Automatically locking your PC is one of the essential features for those who need to keep their activity & information private no matter what. Whether to prevent a slight discomfort or someone else peeking your work, this feature probably is a must-have for you.
Before we begin, let us give you a swift reminder that there is a quick way to manually lock your PC by simply pressing Windows key + L at the same time. You can also hit Ctrl + Alt + Del and select Lock from the menu to do the same. With that said, there’s no guarantee that you won’t forget to lock your device at some point.
Luckily, Windows already has a feature that lets you lock your PC automatically after a set period. We will let you know that this feature has long been available, even dating back from the XP era. Yet, since it’s not a straightforward thing, many people may not realize the existence of this very feature and left in the dark until this day. This particular elusive feature will be the first one we discuss in this article.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at one way to automatically lock your Windows PC by taking advantage of the screen saver settings.
Automatical Locking Using the Screen Saver
- Open the Start menu by hitting the Windows key or clicking the Start button on the bottom-left corner of the screen. If you have an updated version of Windows 10, you can simply click the Search bar beside the Start button at the bottom-left.
- Type in “Change screen saver”, then hit Enter.
- Select the screen saver from the dropdown list. You can leave it at (None) or choose from the available options. You can download and install a screen saver from the internet if you want.
- Pick the wait time. Whichever minutes you set will be the waiting period before your PC lock itself.
- Tick the “On resume, display logon screen” box. Ticking this box decides whether you wish to automatically lock your screen or not.
- Click OK.
Once you‘ve done all the prerequisite steps, your PC will go into screen saver mode after the predetermined time. If anybody—including you—touch your mouse or keyboard, they will need to enter the password you set up.
This particular procedure is should be good enough for your needs. The only downside with this technique is you need to wait after a certain time for your PC to lock itself. You can opt to cut the wait time short to only one minute for instance. However, this method would only annoy you since the PC will lock very frequently if you also doing other things while working, such as checking your phone.
With Windows 10, Microsoft gives you a more dedicated, straightforward means to do the same. It’s fairly easy to set up and you only one more device to do this: another Bluetooth device like a smartphone.
Automatical Locking Using a Smartphone
To start using this feature, first, you need to pair your phone with your computer. Here’s a to-do list to help you. If you already the know-how, you can skip this entire part.
- On the Search bar beside the Start button, type in “Bluetooth and other devices” and hit Enter (If you forget how to access the Search bar, refer to the previous method).
- Click the Add Bluetooth or other devices button at the top of the Settings window.
- Add a device window will pop up. Select Bluetooth, then choose your device. Don’t forget to turn the Bluetooth on your phone beforehand.
- A new prompt should appear requesting permission to connect both devices. Accept the permission from both your PC and your phone.
Updating the Bluetooth Driver
Some users report that their devices can’t detect each other, even after double-checking that the Bluetooth is on. This problem can often be solved by updating your PC Bluetooth driver. Once again, if you don’t have a clue on how to do so, here’s how:
- On the Search bar beside the Start button, type in “Device Manager” and hit Enter.
- You’ll see a list of all your hardware drivers on the window. Look for one that manages your Bluetooth hardware called Bluetooth. Click the arrow beside it, then right-click the first item listed, select Update driver.
- Choose Search automatically for updated driver software. Afterward, if it goes smoothly, you only need to wait until the driver is installed. Otherwise, you can manually download the driver and install it.
Now, your PC\laptop and smartphone are connected and ready to go. The feature we are about to use is officially called Dynamic lock. Once you’re sure that both devices are connected, follow these steps:
- On the Search bar beside the Start button, type in “Dynamic lock” and hit Enter.
- From there, you’ll be redirected to the Sign-in options window. Scroll down to the Dynamic lock section.
- Once you’ve found it, you should see a tick box with a text saying: Allow Windows to detect when you’re away and automatically lock the device. Check the box.
Voila! That’s all you need to do. You can rest assured that if you take your phone away out of the Bluetooth range, your PC will automatically lock itself. Note that it doesn’t happen immediately. In our experience, it usually takes about 30 seconds to one minute before the device is locked out.
There are various methods besides the two above to automatically lock your Windows 10 device. But, in our opinion, the methods we presented are vastly more intuitive to set up while also give you the result you need. Having said that, no methods are perfect. For instance, The Dynamic lock feature depends on one technology that is known to have problems: Bluetooth. So, in the future, if you find that this feature actually gives you more headaches than it should, you can always revert to the good old screen saver feature.