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Delay CTRL+ALT+DEL Screen Until Startup Script Finishes

Posted on 2013-11-20
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Last Modified: 2013-11-26
My environment consists of Server 2012 DCs and Windows 7 Pro clients.  I have a simple startup script that runs a silent installation that I've deployed via Group Policy.  The script works great.  The only thing I would like to change is the behavior of the Windows logon screen.  On startup, after about 5 minutes at the "Please Wait" screen, the user is presented with the CTRL+ALT+DEL screen.  My issue with this is that the installer takes about 20 minutes to run.  So, there is a chance that the users can successfully log into Windows before the installer has a chance to finish, launch the application that is being upgraded by the script, and corrupt the installation.

Is there any way to delay the users being able to log into Windows until the script and installer finishes?  I've tried starting the script with the "Start /w" command and switch - no luck.  It behaves exactly the same.  I've also experimented with the GP setting for "Maximum Wait Time for Group Policy Scripts".  I changed the threshold to 30 minutes and it didn't make any difference.  I would much rather have my users call the help desk and complain that their computer is stuck on the "Please Wait" screen than to have them prematurely launch the application before it finishes installing.
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Question by:marrj
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Expert Comment

by:1md
ID: 39664106
Hello Marrj,

Interesting issue here
You can use Group policy to auto lock the system after fix interval, see this post on technet

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/5c2518d4-f531-471a-a649-0f5dd5495679/group-policy-to-auto-lock-the-system-after-fix-interval?forum=winserverGP

You have two options:
The first is to configure a screen saver with the required timeout and a password requirement. This can be done under User Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Control Panel\Personalization. The required settings are: 'Enable screen saver', 'Screen saver timeout', 'Force specific screen saver' (this is important because if the system has no screensaver configured this won't work) and finally 'Password protect the screensaver'. The setting names and paths here are based on using the GP management console on Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008/R2 since best practice is to edit GPOs using the most current OS in your environment. If using an older version of the console, the same settings are available in a different location (I think its under the display control panel but I don't have an XP or 2003 system to verify).
The second option is to use a group policy preferences power plan (or Power Scheme and options if using Windows XP) as Alan indicated. The plan should be configured to cause the computer to sleep after 15 minutes (just turning off the display wouldn't lock the computer) and set to require a password upon waking. This option is a little more involved since it not only configures the computer to enter sleep mode (which can cause delays and problems when waking) but also support for group policy preferences (available with Windows XP SP3, Vista SP1 and Windows 7).
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Expert Comment

by:Sandeshdubey
ID: 39665033
You can try applying this policy and check how does it work.

Maximum wait time for Group Policy scripts
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms811643.aspx

Run logon scripts synchronously
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms811586.aspx
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Assisted Solution

by:McKnife
McKnife earned 500 total points
ID: 39667241
One possible solutions would be to wrap that setup into an MSI using exetomsi, a freeware. That way you have a deployable MSI made out of your setup.exe - MSIs will not let the user logon until finished.

@Sandeshdubey
The description of the policies shows no connection to the problem... or does it?
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Accepted Solution

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marrj earned 0 total points
ID: 39667281
I think I managed to find my own solution.  If I deploy the script as a shutdown script, rather than a startup script, it completely finishes before the machine restarts.  I can now trigger a mass-restart of all computers, forcing the application to install on shutdown, then reboot when finished and allow user logon.  I will award McKnife some points.
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Author Closing Comment

by:marrj
ID: 39677075
My own solution was the best because it required the least amount of development work.
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