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Force MsgBox popup when users are logged into XP

Posted on 2010-08-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Is there a way to force a msgbox to pop up when users are logged into a XP box? For example: This would be to tell users to evacuate a building during an emergency.
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Question by:maincabin
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Expert Comment

by:trolley01
ID: 33518593
Simplest way that I can think of is to enable the Messenger service (use a group policy to change all machines) and then use NET SEND from a command prompt to send a message to all machines.

The message would then pop up on their machine.
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sirbounty earned 250 total points
ID: 33520996
Most company policies require the messenger service to be disabled.
I believe any form of net send - either CLI or via Server Manager tools utilize the same service/protocol for this communication.

There are 3rd party tools to accomplish what you're after, but if you're looking for something native/free, then you might try using the shutdown tool.  In a real emergency, you aren't going to care if the system is actually shutting down or not.  However for those 'lighter' emergencies, you will still get the benefit of having priority over all other desktop processes as this message appears in the foreground.

There are multiple methods of delivering such a command to your clients, parsing through a text file is one way.
But essentially you would run the following against the targeted machines (from an "Admin" console):

shutdown -m \\Computer -s -t 900 -c "Building is on FIRE!!  Evacuate Immediately!"

This gives you a 15 minute timer (increment the -t "seconds" as desired).
If it's any less of an emergency, you could still use this feature, but obviously you're scaring the pants off your employees as it does indicate the machine is shutting down (top box).  Your comment(s) appear in the bottom box.  You can test it out yourself, you would just run
shutdown -m \\Computer -a
to abort the procedure...
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Author Closing Comment

by:maincabin
ID: 33529462
This works fine. We cannot use netsend. What is the string for multi computers to shut down?
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