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Display a countdown before screensaver kicks in and PC is locked

We have a Group Policy which activates a screensaver afetr 10 minutes and at the same time locks the PC, what i would like to implement is some sort of countdown, maybe 30 seconds, which will warn the user that the screensaver is going to activate and lock their PC. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks
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richardwakefield
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richardwakefield
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2 Solutions
 
oBdACommented:
Only if you program your own screensaver with this functionality.
What you can do is set the "grace period" on your machines to 30 seconds. This will let you return to the screen within 30 seconds after the screen saver starts, without having to enter the password.
Screen saver grace period bypasses password protection
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=221784
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richardwakefieldAuthor Commented:
That is an ideal solution, however the only way i can think of doing it is to make the first 30 seconds of the screensaver a countdown (We create our own screensavers which are just a bunch of image files looping) , but then this would be displayed every time the screensaver looped.. the only solution i can think of is making the screensaver 20 hours long, then it is unlikely that the user would see the countdown message the next time it looped (if that makes any sense at all) :-)

Any sugestions?
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KromptonCommented:
I would agree with oBdA.
Changing the grace period allows the screen saver to start but delay locking it.
Unless in making you own savers you've included code to lock the workstation?

What GPO settings do you have for the screen saver?

Krompton
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oBdACommented:
Come to think of it, programming your own screen saver won't really help you, unless you build in the functionality to lock the desktop and take out the regular lock. It's not the screen saver that decides whether or when to lock, but the OS, so you can only use the grace period.
What you could do when using your own screen saver is read the grace period from the registry, and display a counter from this time downward (note that until and including W2k, default is 5 seconds, whereas XP and W2k3 have no default grace period). Once you've reached the end of the loop in your screen saver, just check if the countdown has already been shown, and continue with the show if so.
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richardwakefieldAuthor Commented:
The GPO settings are

user config/admin templates/control panel/display

Password protect the screensaver = enabled
screensaver timeout = 600 seconds

Unfortunately resding the registry and displaying a countdown is way above my skills, allthough this is the ideal situation i suppose.
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oBdACommented:
It's not really a necessity; the grace period alone would do the job just fine, as someone who's missing the screensaver kicking in is likely to miss the countdown display as well ...
Just to rule out any misunderstanding here: it is NOT the screen saver that locks the desktop, it's the OS. If you set the grace period, ANY screen saver can be deactivated during this specified time, without having to reenter the password.
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KromptonCommented:
Just to verify what you want to accomplish...

As I understand it you want you users to be able to exit the screen saver for about 30 sec before entering of their password is required. Is this accurate?

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KromptonCommented:
oBdA,

Including a line similar to "rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation" in a program will ignore the GracePeriod setting in the registry. As long as there is no code like this in the scr you are absolutely correct. That's why I mentioned it when he said they made their own saver.
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richardwakefieldAuthor Commented:
Krompton

Yes that is what i want to achieve, but i need to display a countdown of some description to give the user a chance to wiggle the mouse before it locks. I know i can do this by using the grace period , but i would then have to make the first 30 seconds of the screensaver into a countdown, (30..29..28......3..2..1 etc). I would then have the problem that this is displayed every time the screensaver loops.

When i say we make our own screensaver, we just use a program that compiles about 20 jpg files into a screensaver which change every 5 seconds or so, therefore i would make the first f6 jpgs display something like 30,25,20,15,10,5.

If anyone can suggest how i prevent the countdown reapperaing after the first loop of the screensaver, or another way i guess would be to forget the grace period, and have some sort of countdown that displays on the screen, then when the screensaver kicks in it locks immediately.
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KromptonCommented:
richardwakefield,

I'll have to admit I don't really understand the need for the countdown display. If the user knows that they have several seconds when the screen saver first kicks in to hit the mouse or keyboard I'd think that was enough. But that's just my opinion.

To get what you want (assuming you are talking about NT based clients) I would probably create a scheduled task to run when idle and stop if the computer ceases to be idle. This task would run a small program or script file that displays a timed message box then starts the screen saver if the message box closes on its own. If this approach sounds like it would work for you I’ll help if you like.

Otherwise what you want appears to me to be more than just a small project. I am fairly sure it could be done, but I think it would require a fair amount of programming. Or maybe I just don't see a simpler way to approach this beyond the scheduled task I mentioned.

Perhaps posting this question in one of the other forums might get you a better answer. I am sorry I can’t give you a better answer right now but I will keep it in mind and if I think of anything else I will post it.

Good luck,
Krompton
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richardwakefieldAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your advice, I have managed to use an exe which is called instead of the screensaver that displays a countdown fro 30 seconds and then callls the screensaver.

I have split the points 50/50
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