Idle Timeout - Windows

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This page is tell you how to set Windows to terminate a dialup connection after a period of inactivity. This stops a dialup connection from being left connected when it is no longer required.

When a new dialup connection is created on a Windows PC, an Idle Timeout period of 20 minutes is set by default. This means that after 20 minutes of inactivity on the dialup connection, Windows will display a prompt asking if you want to disconnect, and if you don't make your selection after 1 minute, the connection will be terminated automatically. You can choose to stay connected at the prompt, and this will cause the Idle Timeout process to be aborted, leaving you to disconnect manually.

Note: Setting your email program to check for new messages every few minutes, or having a page open in your web browser that constantly refreshes will prevent the Idle Timeout process from working. Your computer will think that your are checking for new messages or navigating the web, and will not prompt for you to disconnect as there is still network activity.

1. Open Internet Explorer, click the Tools menu and select Internet Options.

Ie tools internetoptions.gif

2. On the dialog that appears, click the Connections tab, select your dialup connection from the list, then click the Settings button.


3. The dialog below will be displayed. The next step varies on the different Windows operating systems, so choose the relevant instruction below.


4. Windows 98 and 2000

Click the Advanced button alongside the Password field. The dialog below will be displayed, with the Disconnect if idle for ... checkbox. Ticking this checkbox will enable your connection to Idle Timeout, and using the up and down arrows on the field alongside allows you to adjust the period the computer will wait for. It is also recommended Disconnect when connection may no longer be needed is ticked so that you are prompted to disconnect when all programs that use the internet are closed.

Dialog settings advanceddialup.gif

Windows ME

Click the Properties button alongside the Username field.

Windows XP

Click the Properties button alongside the Password field, then click the Options tab. The Idle Timeout fields is outlined below with 30 minutes as the setting. To change this period, select a value from the list and click Ok, then close the remaining dialogs by clicking Cancel.

Dialog settings properties options.gif

5. Click Ok to save the changes, then Cancel to close any open dialogs.