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Windows 11 Security: How To Set up Dynamic Lock

Dynamic Lock is a Windows 11 security feature that can protect unattended PCs. Here’s how to enable Dynamic Lock.

Since Microsoft’s release of Windows 11, I have read countless articles about how hardware requirements make the operating system far more secure than its predecessor. While I applaud Microsoft for taking steps to make Windows more secure, there remain fundamental security issues that cannot be solved with a TPM chip. No matter how secure an operating system might be, the end user will always be a weak link.

Users often behave in risky ways, sometimes without even realizing it. For example, how many times have you seen a user walk away from their desk without signing out of their PC?

Some organizations try to circumvent this problem by configuring PCs to automatically lock after a period of inactivity. However, even this solution has gaps. If a user leaves their PC without logging out, the PC will remain accessible for a time before the locking mechanism engages.

These types of automatic locks are problematic from an end-user standpoint, as well. It’s extremely annoying to be in the middle of reading something on the monitor only to have your PC lock because the system thinks you are inactive. And don’t even get me started on the annoyance of having a PC lock because you stopped what you were doing to answer the phone.

Thankfully, Windows has an alternative to inactivity-based locking mechanisms: Dynamic Lock. A Windows 10 and Windows 11 security feature, Dynamic Lock is designed to automatically lock a PC only when a user steps away.

The Dynamic Lock feature works by connecting via Bluetooth to the user’s smartphone. If a user walks beyond Bluetooth range, their PC will automatically lock. Granted, it isn’t a perfect solution since a user could conceivably just leave their smartphone at their desk. Most users probably aren’t going to leave their phones unattended very often, however.

Turn on Dynamic Lock To Boost Windows 11 Security 

The following explains how to set up Dynamic Lock in Windows 11.

To get started, open Settings and then click on Devices, followed by Bluetooth and Other Devices. Make sure that Bluetooth is turned on and then check to see if a smartphone is already paired with the device. If a phone has not yet been paired, you will need to place the phone into Bluetooth pairing mode. Then, click the Add Device button, which you can see in Figure 1.

Figure 1

Brien Poseyscreenshot of step to set up Windows 11 security feature Dynamic Lock

Make sure that Bluetooth is enabled on the smartphone and then click the Add Device button.

At this point, you will see a screen like the screenshot shown in Figure 2, asking you what type of device you want to add. Choose the Bluetooth option. Windows should detect the smartphone. If the smartphone is not detected, double-check that the phone is in pairing mode.

Figure 2

Brien Poseyscreenshot of the add a device screen on Windows 11

Select the Bluetooth option when prompted to choose a kind of device to add.

When Windows detects the device, click the device on the screen to add it. Doing so will cause the smartphone to display a PIN code. Windows will display a prompt asking you if the PIN code that is shown onscreen matches the code displayed on the device. Assuming the code matches, click “yes” to pair the device.

With the device now paired, you can move forward with enabling the Dynamic Lock feature. Go to Settings and click on Accounts. When the Accounts screen is displayed, select the Sign-in options tab. Simply select the checkbox that’s located in the Dynamic Lock section to enable the feature. As you can see in Figure 3, selecting this checkbox will cause Windows to automatically lock your device when you are away.

Figure 3

Brien Poseyscreenshot of Dynamic Lock setting on Windows 11

You can enable the Windows 11 Dynamic Lock feature by selecting the checkbox in the Dynamic Lock section.

Dynamic Lock Limitations 

Just like any security feature, Dynamic Lock isn’t perfect. Determined users can circumvent it. Even so, Dynamic Lock can be used as a part of a defense-in-depth strategy that uses various Windows 11 security features to increase the overall security of a device.

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