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How to Make Windows Start the Screensaver Immediately When Locked

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Are you one of those people that loves to see the screensaver come on when you get up from your computer? Here’s an easy way to make the screensaver show up as soon as you lock your PC.

To lock your computer, if you’ve never tried it, just use the WIN + L shortcut key combination, and your computer will be locked – you’ll have to enter the password to get back in. It’s a really good idea to do so at work, or if your friends are the type that will mess with your PC while you’re in the other room.

You can also create a shortcut that will lock your computer, if you are the type of user that prefers using a mouse to tediously do things instead of a nearly-instant shortcut key. Just paste this into the location box when creating the shortcut:

rundll32.exe user32.dll, LockWorkStation

Note: according to some very technical documentation, it’s possibly not a good idea to create shortcuts to lock the desktop. Plus, again, WIN + L is a much better solution.

Now that you know how to lock your PC, it’s time to make sure your screensaver is enabled. If it already is enabled, then skip down a bit.

Right-click on the desktop, choose Personalize, and then click on Screen Saver on the bottom right-hand side of the window.

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Now you’ll want to configure your favorite screensaver. You can download more screensavers from ye olde interwebs… but be very careful. There are a lot of viruses hidden in those downloadable screensavers. Make sure to scan for viruses.

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Now to start the screensaver immediately, you’ll need to download the free and open source MonitorES utility, which is a really small tool that does a bunch of interesting things, one of which is automatically enable the screensaver.

Download, install, and then open the tool. Go into the preferences (accessible from the system tray icon), and choose the Auto SSaver On option.

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Now use WIN + L to lock your computer. The screensaver should show up instantly.

It’s worth noting that you should really ignore this entire tutorial and just set your monitor to turn off quickly when you’re not using it, because that saves electricity, which saves you money on your bill. Which gives you more money to buy geek stuff. And coffee.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/10/13

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