Windows – How to launch Plex Media Server without logging in – or defer windows password on boot

passwordsplexscreensaverserviceswindows

I've been trying to do this for a while and thought I'd ask the boffins here 😉

I believe that to start the Plex service before logging in is technically possible – but over the past year or so, every tutorial I follow to start services just don't work for me.

Does anyone know of a way? Or perhaps another program or freeware util that will do this?

Another idea I had if this isn't possible:

Plex will auto launch, if there is no system password and boots straight up to the desktop.

So – is there a way that I can:

Set a windows password, that ISNT used on first boot (boot straight to desktop) – but when something like the screensaver kicks in, then the password is used to get back into the system?

That way I could set up a screensaver for 2 or 3 minutes after it boots to the desktop, screensaver kicks in and password is required to regain access it.

I know it leaves a small window of vulnerability – but I really just want it to auto boot at 6am – and be up and running, then if the kids come and play around, they cant do any damage!

Best Answer

  • Heres my own answer to my question! I am really happy with how its turned out so I figured it may be useful for someone else in future. The idea hadn't occured to me previously, otherwise I would have done this years ago!

    So I drew a blank on how to run the Plex "service" before logging in. That would have been ideal as Plex would run and the pc would stay behind a password from the very start.

    Instead, I did find a way to bypass the Windows login - quite easy as it turns out! One of many guides on how to do this:

    https://www.tekrevue.com/tip/skip-windows-10-login-screen/

    So now my Plex media server boots straight into the desktop (UEFI turns pc on at 6am) without needing me to enter a password. After 1 minute up time (when exactly does windows start counting this from?) - Screensaver kicks in. Then, exiting screensaver requires a password!

    Voila! - next best thing and it wasnt hard to do at all. Much easier than all the previous attempts to launch Plex behind the lock screen.

    Plex service starts automatically, and its all ready to go.

    I created a daily Task Schedule to shut the pc down every night at 1.30am (Should be ok...) and its ready for the cycle to repeat daily. May eventually pushthat out to every 2 days - to allow for backups and updates - maybe i'll Sleep it only.

    I'm thinking I'll add some scheduled backups and system restore points also.

    I will probably stick with this for a while - but I did also look at one other option / workaround...

    This looks awesome - and should help with corruptions and data loss also...

    http://horizondatasys.com/reboot-restore-rx-pro/

    This is free and would allow me to just leave the pc logged in without password at all. The kids could still use it for casual browsing etc - and because its protected, every day when the pc reboots - it restartss back to EXACTLY the same initial setup - no changes to the system, so the kids cant damage anything and they can use the pc also!

    This may actually be the best long term solution given how easily they say it can be used to restore from a bad windows error. If it lives up to the hype...

    Has anyone on here got experience with this?

    Apparently this software and similar, are used for public computers to prevent users from changing anything, installing stuff, leaving straces of their personal data. Reboots straight back to a set point.

    I will definitely give it a try in due course but for now... back to those drive recoveries... ;)

    *****EDIT*****

    Ran into a small snag, when accessing the media server, obviously with my new screensaver setup - it timed out REALLY quickly and then it got a bit annoying logging back in over and over everytime I forgot I only had 1 minute!

    Looked at some screensaver timeout utils, caffeine and jiggle - but then settled for just creating a shortcut on the desktop to the screensaver .exe and then when I log in I just run the shortcut and untick the password required box! Then retick it when I log out - simple hack that works just fine. I could probably macro it but this works great for me.

    If you need to find the .exe see this post: https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-other_settings/windows-10-screen-saver-shortcut/6f956026-f8af-4d5e-b524-b02add7baf43