How to set up a custom screen lock time in Windows?

Issue: Hello. Can I change when my Windows computer locks after a certain period of time? If so, how do I do this? I keep forgetting to lock my PC after I step out for a while so this would be very useful.

Solved Answer

Setting a custom inactivity lock time on Windows is like having your own computer bouncer! It protects and secures your digital life while you are away. There's no need to be concerned about eavesdropping or unauthorized access because your computer will automatically lock itself after a set period of inactivity.

Consider this: you could be sipping a latte at your favorite cafe or taking a much-needed power nap while your computer is safe and sound. And, let's be honest, who doesn't enjoy a good nap? This feature is a lifesaver for those of us who share our space with others. No need to be concerned about your young cousin changing your desktop background to SpongeBob or a coworker accidentally pressing the wrong button.

Your computer is safe from all kinds of mischief thanks to the custom inactivity lock time. This feature is simple to configure and can be accessed via the Local Security Policy[1] or the Registry[2] Editor. It's as simple as fastening your seatbelt to ensure the safety of your computer.

How to set up a custom screen lock time in Windows

Method 1. Use the Local Security Policy

Think of the Local Security Policy as the gatekeeper to your digital world. With it, you have the ability to control who can access your computer, what actions they can take, and how long your computer will remain unlocked when you're away.

  • Type Local Security Policy in Windows Search
  • Click Local Security Policy under Best match to open it
  • Alternatively, press the Windows key + R to open the Run box, type secpol.msc and click OK
  • Expand Local Policies in the left pane by clicking the down arrow
  • Open Security Options in the right pane
  • Scroll down to Interactive logon: Machine inactivity limit and double-click to open its properties

Use the Local Security Policy

  • Under Machine will be locked after, enter the time in seconds after which you want your PC to get locked (0-599940 seconds)
  • Click Apply and OK
  • Close Local Security Policy and restart the computer for changes to take effect
  • To reverse the action, change the time to 0 in the Interactive logon: Machine inactivity limit policy

Note: 0 is the default setting and will not lock your PC automatically

Method 2. Use the Registry Editor

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While setting a custom inactivity lock time on your Windows computer is a fantastic way to protect your digital life, there are some potential risks involved with modifying the Windows Registry. The Registry is a powerful tool and making incorrect changes to it can cause serious issues with your computer's performance.

But don't worry, we've got you covered! Before making any changes to the Registry, it's always best to back it up. This way, if anything goes wrong, you can quickly restore it to its previous state. Our guide on How to back up and restore the Windows registry? is easy to follow and will ensure that you're able to make these changes with confidence.

  • Type Registry Editor in Windows Search and select Registry Editor under Best match
  • Click Yes on the UAC prompt
  • In the left pane, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
  • Scroll down to find InactivityTimeoutSecs DWORD in the right pane

Use the Registry Editor

  • Double-click InactivityTimeoutSecs DWORD to modify its value
  • Select Decimal under Base and enter a number between 0 to 599940 under Value data (time in seconds)
  • Tap OK
  • If InactivityTimeoutSecs DWORD does not exist, create it by right-clicking on the System key folder or right-clicking on the right pane of the System key
  • Select New then DWORD (32-bit) Value
  • Name it InactivityTimeoutSecs
  • Double-click InactivityTimeoutSecs DWORD and enter the desired time
  • Close Registry Editor and restart the PC for changes to take effect

Note: To stop the PC from getting locked automatically, modify the InactivityTimeoutSecs DWORD value by changing the time to 0 seconds

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About the author
Jake Doe
Jake Doe - Computer technology geek

Jake Doe is the news editor at UGetFix. Since he met Ugnius Kiguolis in 2003, they both launched several projects that spread awareness about cybercrimes, malware, and other computer-related problems.

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