How to Lock Your Windows 10 PC

There are more ways than one to get to the Windows 10 Lock Screen

A padlock on a computer keyboard

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Locking your computer when you step away from it is one of the most fundamental security practices you can do. Yes, strong passwords and other aspects of “security hygiene” are important, but if someone gains physical access to your files, the battle is lost. But there’s no reason to leave your computer unlocked; there are no fewer than five simple ways to lock your computer when you leave the room, even for a quick errand.

How to Lock Windows 10 PC

Use the Windows Lock Key

Perhaps the single easiest and most reliable way to lock your computer is to press Windows Key+L. The computer will lock immediately, and you can enter your passcode when you come back to use it again.

Use Control+Alt+Delete as a Windows Lock Shortcut

This keyboard shortcut is among the oldest ever created that’s still in daily use by millions of computer users. To lock your computer, press Ctrl+Alt+Delete, then, on the options screen, select Lock.

Use the Start Menu to Lock the Screen

Windows generally gives you several ways to accomplish a common task, and this is a good example of a less common (and frankly more cumbersome) way to lock the screen.

  1. Select the Start menu.

  2. Select the user avatar for your Windows account on the left side of the screen.

    The Windows desktop with the Start menu open.
  3. Select Lock.

    The Windows desktop with the Start menu open and the Lock screen option selected..

Enable the Screen Saver to Automatically Lock the PC

If you use a screen saver, you can give it the additional duty of automatically locking the screen for you.

  1. Open the Control Panel.

    The Control Panel open on the Windows desktop.
  2. In the search box in the upper right corner, type "screen saver," then select Change screen saver.

  3. Set the amount of time you want the computer to wait before starting the screen saver, then select On resume, display logon screen.

    The Screen Saver Settings dialog box open on the Windows desktop.
  4. Select OK.

The longer you wait before starting the screen saver, the more time you give someone to gain access to your PC before it locks. But if you make it lock too soon, the screen saver can appear while you’re using the computer without moving the mouse or typing.

Use Your Phone with Dynamic Lock to Lock Windows 10

A new feature in the Windows 10 Creators Update, released in April 2019, is called Dynamic Lock. If you pair your smartphone with your computer, you can set your computer to automatically lock when you take your phone out of Bluetooth range.

Some things to keep in mind about Dynamic Lock:

  • Your computer must be equipped with Bluetooth.
  • If you take your phone away from your PC, but stay within Bluetooth range (about 30 feet), the computer won’t lock.
  • Even if you do take the phone outside Bluetooth range, it may take a couple of minutes for the computer to lock.

This feature isn’t ideal for everyone. That said, it’s convenient and cool in a high tech way, so you might want to turn this feature on as a backup for times when you forget to lock it manually in one of the other ways.

  1. Make sure your phone is on, unlocked, and near your computer.

  2. On your computer, open Windows' Settings.

    The WIndows Settings window open on the desktop.
  3. In the search box at the top of the Windows Settings window, type "Bluetooth," then press Enter.

  4. Select Bluetooth and other device settings.

    The Settings window displaying Bluetooth & other devices.
  5. If it’s not enabled, select the Bluetooth toggle. It will turn blue to indicate it’s on.

    The Settings window showing Bluetooth & other devices
  6. Select the + next to "Add Bluetooth or other device."

  7. In the Add a device window, select Bluetooth.

  8. Select your phone when it appears in the list. You should see notifications appear on both the PC and phone. Accept both of them.

  9. Back in Windows' Settings, select Home > Accounts.

  10. Select Sign-in options.

    The Settings window displaying Your info
  11. Scroll down to Dynamic Lock and select Allow Windows to automatically lock your device when you’re away.

    The Sign-in options window on the Windows desktop.