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Windows 10 Will Soon Lock Your PC When You Step Away From It (theverge.com) 172

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Microsoft is working on a new Windows 10 feature that will automatically lock and secure a PC when the operating system detects someone has moved away from the machine. The feature is labelled as Dynamic Lock in recent test builds of Windows 10, and Windows Central reports that Microsoft refers to this as "Windows Goodbye" internally. Microsoft currently uses special Windows Hello cameras to let Windows 10 users log into a PC with just their face. Big corporations teach employees to use the winkey+L combination to lock machines when they're idle, but this new feature will make it an automatic process. It's not clear exactly how Microsoft will detect inactivity, but it's possible the company could use Windows Hello-compatible machines or detect idle activity and lock the machine accordingly. Windows can already be configured to do this after a set time period, but it appears Microsoft is streamlining this feature into a simple setting for anyone to enable. Microsoft is planning to deliver Dynamic Lock as part of the Windows 10 Creators Update, expected to arrive in April.
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Windows 10 Will Soon Lock Your PC When You Step Away From It

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  • by The-Ixian ( 168184 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @06:03PM (#53650441)

    Meta+L before you step away.

    I have even worked at places where not locking your computer when you are away from it is a fireable offence (after a few warnings).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @06:10PM (#53650477)

      I've worked in a place where the same is a trollable offense; many messages will be sent in your name.

      • by zm ( 257549 )
        Over here it is normally "Hey, team.. Doughnuts for everyone at my desk tomorrow morning!"
      • We used to mess with people's desktop and configuration when that happened. Setting the sender name in their email app to "IP Freely", messing with keyboard shortcuts, etc.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          My favorite is taking a screen shot of their desktop with the current app open, making that their background, hiding the taskbar, and watch the fun as they think their computer is locked up.

          • Remember when back in the windows 3.1 days, when you could set the orientation of the mouse, and you'd have that little race car thingy that would help you do it? My favorite, besides the background screen grab one you mentioned, was when someone walked away, turn the mouse 180 degrees, and then set the orientation. When they came back, the look on their face when the mouse moved LEFT, then they moved it RIGHT, DOWN when they moved it UP was priceless!
            • Change default language and hide the language bar...
              Makes a great test of their Control Panel memorization.
            • by Minupla ( 62455 )

              My replacement is changing the screen rotation. As much fun, and more visual. Also it has a handy hotkey. Ctl-Alt-Left arrow. Quick and easy to do on a walk-by.

              Min

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          One fairly harmless but amusing classic was putting a desktop screenshot of a Mac on a PC and vice versa - fullscreen so it looked like it was the desktop. It used to be easy when everybody was back on 1024x768.
          • by sr180 ( 700526 )

            Even better, on iwndows, put a desktop screenshot as their background, hide the status bar and all of their icons, and watch them click everywhere they can while nothing works.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          We used to mess with people's desktop and configuration when that happened. Setting the sender name in their email app to "IP Freely", messing with keyboard shortcuts, etc.

          If the machines were still running Windows 3.1 for Workgroups, you'd be that guy who'd switch everyone's color scheme to Hot Dog Stand, just for laughs.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I've worked in a place where the same is a trollable offense; many messages will be sent in your name.

        * anonymous coward is away - gone, if anyone talks in the next 25 minutes as me it's bm being an asshole

      • Last job, we tended to run a youporn video fullscreen on unlocked machines.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @06:17PM (#53650525)

      I worked in a place where if you try to leave your work station the guards attack you until you black out.

      • by creimer ( 824291 )
        That's nothing. I work at a place if you plug a USB stick into your workstation, the USB port will immediately locked out and security guards will show up at your desk in five minutes to take away your USB stick.
        • by gnick ( 1211984 )

          Sounds like government. That's where I ran into those measures - DoE.

          • by creimer ( 824291 )

            Sounds like government. That's where I ran into those measures - DoE.

            I can neither confirm nor deny. ;)

        • Bet it didn't work on rubber duckies. Just USB storage.

          Rubber duckies look like keyboards to the computer.

        • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

          Why wouldn't they just disable the USB port to begin with?

          • by creimer ( 824291 )

            Why wouldn't they just disable the USB port to begin with?

            Need working USB ports for keyboard, mouse and security token (admin access).

    • I have even worked at places where not locking your computer when you are away from it is a fireable offence (after a few warnings).

      I have even worked at places where conducting company business on a private mail server is a fire-able offense (no warnings).

      Ah, but special people permit themselves, to do special things . . .

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        I have even worked at places where conducting company business on a private mail server is a fire-able offense (no warnings).

