymsmith18
ID: 13536553
hi i was just wondering if i watch a DVD on my computer using media player the screen saver don't cut in so what keeps it from ruining when a film is playing ?
0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:chemdry
ID: 13536659
That is a good question, because on mine if I watch a dvd  (use intervideo windvd) the screen save DOES kick in. What program are you using????
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:andymsmith18
ID: 13538736
i use intervideo windvd codac but i play the film in windows media player
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