Q: What are some shortcuts for locking the Windows desktop without using the Start menu?

A: Besides the Lock option on the Windows Start Menu, you can also simultaneously press the Windows and L keys on your keyboard. You can also use a desktop shortcut link. To create a desktop shortcut for locking your desktop, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click your desktop and select New, Shortcut to start the Create Shortcut wizard.
  2. On the first page of the wizard, enter the following path in the location of the item box:

    rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation


  4. Click Next.
  5. On the next page, type a name for the shortcut as you want it to appear on your desktop.
  6. Click Finish.


To change the icon of your shortcut—the default icon is a file symbol—you can use these additional configuration steps:

  1. Right-click the shortcut and select Properties.
  2. On the Shortcut page, click the Change Icon… button.
  3. On the Change Icon page, enter the following path:



  5. Select whatever icon you prefer (there several key and lock icons in the list) and click OK.
  6. Click Apply.


Remember that in Windows Active Directory domain environments, administrators can also use Group Policy Object (GPO) settings to automatically lock user desktops after a certain amount of idle time and password protect them. To do so, they must use the Enable screen saver, Screen saver timeout and Password protect the screen saver settings in the User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Control Panel\Personalization GPO container.

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