Unlocking a session on Windows 7. RRS feed

  • Question

  • I can't believe I'm having to ask such a basic question, but for the life of me, I cannot find any means of locally forcefully logging a user off a locked Windows 7 domain-joined machine.

    Obviously, under Windows XP and Server 2003, you simply hit Ctrl+Alt+Del, put in your own credentials and that was that. But with Windows 7, there's no capacity to specify alternate credentials - keeping in mind that we have the entry points for Fast User Switching disabled via group policy, since FUS is undesirable in a student facility such as a library.

    Can anyone enlighten me as to where I might find the option for enabling this previously available-by-default functionality? In the meanwhile, I'll pore over the available group policy settings once again to see if I've missed it.

    Friday, February 19, 2010 6:40 AM

All replies

  • I don't have a Domain-based system to check on right now, but there are a couple of settings that as I recall fix this...

    1.  Somewhere in the group policy editor is a setting Do not display last username.  A net search should turn it up.
    2.  There is also a Require users to press Ctrl-Alt-Delete setting. 
    3.  I remember there's also an Always use classic logon setting, but wasn't there something about it not applying to a domain-based system...  Not sure.

    Start by setting these appropriately and see if the problem is solved.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010 1:55 PM
  • Hi, Noel.

    Thanks for the reply, but the points are a little off-topic. What I am having a problem with is this:

    1. A student locks the Windows 7 workstation and disappears,
    2. We hit Ctrl+Alt+Del locally, but there is no option to log that student off.

    This is the problem I'm trying to resolve, but I cannot find an option to do so. As I mentioned in the original post, FUS must remain off. Also, I'm aware I can log the student off remotely with tools such as shutdown, but thisn't isn't acceptable, as I'm not after the solution for my own benefit, but for that of the Library and Desktop staff who occasionally have this requirement.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010 5:53 PM
  • Hi Lain


    Did you ever solve this?  I have the same issue and finding it silly that I can’t figure it out.





    Friday, July 16, 2010 1:31 AM
  • Sorry for the belated reply, James, but no, I never resolved this - and it's a very real problem with Windows 7 in our environment at the moment.

    Our current pain poins involve lecturers not logging off after finishing their class, meaning the new lecturer does not have the capacity to log on (since there's no option to log the current user off from the locked screen), sessional rooms can't be utilised because previous staff or students haven't been considerate enough to log off, etc, etc.

    Although I'm really happy with the majority of Windows 7 features, the decision to remove this core enterprise functionality isn't one of them. We've been mulling over the option of bringing forced logon hours into the environment, but we're fairly sure we won't get executive sign-off on something like that, which means we don't have any other bright ideas for the time being.


    Sunday, August 15, 2010 10:30 AM
  • Thanks Lian

    I'm sure we are both just missing something, but it shouldn't be this hard!!

    I love Windows 7 also, but this one little thing is driving me nuts.

    Thanks for getting back to me.



    Friday, August 20, 2010 5:36 AM
  • I think I've found a solution, though I'm not sure its great for a student lab as Lian discusses above.

    I've set the following group policy setting to DISABLED:

    Computer Configuration - Administrative Templates - System - Logon - Hide entry points for Fast User Switching

    This does mean users can use fast user switching, but I'm not sure that is a real problem in our environment.  What I've found is that once this setting is in place, when a screen is locked you can log on as someone else (e.g. my own account) and then elevate Task Manager and log the other user off from there.  This isn't as quick and easy as Windows XP, but in some ways it is nicer.  I can log on, make a change or check the machine, log off, and the other user's session isn't impacted.  If I want to log them off then it’s a few more steps than XP but totally achievable. 

    NOTE:  I did find two reboots were required to get the policy to apply fully, after the first reboot, the Switch User option in the Start Menu was available but not when the machine was locked.  After the second reboot the option appeared in both places.  Not sure why.


    • Proposed as answer by Noel Carboni Thursday, August 26, 2010 9:14 PM
    Wednesday, August 25, 2010 2:08 AM