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Thoughts from David Cornelius


I'm a proponent of good security and when I leave my computer, I want it to require a password or code to get back in. The Windows+L keyboard shortcut makes it easy to quickly lock the machine when I step away for a few minutes. I've configured the Windows Sign-in options on all my machines to use a PIN (Personal Identification Number) or 4-digit code and use that all the time. This works for both initial login and when I unlock a locked Windows session.

I use multiple virtual machines with VMWare which conveniently passes the Windows authentication through to the virtual machine, allowing it to start up without requiring a second login. Because of this convenience, I often forget to configure the PIN for the workstation, letting it just require the password which can be configured to be automatically sent from VMWare. This is fine but it doesn't work for a locked session, only for the initial login; VMWare does not pass the authentication again when unlocking a Windows session.

This tripped me up one time when the virtual Windows machine was locked and none of the passwords I thought it used worked to unlock it. I had to restart the machine, letting VMWare send the saved password through for the initial login in order to use it again. (I use Microsoft Accounts and even changed the Microsoft Account password but the Windows session never did pick it up.)

Now, I could've just configured the PIN to be the same PIN I use elsewhere to make it simple to unlock but I wanted to prevent it from being locked in the first place since it seems silly to me to have this double-layer of Windows locking (host machine and virtual machine). I found my solution in an article on How-to Geek that pointed out the Windows registry setting to disable it:


Creating the key and setting the DWORD value to 1 prevents Windows from being locked--I immediately set this up on all the Windows virtual machines. It's a small thing but is sure nice to be able to lock and unlock my main Windows session and not have to worry about the running virtual machines being locked anymore.

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