        I worked in a place where managers dictate policy and sometimes get to ignore those policies.
        I think it's called nearly every workplace everywhere.

        Get over the trivia you'll see some real scandals soon based on some of the appointments.

    • Meta+L before you step away.

      I have even worked at places where not locking your computer when you are away from it is a fireable offence (after a few warnings).

      I have seen the chief of security frig around with unsecured workstations. (Set background to screenshot of itself, hide icons and start bar, email President from offender's account, etc).

      What I run into it how many people's minds are blown when I show them Winkey+L instead of the Ctrl+Alt+Del,Enter. Same people have their mind blown at Ctrl+Shift+Esc instead of Ctrl+Alt+Del, "Start Task Manager"

      • by Minupla ( 62455 )

        I have seen the chief of security frig around with unsecured workstations.

        Hey - I resemble that remark, although my current goto is ctl-alt-left arrow. I assume no responsibility for neck injuries resulting from use of the aforementioned keyboard combo. :)

        Min

        • Hey - I resemble that remark, although my current goto is ctl-alt-left arrow. I assume no responsibility for neck injuries resulting from use of the aforementioned keyboard combo. :)

          I have no idea why Intel ever made this a fucking shortcut. I have never in my life seen anyone use this function intentionally. I have seen countless people accidentally hit it, with no idea how to get back.

          Most recently was a forklift driver.

          Forklift driver on radio : "Uhh maintenance, the screen on my forklift is showing sideways"
          Electrician: "Uhh. What?"
          Me to electrician: "Tell him to press Ctrl+alt+up arrow"
          Electrician: "Uhh. Try Ctrl+alt+up arrow"
          Forklift driver: "Wow. That fixed it"

      • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

        I blow people's minds with Alt+Tab on a regular basis, and I'm not talking about grandma, these are people fresh out of school who I guess never learned anything past launching an app on their iThing.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Also, they force their screen savers to autolock after ten minutes. Sometimes, we forget to do lock manually.

      • Yeah, mine does that. Which can be a bit of a PITA when I'm in one of those teleconferences and don't wiggle the mouse enough.

    • Microsoft refers to this as "Windows Goodbye" internally

      "Windows 10 Goodbye"? How about Windows 10 F**k Off, I'd certainly want that as a feature of Windows. Followed by something involving a Linux Mint ISO.

    • I don't even need to do that. I login via my Lincpass. When I leave my desk, I yank out the card, and the computer locks. Since it's a Windows box, it sometimes glitches and I do have to do Win + L, but it usually locks on card removal.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Very useful for malware. Now there is a built in function to trigger them mining trojans.

  • If you have a short-range radio like bluetooth on your PC and phone, it should be trivial to monitor for a loss of connectivity.

    The hard part is that it would drain both your phone's battery and, if it was a laptop running on battery, its battery.

    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      Blackberry has had some hardware/software that they sold, in effort to replace CACs/PIVs with their devices, which did a similar thing. Walk off with your phone, the screen locked. Come back, the machine will wake up and ask for your PIN. They were hawking this for about ten years now.

    • Unless you leave your phone at your desk for a minute (probably not a good idea either, but...).
    • BTLE is quite low power. Oh, I see what you're saying, it's MS code so the driver will drain the battery due to rubbish out-the-door binaries.

    • Generally when you're sitting at a desk, your laptop and phone are connected to mains power.

      Anyhow, desktop Linux has had a system tray widget for bluetooth screen locking for a number of years.

    • by quenda ( 644621 )

      Bluetooth range is too great. You need to know if the user has left the desk or room.
      Best alternative to the camera would be active infrared sensors, as used on Moto X phones.
      They are low power, would detect when you move away, and let you keep the tape over your webcam.

  • by TodPunk ( 843271 )

    It's called a screen-saver which turns off the display and requires a password, and it's been a feature of Windows since at least 2000/XP. It can also be set by group policy. "Inactivity" as questioned in TFS is just defined as "not providing any input" for a certain amount of time.

    Why is this news? Because people that didn't know it existed will now have it set by default? OK, good. They should, and they likely won't know what happened anyway. They'll wiggle the mouse or whatever it is they do when t

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @06:29PM (#53650589)

      This isn't a screen saver time out. This is presence detection. It won't wait a configured (10) minutes of inactivity to lock the screen. The camera "sees" the user and even knows which user it is seeing. The camera then locks the screen immediately when the user is not present.

      I'm curious though, if this can be easily defeated with a picture of the user being used to unlock the PC?

      • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @06:34PM (#53650625)

        The camera "sees" the user and even knows which user it is seeing. The camera then locks the screen immediately when the user is not present.

