ERROR: Task could not start because workstation could not be unlocked

Applies To: AutoMate 6, AutoMate 5
Published: 8/15/07 , modified September 17, 2007

When a task is triggered, AutoMate checks the state of the machine, whether it is logged on, logged off or locked, then observes and complies with the 'Logon' credentials of the task. When a machine is locked, and AutoMate needs to unlock it in order to properly run the task, it will attempt to do so using the "Specified User" or the "Default User" account (if the Specified User points to the Default User located in 'System' -> 'Options' -> 'Default User' tab).

Microsoft developed Windows in a manner that only the user who last locked the workstation can unlock it. So if your default user is set to you, but another user locked the machine (whether locally or during a remote session), the task will not be able to unlock the machine because Windows will want you to verify that you want to logoff the other user so you can logon with your credentials. AutoMate cannot forcibly log off a user if an attempt is made to unlock the workstation with a user other than the current logged on account.

The error you are encountering only occurs when a machine is locked. Therefore, a workaround is to avoid locking the system or having it lock itself. Another possibility is to make sure to log off the system instead of locking it before you leave the machine unattended.

NOTE: This article does not apply to Windows Vista