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Windows lock screen alternative


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Does anyone know of any lock screen alternative, so that I can still have my dual PC (Win 7) monitors secure from prying eyes, but yet still run standard macro express functionality?

 

I've done a lot of research, and haven't found any great solutions (winlockr, kid key locker). Basically, I'd like to be able to black out both screens and lock keyboard/mouse, except for a certain combination of keys to unlock. Then I can have macro's running behind the screen.

 

Any thoughts or ideas? I have the latest macro express pro. I also heavily use Microsoft Access, but have no looked into calling macros with vbscript as I assume it's still subject to the same limitations if the screen is locked and you want to find certain windows.

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That's going to be hard to accomplish. If you lock a screen many of the GUI messages and control handles stop. And even if I wrote yo an app, easy to do, that would take full screen and force itself on top much of your macro wouldn't work. Many of the GUI bits would be inactive. If you used controls you might be able to do this.

 

First off you might consider having your programs run invisible. It can be done with many programs. For instance look at the tutorial for the calculator. If you change the window to be invisible you can still do math and get results using controls.

 

After that the only way I know of to do anything like that is to use Remote Desktop. I used to do this with client servers. I would log in, on or off site, to the server using Remote Desktop then start the macro. Then disconnect the session. Do not log out of the session. If you do this it will keep running as normal. And yo ucan connect the RD client to the console session as well.

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First off you might consider having your programs run invisible. It can be done with many programs. For instance look at the tutorial for the calculator. If you change the window to be invisible you can still do math and get results using controls.

 

Are you saying I can still run some programs even with the PC locked, if I make the programs run invisible (and use controls?).

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I'm trying to remember what my testing showed. I seem to remember disconnecting a RD session was not the same as the Windows lock screen. And it seems it was somewhat different as to the amount of things that didn't work in the GUI. At the far end you can have a macro that has no GUI that works just fine locked. But I can't remember exactly what al doesn't work in the Gui in a disconnected RD session or a lock screen. Near the end of my heavy macro writing period there were almost none that used the GUI at all. IE all ran in the 'background'. For instance I would use API calls or download web pages to HTML and process them as text. Eventually I learned a modern programming language and really don't use MEP for these kind of unattended batch things anymore.

 

What are you trying to do?

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I'm trying to remember what my testing showed. I seem to remember disconnecting a RD session was not the same as the Windows lock screen. And it seems it was somewhat different as to the amount of things that didn't work in the GUI. At the far end you can have a macro that has no GUI that works just fine locked. But I can't remember exactly what al doesn't work in the Gui in a disconnected RD session or a lock screen. Near the end of my heavy macro writing period there were almost none that used the GUI at all. IE all ran in the 'background'. For instance I would use API calls or download web pages to HTML and process them as text. Eventually I learned a modern programming language and really don't use MEP for these kind of unattended batch things anymore.

 

What are you trying to do?

 

Right now I'm just considering the possibilities of what I can and can't do, and I know that locking windows shuts down 'send keys' type functionality, regardless of whether I'm using the GUI. I work a lot with Microsoft Access --- and I'd like to be able to compact and repair the database or call sub routines, things like that. I starting looking into AutoIT, which looks promising --- but I'm stumbling through learning how to use it. For example, I haven't figured out yet how to connect to my main database on my local machine. My main database is opened on the local machine with username and password, and is linked to another local database that contains the usernames and passwords.

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... After that the only way I know of to do anything like that is to use Remote Desktop. I used to do this with client servers. I would log in, on or off site, to the server using Remote Desktop then start the macro. Then disconnect the session. Do not log out of the session. If you do this it will keep running as normal. And you can connect the RD client to the console session as well.

Yes, I believe you are right, the key to using Remote Desktop is to disconnect the session without logging out. I haven't done it for a few years now, either, but I set up scheduled macros on the server that would run every hour and do file copies and cleanups. Just had to put it in the Operations Department notes that, if they rebooted the server, they had to do the remote logon and then disconnect.

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If you're using Access or other MS applications you might look into Interop. I've used it a bit in Excel and it's pretty cool. Essentially an API where you can perform user actions. EG I create an object that is the application. I create spreadsheet objects and have Excel open them. Move around in sheets and cells and do things. Even 'save as', or export which I used a lot. I don't do much with Access anymore because if it's at all Db I'll have it on a SQL server. BTW, there are some really cool tools to migrate MS Access databases to MS SQL server. And SQL Server Express and the management studio are free.

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Have you considered using a Virtual Machine (VMWare, Virtual PC, HyperV, Virtual Box, etc.)? Macros and other tasks continue running as long as the virtual machine is running, even if the VM window is minimized. If the VM is running on a server it will continue to run even if your workstation is not connected to it.

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Have you considered using a Virtual Machine (VMWare, Virtual PC, HyperV, Virtual Box, etc.)? Macros and other tasks continue running as long as the virtual machine is running, even if the VM window is minimized. If the VM is running on a server it will continue to run even if your workstation is not connected to it.

 

I had not thought of that, and I'm not real familiar with VM but perhaps I should look into it.

 

Currently, all my work is done on my local desktop PC, rather than having something on a server. I do have MS Access forms with timers that kick off certain tasks, and all that stuff works fine with the machine locked. Is there a way for me to use a virtual machine that would help in this scenario, where I could lock the PC but expand my use of macro express by running a local VM session? I actually have access to a 2008 windows enterprise server, which I've never used for anything but perhaps I could start thinking about using it.

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Samrae is right. I completely forgot to suggest this. Windows has VM built in, it's called Hyper-V. I have a few but I haven't used them in ages. And I had some intense Macros at one time that scraped web pages that needed to be left alone. They are exactly what they sound like. Just imagine having a window open with another computer running in it. But it's running virtually on your machine. You set them up like a regular machine. Choose the amount of memory, virtual hard drive size (VHDs are saved in a file), and you even have to install an operating system and all your applications. That's the main potential downside is having another license for Windows. They used to come with an "XP Mode" which was for program compatibility where they gave you a free license. But there may be some other alternatives for licensing. I haven't looked into it for some time. But you will have to have an available license for Access as well. BTW the machine by default will appear on the network with it's own IP address like any other machine so make sure your IT department is OK with that. However if you don't need network then you can disable the virtual network adapter.

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Is there a way for me to use a virtual machine that would help in this scenario, where I could lock the PC but expand my use of macro express by running a local VM session?

On a VMWare virtual machine running Macro Express Pro I created a macro that writes to a log file every second. When the VMWare session was minimized, the macro kept running. When I logged off of my workstation the macro kept running in the VM. It looks to me like it will do exactly what you trying to do.

 

Note, however, that since the VM is like a separate computer, you would have to install MS Access on it to have it continue to process things. Macros running on the VM do not automate programs or tasks on your host computer.

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