After seeing this answer I wondered, how is this done in newer versions of windows, where [ctrl + alt + del] is no longer required for login?

Was this feature just removed, or is it somehow implemented differently (perhaps that any key is now a secure attention key)?

  • What makes you think it's changed? Your question is missing that. – TylerH Feb 29 '16 at 15:25
  • @TylerH I don't have to press ctrl+alt+del anymore to log into my windows 10 machine. But I'm aware of it still being there for password change etc. – Marius Schär Feb 29 '16 at 15:34
  • @Martin I don't have to press ctrl+alt+del to log into my Windows 7 machine either. – TylerH Feb 29 '16 at 15:45
  • @TylerH I've had to do it on all <= Win7 machines I've ever encountered, so I assumed it was the case everywhere – Marius Schär Mar 1 '16 at 8:02
  • @Martin As far as I know it is off-by-default on all OEM installs of Windows 7, but can be turned on for any of them. I don't know about enterprise installs; it would not surprise me if those had the feature on-by-default, instead. – TylerH Mar 1 '16 at 14:51

No, the SAK is still Ctrl+Alt+Del, and it never went anywhere. (It never was a technical requirement for logging in, merely a policy decision.)

On "consumer" versions of Windows, the SAK (Secure attention key) requirement was disabled for convenience, although can still be enabled via Group Policy, or even via control userpasswords2. Server editions still have it enabled.

The SAK still remains useful – when logged in, you can press it to get the "Windows Security" screen, change your password, or start Task Manager. So it can still be used to manually verify the login screen, even when Windows does not require it.

You cannot make every key be a SAK, because that would make it impossible for other programs to react to keypresses (which is the whole point of a SAK).

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