HTC HD2 Screen Lock – Prompt For PIN Every Time Phone Turned On Fix

Anyone who has an HTC HD2 mobile phone and syncs it to an Exchange Server that forces a PIN for security reasons has probably been frustrated as much as I have with having to key in the PIN every single time the phone is turned on.

Having used numerous HTC mobile phones over the past 6 or 7 years, and not having had this problem with any of their phones before, even when connected to an Exchange Server, I spoke to HTC about the issue and left the problem with them to hopefully find a fix and allow me to use my phone properly.

Well, that was in early August when I got back from holiday.

It is now September 23rd and having not heard a peep out of HTC, decided to chase them up and see what progress they had made.

After putting the phone down to HTC after one conversation, they suggested that I call my airtime provider (O2) as the software on the phone was an O2 branded version and that they must have changed something to cause the problem. Well, my business partner has an O2 HTC HD2 phone and it came from O2 and does not have the O2 branding all over it and it has the same problem, so a further call to HTC to discount O2 as the root of the problem left them a little bit perplexed, but me even more annoyed because I had to explain myself again to the support person at the other end of the phone.

One support guy escalated the call to a 2nd line person who basically advised me the fix was to Hard Reset the phone (which I had already done, so had my business partner, and it was no better). Well, that was useful advice!

To cut a long story short, after several phone calls to different HTC support staff, each time having to explain the problem to them, which they clearly did not understand and after much persuasion that it was not an Exchange issue, not an issue with the settings on the phone, but that the settings were simply getting ignored, I finally spoke to one person there who basically said that they were not going to do anything about it because it was not a problem, more like a “Security Feature”! Well – it is a Security Feature that I can do without.

After the final phone call, I rang O2 and asked if they could change my handset to one that worked. They advised me that I was not able to upgrade (having just done so), and could not change phones, so I was stuck with the annoying handset until next time renewal was due (10 months away). At that point, I asked to be put back onto an iPhone tariff and will continue to use the iPhone.

Not wanting to let this problem go, I surfed the web and after scouring through some forums, decided that I was not alone in having this problem, music to my ears, but no doubt something that HTC won’t want to hear, or maybe that should be ‘couldn’t care less’?

Buried within one forum was a Registry Tweak that could be made which looked like it might solve the problem and one user reported that it had worked for them (hurrah!).

So, I downloaded CERegEditor and installed it, then hooked up my HD2 via the USB cable and opened up the registry.

The suggested key to change / add was:

HKCU\ControlPanel\Keybd REG_DWORD DeviceLockWhenSuspend – Value = 0

After adding that key, because it was not already present, soft resetting my phone and testing the phone lock timeout, the phone did not ask me for the PIN every time I turned the phone on. Eureka!

So – tomorrow I may call HTC and advise them of the ‘fix’ to the problem they don’t seem to care about and hopefully they will add this to future ROM versions so that others may stop being as annoyed as I was about this little issue that seems to be frustrating the life out of every HTC HD2 owner.

One drawback of this registry “tweak” is that the phone will start working in your pocket as there now i sno lock facility. This was a minor setback and can be fixed by installing the following free App:

Slide To Unlock 2

Now I don’t get annoyed by having to enter the PIN EVERY time I try to use my phone and I can lock the screen when it is is my pocket.

If you have read this far – please take the poll below so that I can see if I am alone in being annoyed with HTC or not.

Thanks

Alan

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11 Responses

  1. Well done Alan, been driving me nuts, but have just go used to it. looking forward to the fix being applied soon….

  2. nice work smartguy… you have hacked your registry to bypass your companies exhange security policy. lets hope you dont loose your phone or get it stolen. i bet your exchange administrator loves you!

    • My Exchange security has not been compromised in the slightest. The PIN requirement is still set, I just don’t have to enter the PIN each and every time I want to use my phone, because it is now doing what it is supposed to.

      I am also the Exchange Administrator, so I know exactly what I am doing security-wise.

  3. Actually, I have to agree with the last guy, that boot-up lock would prevent any would be data thief from thinking ‘Aaah a pin lock… lets just reboot and disable it..’ You HAVE compromised the security completely. So, before you start blowing your own trumpet again, think why it was there in the first place. Pete C. – MS Certified Trainer.

    • Pete – thanks for your comments. What exactly do you think I have compromised and how would a would-be thief “just reboot and disable a PIN lock”?

      The iPhone had a slide-lock and the lock can be configured to not require the PIN every time the phone is used by a user setting that works, so if you set the timeout to be 5 minutes, once you turn te phone off and then turn it on again within the 5 minutes, you don’t get asked for the PIN. If you turn the phone off and then turn it back on again after 6 minutes, then you are prompted for the PIN. The HD2 has the same user setting which simply does not work. The registry addition is simply disabling the requirement to force the PIN every time the phone is used. It still auto-locks the phone after the selected time which can be changed by the user, but it stops asking EVERY time the phone is used – which is a welcome relief, to me and my business partner at least.

      Do you have an HD2 phone and have you actually tried to use it with a PIN as a requirement via the Exchange Activesync Policy? If not – I suggest you get one and see how incredibly frustrating a problem it is. If you do have one – do you not find it even remotely annoying?

      I have not heard people complaining about the security risk of the iPhone’s locking feature – which is exactly what I have now on the HD2.

      Alan

    • You are incorrect regarding ‘lets just reboot and disable it..’ Upon reboot the PDA still requires the PIN for access.

  4. I disagree with both of you. I fail to see how this is compromising the security of the phone and am in no doubt at all that it has no impact on Exchange Security.

    Basically all that is being done here is removing the need for a PIN to unlock the phone within a period of time. The settings are there on the phone they just don’t work.

    Let’s not confuse this with the ActiveSync PIN which is used to remote wipe the phone should it be lost or stolen using the Exchange Server.

    Pete, it’s one thing critisizing someones blog post but insulting them is bang out of order. I see no trumpet blowing in the comments or the blog post other than the last 3 words of your post. I don’t see how this is relevant.

    MCTS, SBS, Exchange 2010, MCITP, Exchange 2010, EE Genius http://www.experts-exchange.com/M_2355264.html

  5. Thanks for this find Alan. We have more than 2,000 PDAs deployed and the HD2 users were pulling their hair out while the others were not affected in the same way when we implemented the forced PDA lock.

    And don’t worry about those who claim it creates a security issue. They are probably from IT Security whose sole purpose in life seems to be how can they make using technology more painful. 😉

  6. HTC HD had this problem too. I never bother with tech support. You always end up with a smart arse or someone unhelpful. I did some sort of hack probably the same about two years ago within days of getting the handset. Shortly afterwards I tried slide2unlock but realise I didn’t really need it. Since then it has gone if in my pocket about twice both times when it was upside down. Hasn’t happened for the last year. Prob will happen tomorrow.

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