Four ways to lock your screen on Windows and macOS

Four handy ways to lock your screen on Windows and macOS.

How to lock your screen quickly and easily on Windows and macOS

Not every company employee feels the need to lock the screen when leaving their work computer unattended. However, doing so is in fact a rather important aspect of corporate information security: if physically inside the office, an attacker can use an unguarded, unlocked computer to get valuable information or install malware. Therefore, one of the basic rules that employees need to be taught is to always lock their computer when they leave their desk.

Probably the best-known way to lock the screen is through the menu. To do this on Windows the user needs to open the Start Menu by clicking the Windows Logo icon, then click the User icon, followed by Lock. Alternatively, they can press Ctrl + Alt + Del and click Lock on the screen that opens – or simply press Enter after the Ctrl + Alt + Del.

Similarly, on macOS the user needs to click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of the screen and select Lock Screen from the menu.

Not the most complicated of actions, but they do involve a certain amount of mouse moving and clicking. And judging by the number of people who don’t bother to lock their machines, many seem to find it too much of a chore. The good news is that there are plenty of alternative ways to lock your computer. So, if you lost all hope on convincing your colleagues to use the basic option, suggest them to try more simpler and faster ones.

Method 1: use a keyboard shortcut

It’s possible to lock your computer literally in a second using a couple of keys — and you don’t even have to configure anything. The Windows and macOS shortcuts are both set by default.

  • On Windows (10 or 11), just press Windows + L.
  • On macOS, the combo you need is Control + Command + Q.

Method 2: use the power button

There’s an even easier method on modern Macs: resting your finger on the Touch ID sensor locks the screen instantly (Apple keyboards without Touch ID have a special Lock key instead). So no more searching the keyboard for the right shortcut — this one “button” is all you need.

Sadly for Windows users, there’s no equivalent. But the computer can be configured so that pressing the power button puts it to sleep and locks it at the same time. To do this, in the Power and sleep settings, go to Choose what the power buttons do in the Additional power settings, find When I press the power button and select Sleep. Also, in the Sign-in options, find Require sign-in and select Always.

Method 3: just move the pointer

macOS has a feature called Hot Corners. Its purpose is very simple: moving the pointer to one of the four corners of the screen triggers a predefined action. Such action can be screen locking. Set-up takes just a couple of minutes, after which you’re able to lock the screen with one move of the pointer to the chosen corner.

Windows has no Hot Corners feature out-of-the-box. However, there is a tool called WinXCorners that lets you add it to the system and use a corner, for example, to lock the screen.

If you’d rather not install anything, Windows offers a close alternative: you can place on your desktop a shortcut which, when double-clicked, locks the computer. Simply create a new shortcut, and in the Type the location of the item box, enter the following:

%windir%\System32\rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation

Method 4: use Dynamic Lock

Finally, the best option for the ultra-forgetful: Dynamic Lock in Windows 10 and 11 (Bluetooth required). This feature automatically locks your computer when you and your paired device move out of Bluetooth range. Here’s how to set it up.

Although macOS has no such native feature, you can download the Near Lock app, which does exactly the same job. It even lets you use not only your iPhone, but also your Apple Watch to automatically lock your Mac. The latter is perhaps the safer option: you may not always take your phone with you everywhere you go in the office, while (perhaps) there’s more chance of your keeping your watch on your wrist.

And of course, you should always configure all your devices to auto-lock after a certain period of inactivity.

More knowledge, more security

To arm your company’s employees with more valuable, basic knowledge and useful skills related to cybersecurity, training is the way to go. For example, this can be organized with our Kaspersky Automated Security Awareness Platform.