How to Lock Your Unix Computer

Lock Computer Home

There are several ways to lock your computer, and the method you choose is a matter of personal preference.


The various distributions of Linux and UNIX have different ways of enabling a password-protected screensaver. For users using a graphical Linux installation, one of the most popular is using a package called XScreensaver. If you do not have a password-protected screensaver that will allow you to lock your computer desktop, please go to the XScreensaver website to download the latest version.

The most basic instructions are to make sure that you have the package "XScreensaver" installed via your distribution's packaging system. You can run "XScreensaver-demo" from a command line to pop up a window with information about configuring your screensaver. In the console for XScreensaver-demo, you MUST check the box in the lower left-hand corner for <Lock Screen> and set the <Start Automatically> option to an appropriate value of 15 minutes or less

Redhat Enterprise Linux (GNOME Desktop)

XScreensaver works under GNOME. You can use the "XScreensaver-demo" command to configure it. If the daemon is not running correctly, it will prompt you to start the daemon. Click on <Yes> to start the daemon and then to lock the screen on demand, click on the lock and key in the GNOME toolbar.

Lock Computer Options:

  • via Top Menu Bar
    Go to <Action><Lock Screen>
  • via a Shortcut
    If you don't what to use the top menu bar, you can enable a keyboard shortcut to lock your computer. Under the <Action> column, find <Lock Screen> and click on <Disabled> under the <Shortcut> column. We suggest using <ATL+L> as your keyboard shortcut to LOCK your computer.


 

  • Is Your Screen Saver Enabled?
    Make sure
    you have selected a screen saver and it is set to start within 15 minutes of inactivity.

Redhat Enterprise Linux (KDE Desktop)

XScreensaver may not work correctly under KDE. For KDE, open the KDE Control Center. Expand <Appearance & Themes> and then click on <Screen Saver>. You MUST configure the settings at the bottom of the panel to <Start Automatically>, as well as Require Password to stop. Set the <Start Automatically> option to an appropriate value of of 15 minutes or less.

Is Your Screen Saver Enabled?
Make sure
you have selected a screen saver and it is set to start within 15 minutes of inactivity.

If you experience problems, please contact the ITD Helpdesk, (631.344.5522, itdhelp@bnl.gov) for assistance.

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Last Modified: January 31, 2008
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