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Protecting the host screen during a remote control session

Blanking the host display during a remote control session is particularly useful when connecting to remote computers in order to protect sensitive data appearing on the screen. This helps to prevent others in the vicinity of the system from viewing the monitor or even entering data while you are remotely accessing it from another location.

NoMachine's remote screen blanking feature is designed to address this security need. Additionally, NoMachine provides the option of automatically locking the screen once the remote control session to the desktop has terminated to avoid the remote desktop remaining visible.

How to enable screen blanking

This tutorial provides the steps to take to blank the screen of the computer you will be remotely accessing. It also assumes that you have administrator rights on that machine.

  • First install NoMachine on the computer or device you are connecting from and the PC or Mac you want to access. Consult the Getting Started Guide for details on how to do this.
  • Connect via NoMachine to the computer you want to access.
  • To blank the remote screen, first click on !M icon ("NoMachine Monitor") in your computer's application tray and select 'Show the service status'.
Select 'Show the Service status' in the NoMachine Monitor

Fig. 1 – Select 'Show the service status' in the Monitor

  • In the NoMachine Service Status panel click 'Server preferences' (Fig. 2).
Go to NoMachine Service Status and select Server preferences

Fig. 2 – NoMachine Service Status > Server preferences

  • Select the 'Security' tab and make sure the box is checked for 'Blank the physical screen when somebody connects' (Fig. 3). You can turn this feature on or off at any time. By default, it is disabled. You will need to provide the administrator's username and password in order to enable it or disable it.
To blank the screen on the remote NoMachine computer, check the box ‘Blank the physical screen when somebody connects'

Fig. 3 – Check the box 'Blank the physical screen when somebody connects'

Locking keyboard and mouse input

  • Turning it on also locks the host keyboard and mouse to prevent anyone sitting at the host machine from entering input data during a remote control session.
  • Anyone at the host device sees a blank screen on the physical monitor while the remote session is active.
  • That's it! Once you're done, upon disconnecting the screen will become visible again. If you want the screen to be remain hidden, you should enable the automatic screen lock. Read on to find out more.

Enabling automatic screen lock when disconnecting

The display of a remote computer can be protected further by enabling the system’s own screen lock which will be activated automatically as soon as the last NoMachine user disconnects.

  • Select the 'Security' tab of the Server preferences UI.
  • Check the box 'Lock the physical screen on disconnect' (Fig. 4).

You can turn this feature on or off at any time. By default, it is disabled. You will need to provide the administrator's username and password in order to enable it or disable it.

To lock the screen on the remote NoMachine computer when you've finished, check the box ‘Lock the physical screen on disconnect'

Fig. 4 – Check the box 'Lock the physical screen on disconnect'