If you’re playing music on your Windows 10 PC, regardless of which app you’re playing it in, it will continue to play even after your system is locked. It will even prevent the system from going to sleep. This holds true for most apps with few exceptions e.g., Netflix will pause automatically, but it’s one of the few apps that do that. You can set an app to pause automatically when you lock the screen, or you can go with something simpler; mute the audio.
Mute audio on lock
Windows 10 remembers the volume for a device, e.g., the built-in speakers and for headphones. When you connect a device to your PC, Windows 10 will automatically change the volume level to whatever you set for it when it was last used. Likewise, it can also remember volume on a per-app basis. That said, if you want to mute audio on system lock, you’re going to need a third-party app.
WinMute is a free, open-source app that can automatically mute audio on system lock. You can download it from Github.
- Download WinMute and run the app. It does not need to be installed, and it will run in the system tray.
- Play audio or a video. It doesn’t matter which app you use.
- Tap Win+L to lock the system.
- The audio will be muted automatically.
- Unlock your system, and the audio will be restored to its original level.
WinMute will work with any and all apps that can play audio. This means it will work with Netflix, any browser that you use, VLC player, the stock Movies & TV app, iTunes, and more. The reason the app works for all other apps is that it isn’t muting an app. Instead, it is controlling volume on a system level. You can have the volume in an app turned all the way up, but if the system volume is muted, you won’t hear any sound.
The app does have one limitation though it’s less a limitation and more a scope thing. It is muting the audio. It isn’t going to pause whatever is playing. If you’re watching a movie and have to get up, you can lock your system and mute it at the same time, but the movie will continue to play, and you’ll lose your spot.
WinMute doesn’t just work on system lock. It also mutes audio when the screen saver starts up. Screensavers do still exist on Windows 10, and if you happen to use them, they too will trigger the app. If you prefer that a screensaver not trigger it, you can disable it from the app’s options in the system tray.