Make computer not go to sleep - without admin access
September 2, 2016 3:07 PM   Subscribe

I am a teacher lucky enough to have several classroom computers. I am a teacher unlucky enough to not have admin access to these computers. I am a teacher whose students can't type capital letters. Help!

The classroom computers are set to go to sleep after a short period of time. They require login every time they go to sleep.

The login information is the same for every computer (students do NOT have individual password, there is just a generic username and password that is actually the same combination of words/letters for both username and password), but it includes a capital letter and a word that is difficult for my students to spell. My students are very young and not tech savvy and this is a HUGE time waster when I want them to use the computer... it can take 10-15 minutes for them to hunt and peck, mess up, hunt and peck again, mess up again, etc - if they can even remember the password (which is written on the wall near the computers... but that doesn't mean they will remember that).

The computers are locked down so that "Control Panel" requires an admin password. I do not have this password. I have no chance of getting this password. Therefore I can't change the power settings or the security settings.

I do not care about my district's security concerns. Every student computer in our 90,000 student district has the exact same login password so I'm not sure why they insist that kids login with this generic password every single time. I'm also not sure what purpose this login even serves... since it has so admin access.

TL;DR - How can I make the computers never go to sleep without having access to Control Panel? There has to be a workaround! Save this poor teacher some instructional minutes.
posted by raspberrE to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Can you contact the tech person/dept to see if they can solve it on their end? Yours can't be the only classroom with this problem....
posted by aniola at 3:16 PM on September 2, 2016

ASSUMING that USB peripherals work without admin access, you need a USB mouse jiggler.
posted by supercres at 3:17 PM on September 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Sorry for thread sitting but I should have mentioned the answer to u/aniola'squestion:

Assume that the tech people will not solve this. (Trust me.)
posted by raspberrE at 3:19 PM on September 2, 2016

'Insomnia' is an app to prevent sleep, which seems to run without admin privileges.
posted by wilko at 3:19 PM on September 2, 2016

What do the students do/need to do on the computers? Do you have full physical access to them (i.e. are they locked in cabinets)? How old are they? Do they have free usb ports if newer? Free cd/dvd drives if older?
posted by hypercomplexsimplicity at 3:20 PM on September 2, 2016

(Free software utility of course a better option than hardware, if that works.)
posted by supercres at 3:22 PM on September 2, 2016

I use WiggleMouse. It does not require admin privileges to run.
posted by Lokheed at 3:55 PM on September 2, 2016


The students use 4 different websites for personalized learning. There are shortcuts to these on the desktop. I guess eventually they may use Word. That's it.

They are not locked in cabinets.... they are HP flat screens where the computer itself is somehow built into the slim monitor. I think they are only 2-3 years old. There are USB ports but they don't even have CD drives that I can find.

Sounds like a USB mouse jiggler might be my best/most surefire option (although slightly pricey - but worth it). Insomnia might get accidentally closed I think. I will try WiggleMouse and see if I can download to these computers.

Still open to other suggestions!
posted by raspberrE at 4:00 PM on September 2, 2016

Are you able to get an admin login screen, i.e., use "start" to switch users?

(Asking because I once needed to log in to a laptop, but didn't have the admin password. I learned there are workarounds for this. What's the OS?)
posted by she's not there at 4:56 PM on September 2, 2016

Wigglemouse looks like it requires Java to be installed to work, which it may not be. I haven't tried it, but Caffeine looks promising. There's a list of other, similar software here.
posted by cnc at 4:56 PM on September 2, 2016

There's a program called AutoHotKey that's designed to let you run scripts to automate interactions with your desktop. You can download the "portable" version here which will probably run fine on your machine. Drop the .exe file onto the desktop. Copy the following script and save it in a text file (use Notepad) called mousewiggle.ahk (also on the desktop). You might want to put these two files somewhere else once you've proven it works- somewhere you can find that the kids won't accidentally delete!
SetTimer, MoveMouse, 60000 ; Run every minute

    MouseMove, 1, 0, 1, R  ;Move the mouse one pixel to the right
    MouseMove, -1, 0, 1, R ;Move the mouse back one pixel
To run it, click and drag the ahk file on top of the AutoHotkey.exe icon and release. AutoHotkey will read the script and execute it in the background. Wiggling the mouse like this ought to prevent the machine going to sleep, though I haven't tested it (though I've tested that it does wiggle the mouse correctly!)
posted by BungaDunga at 5:34 PM on September 2, 2016

I have the same problem on my work laptop. I just start the Windows Media Player, run the sample video (Wildlife in HD on my computer), mute it, set it to replay all day and minimize it to the toolbar. Voila! Nothing complicated.
posted by clone boulevard at 5:44 PM on September 2, 2016 [9 favorites]

(I feel compelled to mention that I only do this when I'm working from home and there's no chance I could be compromising security anyway. Which doesn't apply to your situation!)
posted by clone boulevard at 5:48 PM on September 2, 2016

Caffiene is another program that prevents computers from sleeping.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:17 PM on September 2, 2016

If you can, play a video on youtube.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:18 PM on September 2, 2016

You could perhaps find the person who is in charge of techs for your school (not the head of IT for the district, you'd want one step below) and send him a brief physical letter why the current timeout is detrimental and inappropriate for the student's grade level. Be sure to use the Swedish Fish theory.

Another option is a keyboard with programmable function keys. They run about $40. You could set F7 to the username and F8 to the password.
posted by Sophont at 9:22 AM on September 4, 2016

Wow, I came to rec Caffeine but I see it must have taken off the last time I recced it.
posted by timepiece at 11:52 AM on September 6, 2016

Clone boulevard for the win! Who knew something so simple would work so perfectly?
posted by raspberrE at 4:18 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

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