Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm using Windows XP, there's a policy by admin that forces the computer to lock itself after some amount of idle time. Is there anyway around this?

share|improve this question
Actually, I would say it's a good way to prevent silly jokes from people if you forget to lock yourself, but I understand it can be annoying to some. – Gnoupi Sep 1 '09 at 13:30
Wondering if this question wouldn't find more answers on ServerFault, though. It's a user-side problem, but it's about something done by a sysadmin. – Gnoupi Sep 1 '09 at 13:31
I'm still having some trouble figuring out the difference, so if it does belong on ServerFault, let me know! – Timmy Sep 1 '09 at 14:00
up vote 1 down vote accepted

There are some applications that tend to prevent screen savers from engaging.

  1. The JkDefrag tool (has a debatable screen saver concept of its own)
  2. Video players like VLC, SMPlayer, Windows media player too do this

I am sure there will be a 'flag' to block the screen-idle-detect.

Check Block APM & Screen Saver at Utils page

If your preferred program to watch TV, movies or whatever can't block APM or/and screen saver just run this tiny utility. It will stay in the system tray and block them all while running, close it and you have your screen saver and APM back again!

Link to ZIP download -- Note: I have not tried this.

I hope you are ready to handle the potential misuse of your system when you are not around :-)

share|improve this answer
Block APM & Screen Saver does what it claims to do, thanks! – Timmy Sep 2 '09 at 13:27

You can write a simple application that tells the system that it is always in use. See the SetThreadExecutionState function documentation at:

share|improve this answer

There are ways to reset the security that will allow you to change the setting (as well as other settings) but the changes enforced by Group Policy will be re-applied as soon as you log on to the network.

Your ability to reset these options will also depend on your current level of accessibility on your local machine since it requires using functions or file access that is normally restricted.

The easiest way is to delete the registry.pol file found in the hidden location: C:\Windows\System32\GroupPolicy\User\ and: C:\Windows\system32\GroupPolicy\Machine\ This will effectively reset all your security back to defaults (which are typically full open access).

You can also use GPEdit (Start->Run->gpedit.msc)to reset specific security options (including full reset) but the same situation still applies where you likely won't have access to this tool and the changes you make will be reset back to company defaults the next time you log on the network.

I would recommend that if you need to change that setting, speaking with the security group on your requirements would be the best way to go. That setting is there to protect not only the company but also to protect you, and bypassing that security could be cause for firing or other recriminations.

share|improve this answer

There is a device that you plug into USB that moves the mouse every so often to prevent the computer from activating the screensaver.

Mouse Jiggler

Constant mouse activity prevents sleep mode and screen savers (and their password prompts)

Phantom Keystroker

The Keystroker emulates a keyboard and mouse and periodically makes random mouse movements

share|improve this answer
Any link or name for such device ? – Gnoupi Sep 1 '09 at 13:49
Links have been posted in my answer – Move More Comments Link To Top Sep 1 '09 at 13:57

Yeah, there is, but that safety is in place for a reason. Imagine if your doctor didn't employ that policy, and anyone happening by a vacant workstation can have a peek into your medical file.

It also protects you. What if someone at your workplace wanted to blame something on you?

Security protocols are there for a reason.

share|improve this answer
Yes, but he actually asks for an answer to his question, not for a morale. If you have a way to do this, propose it. If you just want to tell him that his question is not good, do it in comments. – Gnoupi Sep 1 '09 at 13:51
I thought this was about answers to questions that anyone can find. Many think security protocols are just a way for admins to make life miserable. I thought the acceptable answer would be not to try to circumvent security protocols. – CoffeeBean Sep 1 '09 at 14:05

Not if you can't mess with the registry, which I doubt you want to do on a network, if you even have access. However, see if you can find a program that will automatically move your mouse a tiny little bit even couple of minutes for you and put it on a flash drive. Then the computer would never be seen as idle.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.