From the desk of: Sam C. Chan

Checklist: Prepare for Remote Admin Access
Published: April 2, 2003
Updated: November 5, 2012 (added Windows 8 logoff instructions)


  • You requested IT to remotely perform upgrades/troubleshooting/repairs
  • You were notified of a scheduled remote operations.

Minimize delays, risks and frustrations.
Follow these 5 simple steps.

Recommended procedure:

  1. Log off Windows (details below)
  2. Leave computer power on !!
  3. Turn off monitor (prevent screen burnout)
  4. Remove all discs from drives (interfere w/ boot)
  5. Provide IT w/ password(s) as needed (details below)

Leave it at the Windows login screen

Always logoff, but
leave power on.

When you're specifically
 told to leave it mid-session,
 in order to preserve
a hard-to-reproduce
error message.

Additional details below:

How do I log off Windows?

  • Windows 8/8.1   Alt+Ctrl+DelAlt+O
    • hold Alt + Ctrl, then strike Del, which brings up "Windows Security"
    • hold Alt, then strike O (for immediate log off)
  • Windows 7/Vista     Alt+Ctrl+DelAlt+L
    • hold Alt + Ctrl, then strike Del, which brings up "Windows Security"
    • hold Alt, then strike L (for immediate log off)
  • Windows XP      Alt+Ctrl+DelLL
    • hold Alt + Ctrl, then strike Del, which brings up "Windows Security"
    • strike L (for log off),
    • strike L again (to confirm)

Why log off?

  • It's risky to leave system logged in and unattended.
    • Unauthorized persons can gain access to confidential data.
    • A power glitch could also cause losses/corruptions.
    • Leaving files opened will likely interfere with backup process.
  • Logging off forces you to save all documents as needed.
    • IT can't decide for you, and it'll cause needless contacts/delays.
    •  Note: Saving when it shouldn't be causes inadvertent alterations/losses.
  • IT admins have specific needs, and prefer to login to admin account with tools and environments optimized for such operations.
  • An existing session presents a major dilemma:
    • Resume that user session (requires user's password) in order to log off properly (still subject to file-saving dilemma), then re-login as admin. Very time consuming!
    • Take the justifiable risk of terminating (crashing) existing session and possible data losses. Sometimes it's the only option.
  • Per privacy rules: IT should avoid seeing user data or otherwise accessing user accounts, unless it's necessary to perform the task(s) in question.

Why can't I just rely on screen savers/monitor power off?

  • By default, Windows disables screen saver (and monitor power savings) features at the login screen. This is a security precaution, to prevent takeover via rogue screen saver programs. This behavior can be overridden, with some risk.

Account Password (Windows & email, etc.):
  • If the task must be performed from within the user account, be sure to provide all the necessary passwords, unless they're already on-file and unchanged.
  • Alternatively, a new user password will be assigned, and you'll be notified (typically via voicemail). IT cannot see what your existing password is, but has the power to issue new ones.

See also:


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