How to lock your screen in WindowsBy Lawrence Abrams on October 19, 2012 | Last Updated: December 13, 2012 | Read 89,909 times.
Windows allows you to lock your screen so that others cannot access your computer without entering your password. This is very useful when you need to be away from your computer and do not want other people to use it or access your documents. This tutorial will walk you through locking your screen in all versions of Windows as well as a method of automatically locking your screen when your computer has been idle for a certain amount of time.
To begin please select a section below:
The only method you can use to manually lock your screen in Windows XP is to use the Windows+L keyboard combination. Simply hold down the Windows key with one finger and tap on the L key with another finger. This will lock the screen as shown below.
To unlock your screen, simply click on your account name and enter your password. You will then be back at the same location you were previously at before it was locked.
If you wish to have your Windows XP screen lock automatically after a certain amount of time, please see this: How to lock your screen after a certain amount of time
To lock your screen in Windows 7 or Windows Vista, please click on the Windows Start Button () and the Start Menu will open. At the bottom of the Start Menu you will see a Shut down button with an arrow to the right of it. Please click on the arrow and a submenu will open as shown in the image below.
In the menu that appears, click on the Lock option. This will lock your computer and bring you to the Windows Welcome Screen where you will be prompted to enter the password for your user account.
Just enter your password to unlock the screen and start using Windows again.
To lock your screen in Windows 8, you need to click on your user name or account picture in the upper right-hand corner of the Start Screen. This will open up a submenu as shown in the image below.
When the submenu is open, click on the Lock option. This will bring you to the Windows 8 lock screen as shown below.
To login, press Enter on your keyboard or left-click on the lock screen and Windows will prompt you for your password to unlock the screen.
If you do not wish to use the lock screen in Windows 8 and would prefer to just be at a login prompt, you can see this tutorial:
If you wish to lock your screen when it has been idle for a certain amount of time you will need to use a screen saver in Windows. When you setup a screen saver in Windows you have the option to display a login prompt when the screen saver is interrupted. This is a great option if you want to lock your computer automatically when it has not been used for specific amount of time.
For the most part, the screen saver settings screen is similar for all versions of Windows, but getting to the screen itself is a little different. If you are using Windows XP, click on the Start button and select Control Panel. Now switch to class view and double-click on the Display icon. Finally, select the Screen Saver tab.
If you are using Windows Vista and Windows 7 all you have to do is click on the Start button and type screen saver and then click on the Change Screen Saver option when it appears.
For Windows 8, at the Start Screen simply type screen saver, click on the Settings category in the search results, and then click on the Change Screen Saver option when it appears.
You should now be at the screen saver settings window as shown below. It may be a little different depending on the version of Windows you are using.
To enable a screen saver that automatically locks your screen, select the screen saver you wish to use from the drop down box and then place a check mark in the check box labeled On resume, display logon screen. Windows will now be configured with a screen saver that automatically locks your screen when someone attempts to use it.
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