I often use the Windows Remote Desktop function to connect and remotely manage another Windows server. As you might know, there are many other better remote control software such as the free Virtual Network Computing (VNC) or even the popular Teamviewer, but I try to minimize the installations of third party software on the Server machines. If you don’t know what Remote Desktop is, it’s a protocol developed by Microsoft which allows you to view the display and control the mouse and keyboard of another computer at different location, as if you were sitting in front of the computer.
I never have any problems with Remote Desktop and it works as I expect it to, except for only one annoyance which is if I leave it idle for a few minutes, it auto logs off and I have to re-enter the password to login again. This is very annoying whenever I am reading the log files or the console messages that are displayed on screen. Fortunately there is quite a simple solution for how to disable remote desktop auto logoff on idle.
It took a couple of days trying to find the solution because I actually misunderstood the problem in the first place. I thought the system was auto logging out when idle but it turns out that it was the screen that was locked. No wonder setting “Never” for idle session limit in RDP Properties didn’t work.
By default Windows Server activates the screen saver if the computer has been idle for 10 minutes and the setting “On resume, display logon screen” will also be checked. So if Windows detects no activity for 10 minutes, the screen saver will be activated and when we get back to the Remote Desktop Connection, the screen saver is removed and then prompts to login. To solve this problem, you can either disable the screen saver or remove the logon screen on resume.
To disable the auto lock screen when idle, the easiest solution which requires only a click is to download this registry fix file, run it on the computer that is automatically getting locked and restart the PC for the changes to take effect. Alternatively, here are the steps if you prefer to do it manually.
1. Right click Desktop and select Personalize
2. Click Screen Saver
3. Uncheck “On Resume, display logon screen” and click OK.
Now you can remain idle on the remote desktop connection as long as you want and you won’t be locked out. And obviously this also works on an ordinary PC if you keep receiving the login screen whenever you come out from a screensaver.
If the “On Resume, display logon screen” checkbox is disabled or grayed out like what is shown at the screenshot below, it means that there is a group policy being implemented probably by your company’s network administrator to prevent the local logged in user from changing this setting.
Fortunately bypassing the policy is as easy as download and running another registry fix. We’ve provided two different registry fixes where you can either delete the policy so that it will be possible for you to manually enable/disable the settings, or you disable the option while maintaining the checkbox grayed out.