J☼E 6 Junior Poster

Create a Desktop Shortcut that Locks a Windows XP-Based Workstation

This step-by-step article describes how to create a desktop shortcut that you can use to lock a Windows XP-Based Workstation. To take full advantage of user authentication as a means of network access control, you must be sure that only the logged-on user is able to use the workstation. Authentication-based access control loses viability when users other than the logged-on user are able to obtain access to local and network objects.

If a user steps away from his or her desk, another user can walk up to the unattended computer and carry out local and network activities by using the credentials of the logged-on user. The logged-on user is accountable for any activities that took place on that workstation while away from it. If the logged-on user can account for his or her whereabouts during the time away from the computer, the credentials of that user are no longer useful in tracking down access violations that have been completed under the context of that user's network account.

Users can lock their workstations by using the Ctrl+Alt+Del Security Attention Sequence (SAS). However, some users are reluctant or unable to press these three keys in sequence, and because of this, do not lock their workstations while they are away from the computer.

You can simplify locking the workstation for these users by creating a desktop shortcut. After you create the shortcut, users can double-click the shortcut to lock the workstation.

To create the shortcut:

  • Right-click an empty area of the desktop, point to New, and then click Shortcut.
  • In the Create Shortcut Wizard, type %windir%\System32\rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation in the Type the location of the item box, and then click Next. Note that LockWorkStation is case sensitive.
  • On the "Type a name for this shortcut" page, type Lock Workstation in the Type a name for this shortcut box, and then click Finish.
  • Right-click the shortcut you just made, and then click Properties.
  • Click the Shortcut tab, and then click Change Icon.
  • In the Change Icon dialog box, type %SystemRoot%\system32\SHELL32.dll in the Look for icons in this file box, and then click OK.
  • Browse through the available icons, and then select an icon that makes it easy for the users to identify that the shortcut is to be used to lock the workstation.
  • Click the icon you want to use, and then click OK. Click OK again.
  • Double-click the shortcut, and note that the workstation automatically locks itself.

The user must press Ctrl+Alt+Del, and then type his or her credentials to unlock the workstation.