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  1. #1
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    Locked Computer (WIN XP Pro)

    I have a screen saver activate after 5 minutes of non-use which requires a password to access the desktop (you must also press Ctrl+Alt+Del to get to the password window). I am working with a scheduling program (Robo Task) to open a program, and then send numerous key strokes via Robo Task to run the program. Robo Task runs flawlessly so long as the windows desktop as active; but when the screen saver is active, all of the keystrokes sent by Robo Task are ignored. Even if I configure Robo Task to send keys to the Computer Locked dialog box, these keys are also ignored.

    It seems there is no way to deactivate the screen saver and return to the desktop via Robo Task. Is the some other program that can run off a scheduler to deactivate the screen saver and enter a password to "unlock" the PC? Again, once the desktop is active Robo Task flawlessly sends all the key strokes to run my process. I would rather not leave my PC without a screen saver and password feature during off business hours for security reasons.

    The best of all alternatives would de-activate the screen saver via an automatic password entry and immediately re-active the screen saver when my tasks are completed via Robo Task. A goal that is probably not possible. THANKS.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Locked Computer (WIN XP Pro)

    I'm not sure if you have a screen saver executable running or the screen is simply locking (like the Windows key + L). If it works when you lock the screen without a screen saver, I recommend that. If it doesn't work when the screen is locked, maybe the program's publisher has a workaround. I'm sure a lot of people want to have scheduled tasks run when their screen is locked.

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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Locked Computer (WIN XP Pro)

    My understanding is that Cntrl-Alt-Delete can not be intercepted by any program which is why it can be used to bypass a hung application. (Perhaps it can only be read by the BIOS?) I also recall there being some security reason - i.e. it requires input from the keyboard rather than by a hacker. I suspect you may find that 'locking' the computer does just that.

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    Re: Locked Computer (WIN XP Pro)

    I am using the standard screen saver as provided under the screen saver tab in the display properties. I have the block checked for "on resume password protect". Alternatively, I could use a third party screen saver program if it could be de-activated via a scheduler and then re-activated by a scheduler. Do you know of any such software?

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    Re: Locked Computer (WIN XP Pro)

    Must not be entirely true as VNC can send CTL+ALT+DEL to a remote system.

    Joe
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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Locked Computer (WIN XP Pro)

    Try this: set Screen Saver to None, but lock the PC using Window+L or Ctrl+Alt+Del then Lock Computer. Does that work any better?

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    Re: Locked Computer (WIN XP Pro)

    Take a look here and see if any of these apps are the answer to your problem.

    I also came across this information...... Open or create a group policy at the proper level (domain or OU) navigate to user config - admin templates - control panel - display. Set the Activate screen saver - Screen saver exe (all computers must have the exe for this to work) - Password protect - and screen saver time out. here. Which seems to indicate that you could make the changes you are interested in using the Group Policy editor. Exactly how to do this, I'm not sure.

    a while later
    Take a look here for some information on Group Policy Editor settings and what they can change. Be very careful using GPE. It is a powerful tool and can render you machine inoperable if used incorrectly.
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/DocWatson_sig.gif>

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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Locked Computer (WIN XP Pro)

    Obviously thought up before VNC then!
    (Apparently the key sequence was chosen as the most unlikley combination a user could unintentionally enter...)

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    Re: Locked Computer (WIN XP Pro)

    If I uncheck the box "On resume, password protect" on the screen saver tab of the display properties, then robo task will run the tasks from the scheduler and send the appropriate key strokes to run the requested program. If I set the screen saver to none and lock the PC using the Window +L, then RoboTask will seem like it runs (i.e., sends the key strokes but the key strokes are ignored and the requested program does not run). I wonder if a simple screen saver program with a password would work but am somewhat afraid to download one given all of the spyware. I know when I used Win98, I had a simple screen saver program with a password. The password would keep the janitor out, etc but would allow the Robo Task to run.

