I recently needed to find a solution that would automatically log out inactive users from a computer lab. I was hoping to find something that would display a warning and allow users to cancel the process if they were still sitting at the machine.
Windows used to have a solution for this. Older versions included a screensaver called winExit.scr but it has since been removed by Microsoft and hasn’t been officially replaced with anything newer.
Lucky for me, Geoff Kendal over at Squiggle dot org has developed AutoLogoff to fill the gap. AutoLogoff.scr is a lightweight screensaver that does exactly what I need: Once activated, it darkens the screen and displays an official looking warning prompt saying the Windows session will be automatically logged off after 60 seconds (which can be changed via Registry, see below). Computer users have the ability to click cancel or press escape to continue working on the computer, or they can wait for the timeout or click log off to be fully logged out.
AutoLogoff can be downloaded from Squiggle dot org here: http://www.squiggle.org/2010/05/autologoffscreensaver/
It is officially supported on Windows 7 which is what my lab is running. I have not yet tested it on Windows 8 or above although my gut thinks it should work without problems. And my gut is always correct, right?… Comment below if you test it out.
The tool is very simple to use. Just add the AutoLogoff.scr file to: C:\Windows\System32
This will allow it to be seen in the screen saver settings dropdown. Then use the regular screensaver options to make AutoLogoff activate after X minutes of inactivity (no keyboard or mouse movements).
You can also change how long the delay is on the prompt.
It’s set to 60 seconds by default. To do this, create a registry key at: HKLM\Software\Squiggle.org\AutoLogOffScreenSaver
Then create a DWORD value called WarningTime with the desired amount of seconds for the delay.
In the case of my computer lab…
…I script AutoLogoff.scr to copy onto my machines during an SCCM OSD task sequence. I use Group Policy to set screen saver settings to use AutoLogoff and start after 14 minutes. I use the default 60 second delay resulting in a total of 15 minutes of inactivity before a user is kicked. Voila.