How Can I Lock My Laptop So No One Can Use It?


Laptop computers get left out in the open a lot, In airports, at office parks, and in dorm rooms. Securing your laptop so that someone else can't casually come by and use it is a basic security measure. The usual method of doing this involves requiring a user to enter the account password to bypass the screen saver. This can be done both on Mac OS X and Windows 7. While it isn't perfect security, it is usually sufficient to deter casual snooping.


  • Click on the Apple menu, then select "System Preferences" and open that panel. It will have a number of icons. One of the icons will be "Desktop and Screen Saver."

  • Double-click on the "Desktop & Screen Saver" icon. You will be able to select a particular screen saver, how long before the computer activates it when no keyboard input is entered, and you'll be able to define a "Hot Corner." When a corner is selected, you can move your mouse to the corner and the screen saver will activate. Click "Apply" to save these settings.

  • Double-click on the "Security" icon in the "System Preferences" panel. On the screen that comes up, click on the checkbox that says "Require password to wake this computer from sleep or screen saver." Click "Apply" to save these settings.

Windows 7

  • Click on the "Start" button, then select "Control Panel" from the menu. Type "screen saver" in the box.

  • Click the link that says "Set screen saver password." This will bring up the Screen Saver dialog panel.

  • Check the checkbox that says "On resume, require log-on" box, and set a time delay for when the screen saver will begin with no user input.

  • Click "Apply."

Tips & Warnings

  • Some computers have BIOS level screen savers, or password or biometric based security. These provide an additional level of security on the computer, but vary considerably by manufacturer. Consult your computer's manual for enabling these features.

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  • Photo Credit Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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