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Auto Log Off Windows XP

By warren ·
How do you make a user log off automatically when there has been no activity for a certain period of time?

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Passwords and screen savers

by DPSkiman In reply to Auto Log Off Windows XP

Enable the screen saver, and set a password for it. Right click the desktop, choose properties, then screen saver. Enable it with the flavor of your choice, then click in the password box. Choose a time value in minutes for the screensaver to kick in, and you're done. By the way, this is common for Windows 2000 as well.

PC Doctor in Memphis

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by Lost_one In reply to Passwords and screen save ...

That just locks the desktop, it does not log them off the system, but I think it is what he is looking for.

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Log off completely

by warren In reply to Locks

I would like to log off the user completely. I know if this is done then any open programs must be killed.

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Proximity Devices

by tagmarkman In reply to Passwords and screen save ...

There are also some proximity devices that determine how close you are to the computer and will log you off when you step out of range automatically (no time delays) and you don't have to "lock" it with keystrokes. (I'm not recommending it just letting you know of some other options).

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Proximity Devices

by warren In reply to Proximity Devices

Do you have a web site I can check these out at?

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Some Links

by tagmarkman In reply to Proximity Devices

Here is a couple but there are more out there...

If you do go this route, make sure you still require a PIN or password to log back on. A old coworker of mine was trying one of them out and they noticed he would logon when he would visit the office on the floor above him.

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by warren In reply to Some Links

Thanks for the links. Interesting idea.


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Good Question!

by matt.werner In reply to Auto Log Off Windows XP

I've often wondered about this, but have never taken the time to research this low priority (for me) item. It annoys me that Microsoft hasn't addressed this in a simple and obvious manner. I hate when users leave for the day with their system logged on and applications running. You never know if it is safe to force a logoff (e.g. via shutdown cmd) so you can perform maintenance.

Also, I think MS should create the functionality to preserve the state (memory) of open applications and their associated data for a user's logon session when a forced logoff occurs, much like hibernation does for laptops. In such a scenario, the applications (and data file) would be restored in memory the next time the user logs back in.

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by antonseidler In reply to Auto Log Off Windows XP

You can try using <a href="">ScreenPass</a>

ScreenPass automatically Logout idle workstations after administrator defined idle period has exceeded.

Works under XP and Vista.

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winexit.scr gpedit.msc regedit.exe

by marcotjioe6 In reply to Auto Log Off Windows XP

I use winexit.scr, and do further tweaking with gpedit.msc and regedit.exe.

Winexit.scr is a screen-saver file that can be downloaded easily from the Microsoft website. It works like a screen saver in that you specify the delay time after inactivity before the screen saver is activated.

If you are a single user and do not care that other users are forced to log off, downloading the file and setting the screen saver will do the job.

However, most of the time this question is asked by an administrator who wants to make sure that many users log off after certain period of inactivity. If this is true, the gpedit.msc (group policy edit) will help to extend the screen saver to reach all users (not only the user who installs it). Also, winexit.scr comes with an associated permission problem, which will generate an error message ("Error encountered while creating registry key. Make sure you have Set Value and Create Subkey Permissions") if it is used by any user but the administrator. The regedit.exe will solve this problem.

Here is the step by step process:

A. Installing the Screen Saver
The screen saver file winexit.scr can be downloaded from:

1. Run the executable file.
* It will install a lot of files under C:\Program Files\Windows Resource Kits

2. Open the folder in C:\Program Files\Windows Resource Kits and find winexit.scr

3. Right click on winexit.scr and click install.
* The screen saver display property window will pop out. If it does not, right click on the desktop and go to Properties > Screen Saver and choose "Logoff Screen Saver" as the screen saver option

4. Set the settings (force logoff, time, message, etc)
* Force logoff means that files that are unsaved will not be saved before log off.

Now the log off screen saver is installed.

B. Extend screen saver to all user using group policy

Note: This is a summary of the information which can be found from the following website:
(If link does not work, try to google: screen saver all users)

1. Click start > run and type gpedit.msc.
2. In the pane on the left, expand Administrative Templates under User Configuration
3. Expand Control Panel
4. Click on the folder for Display

1. Double-click Hide Screen Saver tab and set it to Enabled. Click the Next Setting button*.
* This is only necessary if you do not want users to have any access to the Screen Saver tab in the display properties.

2. Set Screen Saver to Enabled. Click the Next Setting button.
* This setting will disable the screen saver drop down and settings in the display properties. Users will not be able to change or configure the screen saver but they can change the energy settings. This will only be valid if you set the Screen Saver executable name and Screen Saver timeout.

3. Set Screen Saver executable name to Enabled and provide the name of the screen saver file you wish to use. Click the Click the Next Setting button.
* If the screen saver file (*.scr) is in the %Systemroot%\System32 folder, you only have to provide the file name. If the file is elsewhere, you must provide the full path (i.e. C:\Program Files\Windows Resource Kits\Tools\winexit.scr).
* If you do not set this value, users will be able to change the screen saver via the drop menu on the Screen Saver tab in the display properties (if the screen saver tab isn?t hidden).
** What I did is to copy the winexit.scr to C:\Windows\Systems32, and just write winexit.scr on the text box

4. If you wish to password protect the computer (lock the system) when the screen saver starts, enable Password protect the screen saver. Click the Next Setting button.

5. Set Screen Saver timeout to Enabled and set the timeout (in seconds). By default, it is set to 900 seconds (15 minutes). Click Apply and then OK to close the setting property box.
* If this is not set, users will be able to set the timeout time (if the screen saver tab isn?t hidden).

These would set the screen saver for all users.

C. Eliminate error to allow any user to use the winexit.scr by changing the registry

Note: changing the registry is dangerous, and you should never delete anything from it or your computer will be rendered unusable. What we'll do here is simply changing permissions.

The information below is a summary referenced from the following websites:

Since there is not a single website that describes everything, we have a couple of websites up there.

1. Click start > run and type regedit.exe.

2. On the left pane, go to the following directory:
HKEY_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\IniFileMappings\Control.ini

3. On the Edit menu, click Permissions.
* Notice that the permission is for the folder "Control.ini"

4. Click on the group of users ("Users" or "Power Users") that you want to give the permission to and on the bottom box, click on the check box for "Allow" and "Full Control".

This should have solved the permission error associated with winexit.scr.

D. Users still don't see screen saver?
Perhaps the winexit.scr are prohibited from use by the users. Right click on the winexit.scr file, go to security, and under "Group or User Name", check to see if "User" or "Power User" is listed. If not, click on "Add" and on the last box, add the text "(Computer Name)\Users" (e.g. "AEC\Users")

Hopefully you have luck with this method.

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