Windows is a flexible OS that lets you do almost anything you want. You can control almost every aspect of it except, it seems, you cannot control when Windows 10 will lock. In fact, it doesn’t seem like you can automate locking Windows 10 unless you’re using Dynamic Lock. The truth is, you can automatically lock Windows 10 if your system has been idle for too long. The setting has been there from the very start and it is in fact a feature that was present in Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8/8.1.
To be clear, we’re talking about your system locking i.e. the same thing that happens when you tap Win+L. Your display will not be put to sleep, your system will not be put to sleep either. If those are the settings you’re looking for, go to Power Options in the Control Panel or go to the System group of settings in the Settings app and look under the Power & Sleep tab.
Automatically Lock Windows 10
Windows 10 still has a screensaver. You might recall that the screensaver, if active, can also lock your system. It’s always done that even in older versions of Windows. To automatically lock Windows 10 after you’ve been inactive for a while, you need to enable the screensaver.
Open the Settings app and go to the Personalization group of settings. Select the Lock Screen tab, and scroll to the very end. You will an option called Screen saver settings. Click it.
On the Screen saver settings window, open the dropdown and select ‘Blank’, or anything else. In the ‘Wait’ field, enter the autolock time period. For example, if you enter 1, the screensaver will activate if you’ve been inactive for 1 minute. Next, make sure you enable the ‘On resume, display logon screen’ option. This is what locks Windows 10.
That’s all you need to do. You can set the auto-lock time to as low as one minute. If you routinely forget to lock your system when you get up, you can enable a blank screensaver and it will automatically lock Windows 10 for you if you’ve been inactive too long. The best bit about this trick is that you can customize how long your system should be idle before it is automatically locked.
Automatically Sleep Windows 10
If you’re looking to automatically sleep Windows 10, and have it ask for a password when you wake your system, you can do that as well and you don’t need to enable a screensaver for it.
Open the Settings app and go to the Display group of settings. Select the Power & Sleep tab. Scroll down to the Power option and select when your system should sleep when it’s on battery, and when it’s plugged it.
Next, go to the Accounts group of settings. Select the Sign-in Options tab. Under the Require Sign-in section, select ‘When PC wakes from sleep’.
Many Windows 10 systems take a long time to come out of sleep, and some end up stuck on a blank screen. This has been a recurring problem with Windows 10 since day which is why the auto-lock option is more suitable.