How-To Geek

Beginner: Automatically Lock Your Computer When You’re Away

Would you like your computer to automatically lock and require you to enter your password when you exit the screensaver?  Here’s how to quickly change your screensaver settings to keep your computer secure when you’re away.

To get started, right-click on your desktop, and click Personalize to open the personalization settings dialog.

Click Screen Saver under the themes to change your screensaver settings.


Alternately, if you’d rather open the screensaver settings without grabbing your mouse, hit the Win key and enter Screen Saver in the search box, and select Change screen saver.


This will open the Screen Saver settings dialog.  Select the screensaver you want, then check the box to display the login screen when you exit the screen saver.  Enter the number of minutes you want to wait before your screensaver starts, then click Ok to save your settings.


Now, after the length of time you selected, you’ll see your screensaver as normal.


Then, when you move the mouse or press a key, you’ll see the normal login screen instead of your desktop.  Enter your password and login as normal to access your computer.


Lock Your Computer Without a Screensaver

If you’re not fond of screensavers, you can lock your computer when you’re away without turning on the screensaver.  Just select None from the screensaver list, then check the box as before.  Now your computer will automatically switch to the Login screen whenever your computer is left for the amount of time you selected.


This trick only works if your coworkers and family doesn’t know your password, of course.  If you want to be sure that people can’t easily guess your password, check out our article on How to Automatically Lock Your Computer When Your Password is Entered Incorrectly.

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 09/22/10

Comments (11)

  1. Jaws4theRevenge

    The last link is broken.

  2. Jon

    Good advice! Not sure if it works if you didn’t enter a password when you created the account though.

  3. jasray

    Why wouldn’t one want to simply click Windows Key L–maybe a three second lock?

  4. Evan

    I use to have a bit of software on my laptop that would detect if my mobile phone was within bluetooth range and lock the computer when it was out of range, and unlock when it came back into range (or via a password).

  5. Hercule

    you can also just press “Windows+L” …and it’s done :D



  7. akash1810

    If you’re really paranoid you could create a system schedule task to lock your computer when it is idle for X minutes

    but win+l is probably the best method.

  8. Roi

    The link at the end is broken :(

  9. Santo

    The link “How to Automatically Lock Your Computer When Your Password is Entered Incorrectly” is broken.

  10. Matthew Guay

    Sorry for the dead link … the article is coming soon, and we’ll update the link as soon as it’s published. Hope it’s worth the wait ;)

  11. Sum^1

    Sir when i right click on windows 7 desktop my personlize option is missing how to re-enable it? thanx

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