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    Re: Locked Computer (WIN XP Pro)

    Thanks for the links. I'd rather not fool with the group policies since this topic is clearly beyond my limited skill set. It is definitely the "lock" feature on the XP screen saver (i.e., placing a check in the box on rentry, password protect, in the display settings) that causes the problem. The Robo Task program developer e-mailed me back and said he knows of no way to "unlock" the PC once it has been "locked" via the XP screen saver ( i.e., or manually by the user using hot keys) without actual keyboard entry. I did find that the WIndow power toys would enable me to "delay" the locking of the PC once the screen saver is activated. This will only work provided that I am in the office each day. I would then set the lock feature for a two hour delay after the screen saver is activated, RoboTask would run and then the screen saver would activate again and two hours later the lock feature is enabled. But if I don't come to work the next day to unlock my PC, then the task will not run that evening. Given vacation days and all day off-site meetings, this alternative will not work.

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    Re: Locked Computer (WIN XP Pro)

    Jim

    By sheer chance, I wrote a BATch file some time back to kill a screen saver, which you could schedule. As it stands, once started it checks every 20 minutes to see if the screensaver has cut in, and causes it to exit if it's found active. If you don't have any of the Resource Kits, it is trivial to use PSLIST and PSKILL from SysInternals instead of what's in there...

    With a more precise statement of what you actually want, I could modify it to suit!

    (See the Attachment, which is in TXT file format).

    John
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  12. #12
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    Re: Locked Computer (WIN XP Pro)

    Ideally, I need to de-activate the screen saver (with enable password on re-entry selected) via a scheduler, then run the tasks via a scheduler (Robo Task) and then re-activate the screen saver with enable password on re-entry. Would need this screen saver killer / reactivation on a Monday-Friday scheduler. Therefore, the kill the screen saver, run the tasks, re-activate the screen saver processes would run nightly regardless of whether I was in the office during the normal business hours. Do you know if once you "kill" the screen saver it can be re-activated, on a night-after-night process, via a scheduler, during the normal work week? THANKS.

  13. #13
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    Re: Locked Computer (WIN XP Pro)

    Jim

    I can just kill the screen-saver without requiring/supplying a password.

    A bit of quick Googling seems to indicate that a neat way of restarting the screensaver is to Lock the Workstation (is this familiar to anyone?!) with:
    %windir%system32rundll32 user32.dll,LockWorkStation
    Obvious, isn't it!

    How are you running RoboTask? If via a BATch file, you could precede RoboTask with the kill and follow it with the re-enable. So much better tying the three operations together.

    I am very limited for time tomorrow, so can you supply me with the RoboTask stuff which I can CALL from a BATch file (to save messing it about)?

    :: disable screen saver
    <code like in the previous attachment>

    :: Robotask
    CALL JIMSTUFF

    :: restart screensaver
    <RUNDLL32> as above

    A bit like that...

    John
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  14. #14
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    Re: Locked Computer (WIN XP Pro)

    John,
    RoboTask stays minimized on the windows tray and runs on its own scheduler. You can find out more info at www. robotask.com. Within RoboTask I could call the kill and re-activate batch files. I did go look at the sysinternals stuff, ie the PSkill, but how do I know what the name of the active screen saver is? THANKS.

  15. #15
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    Re: Locked Computer (WIN XP Pro)

    Jim

    If you look at the earlier attachment, you will see that TLIST is listing all the processes, including the one we're interested in, which will be called <something>.scr. We find the Process ID (PID) and use that as a parameter to the KILL command, to kill the screensaver -- whatever it is.

    Similarly, locking the workstation invokes the screensaver -- whatever it is! (You set it up yourself, probably ages ago).

    So I assume you want two BATch files which will be scheduled by RoboTask:
    SS-OFF.BAT which will kill the current screensaver (if running), and give back the desktop
    SS-ON.BAT which will lock the workstation and thus start the screensaver again.

    Having a quick look at the results of PSLIST indicates that I don't seem to get the .scr extension, so we will need to use TLIST. Do you have any of the NT4 or Windows 2000 Resource Kit utilities?

    I will try writing something at work before I go out at 09:00 tomorrow.

    John
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