Tell if Win2000 or XP is inactive

André Nobre andre at
Fri Jul 16 20:02:40 CEST 2004

Larry Bates wrote:

>The problem is that they don't always think all the way
>through the implications of what they are asking you to
>do.  The workstation could have lots of "unsaved" work.
>You can't just kill all the running applications, this
>can have disastrous effects.  You can't say yes to any
>"Do you want to save your changes?" dialogs either.
>It is even unclear what "idle" actually means.  Does it
>mean no keyboard/mouse activity in N minutes?  What if
>someone is running a long-running application, do you
>kill the machine?  With mail and other background apps
>using CPU cycles in the background there's no way to tell
>a long running accounting report from Outlook checking
>for mail.  Example: I have about 4-5 jobs set up in my
>Windows scheduler that run unattended at night (Norton
>Antivirus updates, pricelist downloads, etc).  My
>machine has normally been inactive for hours prior to
>them running.  If something logged me off the network
>many of these jobs wouldn't run properly because they
>need access to network resources.  The screensaver solution
>locks my machine to achieve security AND doesn't mess
>with these background jobs.
>Any solutions should take into account these possibilities.
>Suggestion: I have seen a proximity badge that works with
>Windows NT and above.  If you walk away from the computer
>too far, it triggers something forcing you to supply
>a password for access.  I don't remember the company, but
>you should be able to Google for it.  It would be expensive
>I'm sure.
>Larry Bates
>Syscon, Inc.
>"Bart Nessux" <bart_nessux at> wrote in message
>news:cd6641$4v4$1 at
>>I suggested this as well... the auditors say no. They want the users
>>logged out. I may push for this again though.
>>Larry Bates wrote:
>>>Why not just use screensaver that begins after your
>>>"unused/inactive" time period and check the On resume,
>>>password protect" box (XP).  They have to log back in to
>>>do anything.  Doesn't really log them "out", but if they
>>>have applications loaded, logging them out is going to
>>>be difficult (e.g. what do you do with any dialogs that
>>>may appear asking about unsaved work) and may not be what
>>>you really want.  This should "protect" the unattended
>>>machine (which is what the auditors want) and your users.
>>>Larry Bates
>>>Syscon, Inc.
>>>"Bart Nessux" <bart_nessux at> wrote in message
>>>news:cd63c7$1bq$1 at
>>>>Auditors want us to log out a user if the computer they are logged onto
>>>>has been unused/inactive for a set period of time. It's trivial to
>>>>logout the user, but we're having trouble telling if the system is
>>>>indeed inactive. If we could learn that information, then we'd need to
>>>>measure how long it has been like this so we can all the logout
>>>>function. How might this determination and measurement be approached?
>>>>We're using Python 2.3.x w/o Mr. Hammonds extra Windows extensions. We
>>>>do not want to install the win32 extensions.
This could work?

André Nobre

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