ARCHIVED: In Windows, how do I lock my workstation without logging off?

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In Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP, you can lock your workstation manually or by using your screen saver.

Note: The following may not cover all methods or variables pertaining to your computer, such as whether Fast User Switching is enabled or disabled. For details, see Microsoft Support; e.g., for Windows XP, see article 294317.

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Manually locking your computer

Five methods are available for manually locking your computer:

Method 1 (Windows 8 only)

From the Start screen, click or tap your account name in the upper-right corner, and then choose Lock.

For help navigating, see Get around in Windows.

Method 2

To immediately lock your computer, press Win-l (the letter L).

Method 3 (Windows Vista in non-Classic mode only)

In the Start menu, click the lock icon.

Method 4

Press Ctrl-Alt-Del, and then click Lock this computer, Lock Computer, or Lock.

Method 5

To create a desktop shortcut that will lock your computer when you double-click it:

  1. Right-click the desktop, select New, and then click Shortcut. This will open the Create Shortcut wizard.
  2. For the location of the item, type:
      %windir%\System32\rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation
  3. Click Next.
  4. Type an appropriate name for this shortcut, and then click Finish.

You will now have a shortcut on your desktop that will lock your computer when you double-click it.

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Locking your computer through the screen saver

To set up your screen saver to automatically lock your computer:

  1. In Windows 8, 7, and Vista, right-click the desktop, and then select Personalize. In earlier versions, right-click the desktop, and then select Properties.
  2. In Windows 8, 7, and Vista, in the Personalization window, select Screen Saver.

    In Windows XP, in the Display Properties window, select the Screen Saver tab.

  3. From the drop-down list, select a screen saver file.
  4. In the "Wait:" field, set the amount of time you want the screen saver to wait for activity before starting.
  5. Depending on your version of Windows, check the appropriate box:
    • On resume, display logon screen
    • On resume, password protect
    • Password protected

    Click OK. From now on, when the screen saver comes on, your workstation will be locked.

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Unlocking your computer

Regardless of how you lock your computer, to unlock it, press Ctrl-Alt-Del. A window will appear where you can enter the password for the username under which you're logged in.

Administrators for either the local computer or the domain can unlock a locked computer by entering their usernames and passwords at the login prompt. This will log the current user out, but will not log the administrator in. At this point, any user with login rights can log into the computer normally.

Note: If you are the local computer administrator, log into the local computer rather than the domain. Also, by using the administrator login to unlock the workstation, you will erase all unsaved work.

If your domain username is in the Administrators group, you can enter your domain name and domain password, and then select the proper domain from the drop-down list. You are not required to log into the local computer. This will also unlock the workstation and erase all unsaved work.

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Last modified on 2018-01-18 10:35:22.