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Take a Break

Following a successful trial in the Arts and Social Studies and Health Libraries, Information Services has introduced the 'Take a Break' facility in the Open Access Computer Rooms in libraries.

What is 'Take a Break'?

'Take a Break' is a new icon you'll see on the desktop of Open Access PCs across the University.

If you're using a PC and need to leave the machine for a period of time, save your work, then just double click the 'Take a Break' icon. The PC will lock and a countdown clock will show on the screen. You'll then have 20 minutes to return and login to the PC – otherwise, you'll be logged out, and the PC will reboot before returning to the usual login screen. Any unsaved work will be lost, so remember to save any new work before taking a break.

If you're logged in to a PC, but leave the desk without locking the machine or starting 'Take a Break', the screen will automatically lock after ten minutes of inactivity, and the 20 minute countdown clock will show on the screen. Again, you'll have 20 minutes to return and login before the PC automatically logs you out and reboots.

Take a Break screenshot
Take a Break countdown screen

Where is 'Take a Break' available?

'Take a Break' is available from Monday 6th January in the Open Access PC rooms in the libraries, as well as the IT rooms in the Glamorgan, Julian Hodge, and John Percival buildings.


How do I tell if 'Take a Break' is running on my computer?

Take a Break - countdown timer

If 'Take a Break' is available on your PC, you’ll see this icon on the desktop.

There will also be signs and posters in the computer area to alert you to this.


Am I at risk of losing my work?

If you don't return to your PC, the computer will reboot and you will lose any unsaved material. Just make sure you save your work regularly before leaving your PC unattended.


Why have you introduced 'Take a Break'?

The University's IT facilities are always busy, especially around exam and deadline periods, and you've told us that it's frustrating to find PCs locked but the logged in student is nowhere to be found.

Introducing the automatic reboot after 20 minutes of inactivity will ensure that as many computers as possible are available for use, rather than sitting empty or being 'saved' for later.

Additionally, many students forget to 'lock' their computers when leaving them unattended. 'Take a Break' will automatically lock computers after ten minutes of inactivity, protecting student accounts and data from unauthorised access.


Could this be introduced on PCs in my Academic School?

If you'd like to suggest this scheme is introduced in your Academic School, please speak to your Local Computing Representative. However, please note that this may not be appropriate in all instances – especially if students are running data or computational programmes for extended periods of time on these PCs.


Where can I find out more?

If you have any questions or comments about 'Take a Break', please either speak to a member of library staff, or complete a feedback form to let us know what you think.


  • Student using an Open Access PC in the ASSL's eLounge.