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Outlook notifications don't play sounds when computer is locked

Posted on 2014-04-02
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Last Modified: 2016-10-17
We are using Outlook 2010 SP1 on Windows 7 Pro 32 bit.  We have a group policy which locks computers after 15 minutes of idle time.  When the computer is locked either by the policy or manually locking the workstation Outlook notifications no longer play any sounds for notifying appointments reminders, task reminders or new email deliveries.  

From some simply google searches it seems like the answer is that Outlook will not play notifications at the lock screen, however I can't believe this is the real right answer or that there isn't some sort of work around.  The whole smart phone industry is built around sound and light notifications whether or not the phone is locked so Windows OS should have the same configurations.  The work around of not locking your workstation is not a very secure answer.
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Question by:BKRsupport
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39971985
My Outlook appointments make a sound (when the appointment is supposed to) and the screen is locked.

I do manual send/receive so I don't observe send/receive.

I use PopTray to check for mail and it makes a sound when mail arrives.

So sounds work on Lock and Outlook sounds work on Lock. No special configuration.

Have you set the computer to suspend when locked?  Or is it suspending by itself?  There will not be any sounds if suspended.

Is this all computers?  or one computer?

My traveling computer is Windows 8 Outlook 2013 but a year ago it was Windows 7 Outlook 2010 and it worked the same way.
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by:BKRsupport
ID: 39972421
The power setting do not allow hibernate or sleep, the screen saver will turn off the display to the monitor.  However if I manually press CTRL+ALT+DEL and lock the computer the Outlook notification sounds will not play even with the lock screen displaying.

So far I have not found a workstation that Outlook sound notifications will work when in lock screen.  We are very standardized with Windows 7 Pro/Office 2010.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39972475
I will check some clients tomorrow with roughly your setup. I am sure sounds work when locked on those stations.
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by:BKRsupport
ID: 39972493
Just tested on a computer running Windows 7 downgraded to Office 2003 and the notifications worked when locked so this could be a Office 2010 issue.
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by:YoursJitu
ID: 39972517
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by:BKRsupport
ID: 39972592
Notification will not make any sounds if PC is locked (for Win 7)

I read this post and clearly it is wrong, I am able to get sound notifications when locked in Windows 7 using Office 2003.  The post also doesn't cite any official Microsoft communication so I have no idea why its marked as the answer on that site.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39973516
I set up a test with Windows 7 and Outlook 2010. I set up Outlook as follows:

1. Options, Mail:  Play a sound, Change the mouse, Show a tray icon
2. Send Receive:  Auto send / receive every x minutes.

No sound was heard

It does appear lock screen turns off Outlook Sound.
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by:BKRsupport
ID: 39974651
I installed the base release of Office 2010 and tested patching up to SP2 and each version will not play notification sounds at the lock screen.  However if I open my email through OWA and lock the computer notification sounds will play.  At some point between Office 2003 and Office 2010 they restricted this.  Anyone know if notification sounds work in Office 2007 or Office 2013 at the lock screen?
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39974771
I think the issue is with Outlook as other sounds (Pop Peeper email notification for example) do work when the screen is locked.

I think my Windows 8.1 Office 2013 machine works better in this regard.

However, if I can hear the machine (so that I am in the same office or within (say) 10 feet of the computer), then I feel less compelled to lock it. I set the screen saver to not lock but to turn off the screen and everything works that way.

If I lock the machine and leave,  I cannot hear it anyway.

So perhaps just live with it the way it is.
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by:BKRsupport
ID: 39975063
The issue is balancing corporate security policy which computers should be locked if idle and expected functionality of a product where users should expect notifications for appointments or new mail.  So users that work at their desk and the computer is idle and eventually locks should be notified of their appointments.  If this is some function of Office 2010 that changed then there should be a override to this to allow it to work as pervious versions.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39975077
I set the screen saver to be in effect which does not affect sounds and does not lock the screen. Then I lock as need be.

I looked around at length and I do not see a way to change the Outlook 2010 functionality.

So I suggest you use a workaround. That seems to function for me.
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BKRsupport earned 0 total points
ID: 39988658
The issue is resolved by adding a user registry key:

Path: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Common\General
Add a new DWord value:  
    Value Name: DoNotQueryUserNotificationState
    Value Data: 1

Once this registry value is set shutdown Outlook and reopen and you should now hear notifications and new emails while in a locked screen.

Tested and verified on Windows 7 SP1 using Office 2010 version 14.0.6029.1000, Outlook version is 14.0.7116.5000
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by:BKRsupport
ID: 39998538
Found and tested the solution which was not posted in comment section
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by:wtm
ID: 40788241
Tried the same hack for Office 2013 Pro and it did not work. Any ideas?

Thanks
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by:BKRsupport
ID: 40789322
I haven't yet used Office 2013.  I'm assuming the Key path is now
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\General that you would be using?
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Expert Comment

by:wtm
ID: 40791345
Correct and it does not work. I get a sound notification when using OWA and the laptop is locked but not in Outlook when the locked.
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by:BKRsupport
ID: 40791357
Is the Office version 32 or 64 bit?  What OS are you using?
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by:BKRsupport
ID: 40791374
Have you tried installing patch KB2965218 (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2965218)
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by:wtm
ID: 40791431
32 bit Office 2013, Windows 8.1 64 bit

I have not but will investigate.

Thanks
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by:wtm
ID: 40791527
Installed the patch KB2965218 for Office Pro 2013 32 bit. No change. Outlook still will not notify user of email delivery when laptop is locked.
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by:BKRsupport
ID: 40791995
I tested this with Windows 8.1 64bit and Office 2010 32bit and it worked fine so this must be a Office 2013 issue.  You may want to call Microsoft and report this as a bug and see if there is a different registry value that could be used.
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Expert Comment

by:wtm
ID: 40796173
Once again Bill get into our shorts. :-)

Thanks for your help. If I find a fix I will post.
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by:joshua jay chaves
ID: 41847542
thanks BKR Support, it worked!
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