The computers at work have been configured so that the screensaver kicks in if there is no mouse or keyboard activity for 10 minutes. After another 5 minutes of inactivity the PC locks itself and goes into sleep mode.

A wiggle of the mouse or a press of a key wakes the machine up and then I have to press ALT+CTRL+DEL to unlock the PC and log back in.

When I’m delivering virtual training, I’m constantly moving the mouse and using the keyboard so my PC never goes to sleep. However when I’m delivering training in the classroom, there are occasions when I won’t touch my computer for 10 minutes.

On the Mac, I have an app that I’ve been using for years, called Caffeine that prevents the computer from going to sleep.

I recently discovered that there’s a similar app, with the same name (but made by a different company), for Windows.

It works by simulating a keypress once every 59 seconds, so your machine thinks you’re still working at the keyboard, so won’t lock the screen or activate the screensaver

You can download it from here:

The great thing for me is that it doesn’t actually need installing (our PC’s at work are also locked down to prevent unauthorised software being installed). I copied the downloaded EXE file to a folder on my C: drive and I just have to remember to run it before starting my training courses.

When it’s running, you will see the Caffeine icon in the System Tray – and this is all you see. Double-clicking the icon empties the coffee pot (that’s what the icon is) and temporarily disables the program. Double-clicking it again refills the pot, and will keep your machine awake.