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I'm looking for some software or a solution to track users login/logout time and present that information in a manager friendly format.

Users are running Windows XP though ideally I'd be able to place something into the login scripts as it may be beneficial to track non Windows users. Some form of admin access for managers would be a great help. OSS preferred. For the Windows users it would be the plan to then auto log them out on idle.

Specifically what I'm not looking for is the stock Windows ability to control logon hours. I'm not concerned with when my users login as much as how long they are logged in for.

Any opinions on other alternatives also welcomed. I expect similar systems are around for university labs and schools etc but honestly open to any ideas.

Thanks

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1 Answer 1

You're going to have to do this by monitoring the client computers. "Logon" and "Logoff", with respect to Windows Server computers and remote connections, isn't like TELNET or SSH sessions. When a user logs-on interactively to the client computer that doesn't open some persistent connection (like a TELNET or SSH session) to a server computer that can be monitored.

In the "roll your own" vein: It would pretty trivial to develop an event log sink to monitor interactive logon and logoff events on each client computer and report them back to a central server. Using something like Non-Sucking Service Manager to run it as a service, and packaging it as an MSI to "push" out to clients would make it a pretty unobtrusive install. (For added fun, you could store the data locally in the event the client is "disconnected" from the network and later spool that buffered data to the "central logon tracking server".)

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Does Windows have anything line the Unix "ac" program built in (linux.die.net/man/1/ac)? -- That sounds like exactly what Antitribu is looking for, except it's not a Windows tool :-/ –  voretaq7 Feb 9 '10 at 16:07
    
no ac tool that I'm aware of, the system service may be the best idea but all in all everything to do with logon times seems just so unreliable in windows. –  Antitribu Feb 11 '10 at 11:45
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Monitoring interactive logon times in the event logs of client computers should be fairly reliable. You'll have to watch out for crashes and reboots, so there would need to be some special-case code to watch out for unexpected restarts (and the functionality to log unexpected shutdowns would need to be turned on... I think it's only on in Windows Server versions, by default). –  Evan Anderson Feb 11 '10 at 15:06
    
Looks like this may need to be the path. Honestly a little surprised there aren't a few apps around to do this. I would have thought it to be relatively common. I suspect I'm just missing the magic word to search for though. –  Antitribu Feb 12 '10 at 14:36

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