I've been asked to look into a solution for our remote laptop users who are trying to give presentations in Powerpoint and Excel when at customer sites. We are running a Server 2008 /Win 7 environment. We have a group policy that locks everyone's PC after 5 minutes of inactivity and requires a password to log back in. I've been asked if I can change this setting for users on laptops when they log in but are not locally on the domain. They would like to be able to adjust it so that the screen does not lock when they are giving presentations in PP, word, or Excel. As far as I know powerpoint diables the screensaver while in full screen mode, but I'm not sure how to achieve this with the other programs. I've tried looking at presentation mode on the laptops, but because of group policy the setting to "disable screen saver" is greyed out. Any ideas? Thanks.
I've been able to demonstrate to myself that the
As @HopelessN00b mentions you may want to change the Group Policy, as it applies to the "remote" laptop computers. You'll need to invoke Loopback Policy Processing because screensaver settings are per-user, not per-computer. Loopback Policy Processing allows you to apply user settings to a computer irrespective of the user who as logged-on.
The feature is, unfortunately, confusing to a lot of people. It has a couple of different "modes" (Merge versus Replace) that make it even more confusing. For your application, you could create an link a GPO to a hyopthetical "Remote Laptop Comptuers" OU that enables Loopback Policy Processing in "Merge" mode in its "Computer Configuration" section and, in its "User Configuration" section, sets the screensaver properties to whatever you'd like. When next those machines are rebooted (because the switch from non-Loopback to Loopback requires a reboot-- background policy refresh won't enable it) you'll see the machines begin to pick up the screensaver settings from this new GPO.
Short of writing some kind of hackish client-side service program to reach into the user's registry and toggle the Group Policy screen saver restriction value (since the user can't do it themselves because of registry permissions) I think you're stuck in a situation where you're going to have to choose the lesser of the evils and either disable screen saver restrictions for users on the laptop computers, use some third-party "mouse jiggler" or keyboard simulation software, or just tell the users to live with it.
There any number of third-party programs that can do what you're looking for, but there's a certain "elegance" to doing things with only built-in OS components.
Here's a little VBScript program, suitable for execution by
This script sits in a polling loop, using
When the domain name doesn't resolve the "F15" key is "pressed", causing enough activity that Windows will not activate the screensaver.
This script was tested on Windows 8.1 x64 logged-on with a domain user who had a Group Policy Object applying to them that included the Administrative Template settings:
My test methodology was as follows:
On a Windows 8.1 x64 machine the script is doing exactly what I want.
The typical way of handling this is a separate set of policy for users or machines defined as "remote" workers. We, for example, have an OU named
If you can get your users to use the presentation settings tool suggested by Evan Anderson, that's great, but my experience is that the users who complain about this type of thing are also the ones who won't lift a finger to fix the problem, and expect IT to fix it for them, so you may end up having to fix it for them, with a different GPO.