Access Denied: Automatically Log Off Inactive Users

I want to automatically log off inactive Windows 2000 users and close their open files. How can I do so in Win2K Server?

The Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Resource Kit WinExit tool, a screen saver, lets you automatically log off inactive users. After a period of user inactivity, instead of displaying fancy graphics, which most screen savers do, WinExit displays a user-defined message and a brief countdown. When the countdown reaches zero, the screen saver logs the user off.

To activate WinExit, right-click the desktop, choose Properties, click the Screen Saver tab, then choose Logoff Screen Saver from the Screen Saver drop-down list, as Figure 5 shows. To configure WinExit, click Settings to open the dialog box that Figure 6 shows. You can specify a logoff message and countdown time. To let WinExit terminate applications without writing out unsaved data, select the Force application termination check box. Otherwise, WinExit won't close applications with unsaved data, which defeats the whole purpose of the screen saver because the logoff won't occur if no user is present to close the applications.

You can use group policy to activate WinExit for all users. To edit a Group Policy Object (GPO), maneuver to \user configuration\administrative templates\control panel display, then enable the policies that Figure 7 shows. In Screen saver executable name, specify winexit.scr. The only drawback to activating WinExit with group policy is that group policy doesn't provide a way to configure the screen saver's settings (i.e., the settings in Figure 6). These settings are in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Screen Saver.LOGOFF registry subkey. To specify these values with group policy, you need to create a custom administrative template, a process I explain in Access Denied, "Change password expiration notification," May 2001.

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