How-To Geek

Lock The Screen While in Full-Screen Mode in Windows Media Player

If you are throwing a party and listening to music or videos using Windows Media Player, you’ll probably not want anybody messing with the rest of your computer while you are off trying to win somebody’s affection.

Windows Media Player includes a feature that will let you lock the screen while still making the interface usable, so you can still easily switch music or videos while the screen is locked.

Open up WMP in full-screen mode, and you’ll notice a small icon in the bottom-right hand corner of the screen.


Clicking on that icon will open up a small textbox where you can enter a PIN code, and then click the green checkbox.


Now your screen should be locked, and the Alt-Tab or Windows keys won’t work anymore until you click the lock icon and then enter your PIN again.


It’s worth noting that if you have screenshot software installed such as SnagIt, the screenshot mode will interrupt the lock mode, so you’ll want to close that down before you do this.

Thanks to Reader Ebrahim for writing in with this tip.

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 12/13/07

Comments (35)

  1. eamonn

    my wmp [v11] doesn’t have that feature

  2. YoShi

    If you start up your taskmanager that Fullscreen mode is gone :P

  3. Cristián Rojas

    Only for Vista, right?

  4. User

    May want to mention what version of WMP supports this feature, as it is not in every version.

  5. The Geek

    My apologies for the confusion… Vista includes this feature.

  6. David

    My Vista WMP doesn’t have this….

  7. Ebrahim

    It works only with Media palyer that bundled with VISTA. And i think it only works with Vista Ultimate Edition maybe.

  8. Ryan

    David: Then update to the latest version

  9. Pete

    I use my WMP every day & am all over it yet, I’ve never seen this option. It’d be a much better article if the author would’ve at least put what versions he was working with.

  10. kraymah

    i have vista ultimate and i can’t see this feature on wmp 11

  11. Triston

    Version 11 you have to have a visualization or video playing, album art wont do it, press alt+enter to get full screen mode or go to View>Fullscreen

  12. Ebrahim

    Hey Pete you must first go into the full screen mode and then the feature will be activate and you can use it.

    As i said before i see this feature in WMP11 that come with VISTA and it’s file version is 11.0.6000.6324.

  13. Wong Bater

    “win someones affection”….lol

  14. Arturo

    Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete disables it so there’s no point in using it…

  15. InDiSent

    Yeh, this doesn’t work on my XP SP2 machine. I have an older version of WMP. 11.0.5721.5230, but when i check for updates it says that i have the latest version. So, it looks like this is for Vista only………for now.

  16. Anonymous_349

    I’m currently running vista Ultimate x32 w/ WMP v11.0.6000.6344 and it DOES NOT have that full screen lock feature. And as far as I recall, I’ve NEVER updated my WMP so this should be the default on Vista Ultimate (Australia).

    My suggestion is for you to see if you or anyone that has acces to your PC had installed any plug-ins/extras on your machine. because I can tell you right now that this feature is NOT even descriibed on the MS WMP manual.
    Even though it should be imo…

  17. Kim Jong

    I tried it….. In full screen mode, I saw an open LOCK after clicking the icon and I entered a pin to lock the screen. The LOCK changed to lock position, but the screen is still not locked at all.
    I can hit the STOP button on the screen and the video stops.
    I can hit Ctl-Alt-Del and the video stops too.

    I am using Vista Home Premium on HP Pavillion dv6000

  18. Katy

    It’s hard to finally get it, but once I did it worked well as far as I can tell. Thank you!


    I got it but it doesnt stay locked for long. Can someone please help me. I’d like to watch a movie without costantly having to lock in full screen. Thanks in advance.

  20. salada

    You have to be PLAYING a file, and also have the player in FULL SCREEN, (press ALT + ENTER) then you will see the lock icon in bottom right corner. Its ALL versions of media player… But it is easily broken as people have already pointed out so kind of useless…

  21. ingrid duft

    Hello everyone,

    I did try to lock my screen to full screen mode, it only stays foor a couple of minutes, and reverts itself to the smaller version, any comment….. I am watching internet TV, but it is not enjoyable, even that the various channels display well.

  22. Johnathan Stamos

    I’m having the same problem as ingrid I put it in full screen and lock it but it just unlocks and reverts to the smaller window no matter what I’m playing, though this may be due to another problem that has been minimizing all my full screen programs to windows, if they cannot go windowed they get minimized to the taskbar, and reverting to the desktop. Any ideas on how to fix this? Its REALLY annoying when playing games!

  23. Bodestone

    Yup. I found the lock Icon first time in wmp11 that came with Vista.
    Unfortunately it does me no good.
    When watching a video playlist it drops out of full screen mode in the last 10 seconds or so of every video. If the lock is on it removes it. There are no other applications open and I am pretty certain the system tray/notification area is being quiet.

  24. James

    I have the new version of Windows 7 RC1, was wondering if anyone know if it does/doesn’t come with this feature.

  25. Torjus

    Anyone know how to fix the problem with ctrl + alt + del? it jumps out as some people has pointed out!

  26. hj

    but if you forgot the pin number?

  27. prof. zulueta

    hi, how do you close a screenshot software so that the full screen stays locked? Thank you.

  28. abhi

    how to lock media player in window xp service pack2 .

    or how to lock any version of media player in windows xp service pack2

  29. swastik

    how to make connection remote desktop in windows xp sp2
    although i have tried :-start – accessories- communication – remote desktop connection but it ask user name and password whenever i enabled remote desktop in my computer properties and nothing is any password to the pc . help me plz plz plz

  30. Anton

    I think I worked out how to fix it. I had turned my screensaver off, but I noticed that it was set at 10 minutes so I turned the screensaver on and then changed it to 450 minutes and then turned it back off. No problems whatsoever now. Hope it works for you guys.

  31. valentine

    what happens when I use movie maker to create a file to be burn into an empty cd, which was supposed to come out as video after burning, rather it comes out as audio cd and plays like audio files. please kindly tell me what to do.

  32. secret

    even if you do lock the screen it is very unsercure

  33. dhiraj

    i want to download lock the screen while full-screen mode in windows media player for xp.

  34. Shaun

    The problem you guys are experiencing when the smaller version of Media player appears after a while and your lock is disabled is Because you have to set Media player to not be interfered by the Windows screensaver during playback.

    If its not set that way after your screensaver try’s to start, You will loose the WMP fullscreen image and your lock is then disabled.

    Your 2 options are to either disable Screensaver completely or under the WMP options select the Player tab and make sure that you clear the checkbox that allow’s screensavers during playback.

    Please note that if your playlist finishes at any point in time your lock will be disabled as soon as the screensaver starts….

    So i suggest selecting the loop playlist feature.

    Regards Shaun

  35. Fern

    This is why I’ve dropped Windows like a bad ex-girlfriend, ha ha just kidden good tip man

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