Windows 7 Randomly Locks

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Windows 7 Randomly Locks

Postposted on Wed May 04, 2011 7:30 am

I have a strange problem I'm hoping someone might be able to help me with. A few days ago, while using my computer (browsing), Windows locked. I don't mean "locked up" or that it froze. I ignored the first instance, thinking maybe I had inadvertently hit Windows key + L. It happened again a few minutes later. I considered the possibility that my network was under attack (rash perhaps), so to eliminate the possibility, I disconnected the PC from the internet... still happening at random intervals. It did it maybe four or five times total, then just stopped. I did a little research, ran a sfc scan (normal), virus check (normal), and forgot about it. Today, it has started again. It has only done it twice so far, but again, I can find nothing that seems to trigger it. I was doing all the same things yesterday and the day before without this occurring, so I'm at a loss as to what to look for. Googling unfortunately turned up nothing I could relate my problem to.

Any ideas as to what may be causing these random desktop locks?
StefanVonS
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Re: Windows 7 Randomly Locks

Postposted on Wed May 04, 2011 8:26 am

Try using another keyboard/mouse combo. Could be something shorting out in the keyboard. If that doesn't do anything I would google to see if anyone else has this issue. My guess is that it's a hardware problem though.
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Re: Windows 7 Randomly Locks

Postposted on Thu May 05, 2011 7:48 pm

Does it happen only when you use the browser? if so try another one. When your system hangs do you hard reboot it? if so, when it hangs again turn off your monitor and then turn it back if picture does not reappear and monitor power light goes amber it is probably due to video adapter/driver. How long did you wait before reboot? Did you find anything in the Event Viewer?
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michael_d
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Re: Windows 7 Randomly Locks

Postposted on Fri May 06, 2011 1:33 am

michael_d wrote:Does it happen only when you use the browser? if so try another one. When your system hangs do you hard reboot it? if so, when it hangs again turn off your monitor and then turn it back if picture does not reappear and monitor power light goes amber it is probably due to video adapter/driver. How long did you wait before reboot? Did you find anything in the Event Viewer?
Read his post again:
StefanVonS wrote: I don't mean "locked up" or that it froze.
In other words, it's like a phantom Winkey+L keypress -- which is why synchromesh suggested trying another keyboard. It's possible, I guess, though unless the windows key is sticking or it's a very strange short that seems pretty unlikely.

Any chance you've got some wacky non-standard screen saver (that is triggering when it shouldn't, and then quitting instantly) and it thinks it should be prompting you when it comes out of that?
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Re: Windows 7 Randomly Locks

Postposted on Sat May 07, 2011 5:55 pm

Thanks for the replies.

No, no screen saver whatsoever. What's strange to me is the lull in between the spurts of this occurring. It's been well over 48 hours now without an occurrence, and it was like that last time.

I've swapped out the keyboard and mouse with my wife's computer and still had it occur shortly after.

I'm keeping a mental log of what programs I'm using around the time this occurs, but have yet to pinpoint anything concrete yet... except "Windows" :)

EDIT: Is there any way to force an event log on Windows lock? An "audit" so to speak? I know you can do some pretty crazy stuff with security protocols, but it's a bit beyond me as to where to begin.

EDIT2: Asking that last question reminded me of "local policies" and sure enough, found an obvious entry for logging locking/unlocking the workstation; however, the detail on the event is unhelpful. Was hoping for information as to who/what did the locking, but i suppose outside of silly problems like mine, that's rather redundant.
StefanVonS
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Re: Windows 7 Randomly Locks

Postposted on Fri May 13, 2011 6:15 pm

Finally located the source of the issue!

It's a game called Universe Sandbox. I hadn't played it since my last post, and just launched it now, and boom, 2 minutes later, windows locked.

Any idea why this could happen?
StefanVonS
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Re: Windows 7 Randomly Locks

Postposted on Fri May 13, 2011 7:18 pm

Well, any app that's running on the desktop can call LockWorkstation. Is it possible this is some kind of asinine DRM / nagware implementation? (ie, do you have a legitimate copy that's registered and whatever they require? ) Though I have to say, if this is "by design" behavior I'd walk away from that app and anything produced by the people behind it ever again.

On the other hand, it's possible this is some kind of really weird bug, though unless they're doing a custom keyboard filter that is somehow producing Win+L when it shouldn't, I can't imagine how that could happen. Now that you've narrowed it down you might try googling around or checking support / fan forums for that game and see if anybody else has seen anything like this.

Just blue-skying, there might be a way to set up a Windows user that has GPOs set such that locking windows is impossible and run the app as that user... but really, at that point, you're doing insane things to work around a ridiculous problem and the right answer is to either get a version of this game that fixes this problem or just not play the game.
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Re: Windows 7 Randomly Locks

Postposted on Fri May 13, 2011 7:28 pm

It's a Steam copy, so very certain I have a legit copy. Like you, I cannot fathom why this code would be present within any non-utility/admin program. Fan base is relatively small because of the genre, but I have notified it's creator. This simulator was used for some animations seen on the Discovery channel, so I'm sure he feels he has a rep to protect and will respond.
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