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I have a Dell Optiplex 960 desktop running Windows 7 64-bit at work. I typically leave it locked rather than logged off when I go home, so that I'm able to remote in from home and continue working if I wish. This is where the problem comes in.

If I don't remote in there is no problem and I can simply unlock the next morning. It's when I do remote in that I have a problem. Remote sessions work as expected but when I get to work the next morning the machine appears to have gone into a sleep or hibernate state, from which no amount of mouse moving or keyboard pounding will wake it. The machine is not hanging as remote sessions to it are still possible; it seems that physical access from it's own mouse and keyboard are lost. The only way to gain access is to press and hold the power switch for several seconds until the machine shuts down. Of course this means Windows does not gracefully shut down and after powering up it takes several minutes for the machine to boot and reach the login prompt; presumably while it checks the disk.

Has anyone else seen something like this?

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I have seen very similar behaviour with my work machine running Vista 32bit. Upon returning after a remote session the primary screen is off as if it is receiving no signal which makes it appear that nothing is happening at all. The secondary screen is on though and some input being taken, as evidenced by the mouse cursor being present and movable, but no keyboard input seems to be taken (I've tried logging in "blind" to no effect, and using the keyboard's sleep key).

I have found that sleeping the machine, either using RDC from another local machine or psshutdown from another local machine, returns the machine to a more normal state when it wakes back up. If one of the front-panel buttons on your machine is set to make it sleep this may work for you too, though with my machine it does not seem to.

I have taken to sleeping the machine as I finish an RDC session instead of logging off which means the machine is ready to wake when I get back into the office (or I can wake it up again remotely using WoL from a machines local to it that I have SSH access to remotely).

I have no particular idea why this happens, but sleeping the machine seems to reliably work around the problem.

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Thanks David, I'll give sleeping a try. –  Steve Crane May 28 '10 at 11:17

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