We all use the ever-helpful Win + L hotkey to lock our Windows 7 system, but what if you want to display the desktop while your system is locked? The question as to why any user would want to do that is daunting. After all, one of the basic purposes of locking the system is to protect the work from prying eyes. Having said that, transparent lock could have some benefits too, especially on a family computer in the living room. It can also come useful if you want to check the status of the download or transfer progress without unlocking the logon screen repeatedly.
ClearLock is a small Windows utility which makes transparent lock possible by replacing the entire screen with a transparent layer, allowing anyone to see which windows and programs are open but restricts them from accessing the desktop.
Once ClearLock zip archive has been extracted, you will find the executable inside ‘Files ‘folder. Start ClearLock and it will ask you to enter password and reconfirm it. Once done, hit ClearLock executable again to lock Windows. Sadly, it does not replace the default Win + L hotkey but you can pin it to taskbar for quick access.
Once the desktop is locked using ClearLock, you will see the transparent desktop with a dialog box on top of it asking for password (as shown in the screenshot below). This password dialog box will vanish after a minute of inactivity, showing nothing except the desktop. Moving the mouse will show the dialog box again.
ClearLock works on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.