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Lock Workstations when idle with option of Logging back on

Posted on 2005-03-09
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I have set group policy to automatically lock idle workstations after 10 minutes of inactivity.  This works great. My question now is, is there any way to include an option where once a machine has been locked that any user with a valid name and password can unlock it instead of just the user who was logged on when the machine locked itself (or an administrator).  I realize that the logged on user would "lose any unsaved information," but that is just the consequence of leaving a workstation idle.  The reason we need this is that we have some areas where more than one user accesses the same computer, and we dont want to force them to reboot the machine every time it is locked out and the culprit user is not around.  Any help appreciated.

Jason
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Question by:MHCC
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6 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:David Lee
ID: 13502147
Hi MHCC,

I don't know of any way to set it up so any user can unlock a locked workstation.  There is another alternative to rebooting though, and that's to use something like this: http://www.winability.com/active-exit/  This is a screensaver that'll log the user out after x number of minutes after the screensaver goes into operation.

Cheers!
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Nirmal Sharma earned 1500 total points
ID: 13504943
>>>This works great. My question now is, is there any way to include an option where once a machine has been locked that any user with a valid name and password can unlock it instead of just the user who was logged on when the machine locked itself (or an administrator).

Only administrators can log on again and all the unsaved data will be lost for the currently logged on user.

>>>I realize that the logged on user would "lose any unsaved information," but that is just the consequence of leaving a workstation idle.  The reason we need this is that we have some areas where more than one user accesses the same computer, and we dont want to force them to reboot the machine every time it is locked out and the culprit user is not around.  Any help appreciated.

First of all Windows 2000/2003 are not multitasking operating system like Windows XP. Microsoft has designed it in this way taking everything into mind that only Administrator can log on again and not users because if any other users can unlock it again then where is the security...this will be called security hole and no security at all. So MS has designated only one person that is Administrator who can unlock the system again but this will also force logging off and then login screen will be presented to log on again.

So what you can do...make one person member of Local Administrator group and give him rights to unlock the pc.

Let me know.

Thanks
SystmProg
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Author Comment

by:MHCC
ID: 13506877
OK, so there is no way to allow any user to log on to a locked workstation.  My next question is, is there a way, rather than locking the workstation, to automatically log a user off the idle machine after 15 minutes or so? I realize that BlueDevilFan gave a link to a piece of software that can handle this operation, but it seems like a function that might be built into windows.  Automatic logoffs of inactive workstations seems like it would be a useful tool that Microsoft should have at least included an option for. Thanks guys

Jason
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Expert Comment

by:David Lee
ID: 13513557
MHCC,
> is there a way, rather than locking the workstation, to automatically
> log a user off the idle machine after 15 minutes or so
Not that I know of.  The closest solution I know of is locking the workstation which is what you're already doing.  I'd say the fact that there are products like the one I posted the link to is further evidence.  If the capability were already there, then there'd be little need for programs like that.  The only forced log out capability I know of is when Logon Hours are set and exceeded.
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Expert Comment

by:Nirmal Sharma
ID: 13514402
>>>OK, so there is no way to allow any user to log on to a locked workstation.  My next question is, is there a way, rather than locking the workstation, to automatically log a user off the idle machine after 15 minutes or so? I realize that BlueDevilFan gave a link to a piece of software that can handle this operation, but it seems like a function that might be built into windows.  Automatic logoffs of inactive workstations seems like it would be a useful tool that Microsoft should have at least included an option for

That's what i was thinking....i googled a lot to find a utility that can be used to log off automatically after a period of time when system is locked.

will search it again...and will let you know.

Thanks
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Nirmal Sharma
ID: 13514440
>>>OK, so there is no way to allow any user to log on to a locked workstation.  My next question is, is there a way, rather than locking the workstation, to automatically log a user off the idle machine after 15 minutes or so? I realize that BlueDevilFan gave a link to a piece of software that can handle this operation, but it seems like a function that might be built into windows.  Automatic logoffs of inactive workstations seems like it would be a useful tool that Microsoft should have at least included an option for. Thanks guys

That's what i was searching on google. I could not find any utility that can do the job...but logging off using Logon Hours is a bad idea since you do not know when users lock the computer therefore Login Hours require exact timing to be entered.

I will keep searching an utility that can do the job and will let you know.

Thanks
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