How AutoMate Logs On or Unlocks a Workstation

AutoMate attempts to log on a user or unlock a workstation by simulating the keystrokes a user would enter in the Windows Logon Screen when attempting to log on or unlocking a workstation (Windows Server 2003 Logon Screen illustrated below).

 

 

The keystrokes to simulate are specified in System -> Options of the Task Administrator under the Logon Keystrokes tab and uses the same syntax as the Send Keystrokes action, with the addition of three special fields (or placeholders) that are only applicable during the logon sequence:

 

  1. {USERNAME}: Placeholder for the user name as specified by the Default User Options. (On Windows2000 and WindowsXP, the domain name is automatically appended to the username and separated with a @ symbol, if a domain name is specified).

  2. {PASSWORD}: Placeholder for the password as specified by the Default User Options.

  3. {DOMAIN}: Placeholder for the domain/machine name as specified by the Default User Options. (On Windows2000 and Windows XP, this placeholder is ignored).

Before a task starts executing its steps, AutoMate first determines whether the workstation is logged on, logged off or locked. If the workstation is logged off, and the task is set to log on a user before executing, AutoMate will press Ctrl-Alt-Del, then attempt to simulate the keystrokes as specified in the "Logon Keystrokes" field of the Logon Keystrokes options. If the workstation is locked, and the task has been set to unlock a workstation before executing, AutoMate will press Ctrl-Alt-Del, then attempt to simulate the keystrokes as specified in the “Unlock Keystrokes” field of the Logon Keystrokes options. A typical keystroke sequence is as follows:

 

{ALT}u{USERNAME}{ALT}p{PASSWORD}{ENTER}

 

This tells AutoMate to press Alt-u to bring the cursor to the Username field of the Windows Logon Screen. It then types out the username. Next, it presses Alt-p to bring the cursor to the Password field, and types out the password. Then the ENTER key is pressed to complete the logon.

 

NOTE: The Ctrl-Alt-Del key sequence is not a part of the Logon Keystrokes procedure, however, AutoMate does perform this keystroke simulation first and foremost.

 

In some circumstances, the keystroke sequence may need to be modified to work correctly with some workstations. For example, on some Windows 2003 Server machines, there is a longer delay between pressing the Ctrl-Alt-Del sequence and when the logon window appears. The Logon Keystrokes can be adjusted to account for this by adding a delay before attempting to send any keystrokes:

 

{DELAY 3000}{ALT}u{USERNAME}{ALT}p{PASSWORD}{ENTER}

 

This will cause AutoMate to pause 3 seconds (3000 milliseconds) before attempting to send the username and password.

 

Additionally, there may be cases where a special security window or "splash' screen may appear after the Windows Logon Screen but before the desktop. In order to properly close this screen, simply add the proper Logon/Unlock Keystrokes to perform this simulation. The example below shows what should be entered assuming that hitting the {Tab} then {Enter} key closes the Security screen.

 

{DELAY 3000}{ALT}u{USERNAME}{ALT}p{PASSWORD}{ENTER}{DELAY 3000}(TAB}{ENTER}

 

The keystroke sequence is not bound to any specific logon window or sequence.  Therefore, by adjusting the keystrokes to be sent, AutoMate can successfully logon to workstations that do not use the standard Windows Logon window, such as those running Novell.

 

See Also

 

Default User Options

 

Logon Keystrokes Options

 

About Task Logon Properties

 

Setting Task Logon Properties

 

Logon Properties