In our company we have shared PCs running on Windows 7, all within on office space. We are twice as much employees than workstations. It happens quite often that someone leaves his desktop locked, gets a coffee and on return, his computer is used by another user.

This is not only annoying for both users, but also since many people remained logged in on workstations at which they do not work anymore. This way, the PC doesn't update etc.

My idea now to fix this problem is the following: as soon as someone leaves their computer, he/she locks the desktop. Right now, the "press ctrl + alt + del to logon"-notification pops up. I would like to have either a screensaver or a any sort of comment displaying the time of most recent activity. That way, the user could select the workstation which was inactive for the longest time.

Alternatively, a script running always in the background on each workstation could report to file on a server the output of quser. (Although quser won't report when a user was active for the last time.)

Do you know any tool which could alleviate this issue with minimal effort, preferably using onboard tools only.

  • I'd be running away from this company as fast as possible. How can they afford to employ so many with half their workforce actually unable to do any work?! As for how to do what you want maybe the term to look for is display lock time on screensaver? I've googled but can't find anything appropriate. Nov 18, 2016 at 13:12
  • Well this is an institute at a university where I am doing my PhD. I just wanted to keep the question "simple". We do have enough work in the lab as well, so no worries, we do not sit around :D Nov 18, 2016 at 13:19
  • Couldn't find anything appropriate either :-/ Nov 18, 2016 at 13:20

1 Answer 1


For the Marquee screensaver, the text is stored in HKCU\Control Panel\Screen Saver.Marquee\Text. Other screensavers will store the string in different locations.

One solution would be to create a batch file which writes a message with the current date and time to that registry key:

@echo off
set MSG=Locked at %TIME% on %DATE%
reg add "HKCU\Control Panel\Screen Saver.Marquee" /f /v Text /t REG_SZ /d %MSG%

You then just need to create a scheduled event to run this comment whenever the "lock screen" trigger occurs.

  • great solution! Right now I am figuring out, where the Marquee-Screensaver has gone in Win7... Nov 21, 2016 at 8:33
  • You could always find a screensaver you like, set the message to something unique and then search the registry for that string. If you find it then you'll know the registry path for the script in my answer.
    – Richard
    Nov 21, 2016 at 18:35
  • Thank you! I found out that in a network-user environment, windows stores the screensaver config to an ini in the local appdata folder (VirtualDrive/Windows) and not to the registry - I'm trying to figure out how to change this and will post the solution afterwards Nov 22, 2016 at 7:49

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