        How long before the computer "sees" the user and notifies the police that they can pick up their known dissident. I mean, really, given the kind of governance we're about to enter into, this (not to mention Alexa-like audio surveillance "features") are the last thing I'd want on any equipment in my home.

        And no, I don't have anything to hide. But conversely, I also don't use the restroom in the middle of 5th Avenue. Privacy is a thing, even in a world full of morons who think it isn't.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          This just gives them a plausible excuse to snap your picture every second and send it to headquarters for "security validation". For the best possible user experience, of course. File this under "do not want".

        • Electrical tape over your camera, friend. Problem solved.
      • If your computer has a camera focused on your at work and you haven't put tape over it, then it's time to do so.

    • This already happens

      It seems no-one actually knows for sure what this does, but it seems likely it's a bit more than just "lock after a x minutes of no keyboard/mouse input." It probably keeps checking via the webcam for your face, and if it doesn't see you for a while, it locks.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      I'm guessing the idea is that this will be much quicker, like if you haven't touched the mouse or keyboard for like 10-60 seconds the camera will check if you're still sitting in front of it and if not lock the machine. I think this is a business winner, so many times I've seen laptops with aggressive screen savers being used in a meeting by someone presenting and it locks because the presenter was talking or taking questions or holding a discussion and not navigating. This way the machine could check yep h

    • It's called a screen-saver which turns off the display and requires a password, and it's been a feature of Windows since at least 2000/XP.

      OH you mean the feature people push out as far as possible because it's annoying when it comes on while you're sitting at your desk and happen to be looking up something or writing something down for a second? That feature that leaves a computer exposed for a preset amount of time that becomes a juggling act between security and convenience?

      Why is this news?

      Because it doesn't already happen, it hasn't existed in the past, and what does exist doesn't work. Corporate security is a big deal that can't be fixed by simply expect

  • It's not clear exactly how Microsoft will detect inactivity, but it's possible the company could use Windows Hello-compatible machines or detect idle activity and lock the machine accordingly.

    My monitor at work has the ability to detect if someone is sitting within a certain distance from it. If no-one is in range then after a couple of minutes it would automatically turn off the screen. The distance can be defined in the settings.

    I'm sure there are a small number of people on here (who will likely comment)

    • but it seemed to work for the 500 odd people we have on the floor.

      500 people must require a fair bit of space, how does it work for the one closest and furthest away? Seems like it wouldn't work well when you wander over to a neighbouring colleague.

    • I'm sure there are a small number of people on here (who will likely comment) whose working patterns means that this wouldn't work for them

      The idea of Windows Goodbye is that it is coupled with Windows Hello. It's about your computer tying directly into your working pattern dynamically. Look away / walk away and the screen locks. Look back / walk back and the screen unlocks.

      I already unlock my girlfriends Surface Pro 4 by swiping on the screen and then holding it up to her face. Though I admit it annoys her, especially when I laugh about it afterwards.

  • Windows 10 Will Soon Lock Your PC When You Step Away From It

    Bloody hell, will it? Even though I'm running Windows 7/Centos 7? That's very clever.

  • If they use your webcam to monitor your activity then this will be a privacy nightmare. I will duct tape my camera if it comes to that or better yet just disable the option if it comes enabled

  • Yay for privacy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheEdgeOfRage ( 4834775 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @06:32PM (#53650605)
    This is going to be so good if they use webcams like for Hello. Which means they get to look at you 24/7 with your consent.
    • Snowden confirmed beyond any doubt that Microsoft is an NSA partner and spying is big business (that's why the NSA has so many partners amongst software proprietors). We all knew Microsoft was and is a software proprietor. After this 'feature' becomes commonplace it will be easier to convince people that they don't need or want that pesky indicator light next to the camera/mic showing when the camera/mic is on. After all, it's always lit and therefore 'useless'.

      A right and proper view would say you can't tr

  • I predict the usual Microsoft screwups with their initial roll-out of this.
    People's computers will blackout the screen during extended video playback, especially HTPC users sitting back away from their computers.

  • It's times like this that I'm happy my work's IT department is mildly incompetent. We just finished the Windows 7 rollout last year and they're still patting themselves on their backs.

    Figure that by the time they are ready to go to the next version of Windows I'll be retired.

  • https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/09/10/15/2121214/sonar-software-detects-laptop-user-presence [slashdot.org]

    Actually been using it although it drove a co-worker batty because he heard the high-frequency ticks and he couldn't find the source.. ;)

  • but they are constantly monitoring/recording my movements.

    I don't see any issues here, do you?

  • Big corporations teach employees to use the winkey+L combination to lock machines when they're idle

    Only big corporations teach that?

  • Now my PC will be watching me at the keyboard. What's next, having it watch me sleep?

    And... Just to throw in my $0.02, both the Windows "Hello" and proposed "Goodbye" features sound pretty troublesome.

    • Now my PC will be watching me at the keyboard. What's next, having it watch me sleep?

      Worse, now they'll know when you're catching some zzzs at your keyboard.

  • by steppin_razor_LA ( 236684 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @07:07PM (#53650835) Journal

    I'm not keen at having any more cameras pointed at me -- but if there was something very simple like an IR sensor that can detect presence/motion/etc, then this might be useful....

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      You can buy Bluetooth low energy tags for this purpose for a few quid. The range is deliberately low.

      It's not a bad system really, a kind of low grade two factor auth in that someone who only knows your password can't trivially unlock your computer.

  • by Webmoth ( 75878 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @07:08PM (#53650849) Homepage

    I think the idea is that if you are at your desk but idle (say, for example, you're on a long phone call with your chair tipped back and your feet on the desk), the computer won't lock down after X minutes of inactivity passes. But if you step away, it locks within seconds. You probably want to have some delay before locking, just in case you bend down to tie your shoe or something else where you are out of the view of the camera for a moment.

    The problem with the typical timeout we've used for years is that it can leave the desktop vulnerable between the time you leave the computer and the timeout expires. Most places set the timeout to several minutes to avoid employee irritation of having to unlock their computers several times a day, just because they were doing something else even though the computer was never out of their sight. A timeout is, at best, a compromise between security and convenience.

    This new method has the potential to improve BOTH security and convenience.

    • Actually, I got a replacement mac with newer OS on it, and I did not restore all the settings I had over the years and wanted to start out fresh. First thing I noticed is that it doesn't lock me out instantly when the laptop is closed. Instead I can now walk from cubicle to meeting room and not have to unlock the screen, but if closed for a minute then it locks. This may seem minor but I was quite happy with it. No more people watching while I type in the password (or accidentally typing the first few c

  • Just make the punishment for hacking extremely high. It worked for narcotics right.

  • How will this work when Mary calls the helpdesk, and as soon as Victor the desktop tech sits down the screen locks because Mary isn't the one sitting there?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Trust me... this is all about creating a world wide facial recognition database... fucking evil scum suckers.

  • As in 'Goodbye forever, don't let the virtual door hit you in the virtual ass on the way out'.

    This week they literally forced us onto Windows 10, in the most fascist way possible: Remotely bricking our machines. Bastards. Windows 10 makes my eyes bleed..
  • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2017 @09:13PM (#53651425) Journal

    My office computer is set to lock on wake [microsoft.com] and lock on screensaver [tenforums.com], and some days I'll forget to win+L and come in to work the next morning, wiggle the mouse to wake the monitor, and the computer will not be locked.

    This isn't new to Windows 10, either. My 8.1 laptop, when I open the lid there's a 50/50 chance it will automatically unlock itself. I open the lid, the screen turns on to the clearly labeled "This computer is locked" screen, which will then sometimes within a second or so slide up automatically without me touching a thing.

    If it happened every single time then obviously I fucked up on the configuration, but when it only sometimes works, I'd like to know what the hell is going on.

    • I have that same problem on occasion, where Win+L fails (while appearing to be successful). Same experience, it can fail for 8+ hours.

      I'm back to Ctrl-Alt-Del then Enter once the security screen comes up, never fails in my experience.

  • typing, pause, LOCK SCREEN, unlock screen,
    typing, pause, LOCK SCREEN, unlock screen,
    typing, pause, LOCK SCREEN, unlock screen,

    SoB, just because you can't see me, doesn't mean I'm not there.

    • SoB, just because you can't see me, doesn't mean I'm not there.

      The Ninja Labor Union will sue Microsoft soon.

  • "Windows Goodbye" sounds like a nice name for a Linux distro.

    Windows 10 feature that will automatically lock and secure a PC when the operating system detects someone has moved away from the machine

    Hopefully it isn't like those automatic toilets that flush and splash your ass when you reach for the toilet paper.

  • by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Thursday January 12, 2017 @05:01AM (#53652593)

    Or is this another mandatory feature? Because I totally hate it when my screen locks every five seconds. I can decide on my own whether an environment is safe for leaving my screen unlocked or not.

    Normally I wouldn't worry about something like this, but this is Microsoft we are talking about. They think they know my situation so much better than I do, they need to make this choice for me.

  • I once did a linux prototype like this that would lock and unlock your computer based on phone proximity using bluetooth. Worked like a charm. No camera required.

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