Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Windows key+L: Lock desktop

Posted in Windows by estephen on March 16th, 2007

This one’s useful for laptops or whenever you want some privacy: Assuming you’ve set up a password for your Windows login username, press the Windows key+L. Immediately, the Lock Dialog will appear. To use your computer again, you must press Ctrl+Alt+Del, enter your password, and press Enter.

26 Responses to 'Windows key+L: Lock desktop'

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  1. Ksilebo said,

    on March 18th, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    The Ctrl+Alt+Delete is only required if the WIn XP computer is on a domain. Not sure how this works with Win2k3, or when Vista is on a domain.

  2. Kevin said,

    on March 18th, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    If you have XP Home set up with multiple users, this will take you to the “switch user” screen.

  3. Bashi said,

    on September 6th, 2007 at 3:57 am

    On my workstation Windows (key) +L doesn’t work. Can anybody help me with this?

  4. estephen said,

    on September 6th, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    What does it do instead? What version of Windows are you running? And do you have a username and password you have to enter when you log on?

  5. Bashi said,

    on September 7th, 2007 at 6:13 am

    I have windows 2000 server installed. The Window (key) + l combination doesn’t do anything.

    i do have a username and password to enter when i log in.

  6. estephen said,

    on September 7th, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    Ok, try this:
    1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete
    2. Select the “Lock Computer” button (by pressing either Enter, since it’s default, or K, since that letter is underlined)

    Do you see the appropriate “Computer Locked” dialog when you do that?

  7. Bashi said,

    on September 11th, 2007 at 12:51 am

    The “Ctrl+alt+del” does work on my machine. The computer is also locked properly on “Ctrl+Alt+Del” combination.

    I wanted a shortcut for this. As it is said here the ” Windows(key) +l” combination. this doesnot work on my machine.

    Is there anything on the comp wherein we can enable or disable these shortcuts? If there is any please do let me know.

    Thanks a lot for all your help.

  8. estephen said,

    on September 11th, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    Bashi, sorry to hear Windows+L isn’t working for you. I’ve never heard of this issue before, and there isn’t normally a way to disable these keystrokes, so I don’t know why it’s not working.

    Short of contacting Microsoft for help, my only suggestion is to use Ctrl+Alt+Delete, Enter in the meantime.

  9. Bashi said,

    on September 11th, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    anyways thanks a lot for ur help.

  10. Moje said,

    on October 14th, 2007 at 6:38 am


    There is a way how to enable/disable shortcuts functionality via windows registry. You need to go to
    If this key does not exist, create it.(There will be already key explorer in key Policies, so create key System)
    Then you need to add a value type DWORD, with value
    0 – enable Win+L shortcut
    1 – disable Win+L shortcut

    Should work for both XP and Vista.

    However, it may not work on some PCs… not sure why, though…

  11. Moje said,

    on October 14th, 2007 at 6:40 am

    Hm, might interest you that the value’s name is
    So it will look like this

    DisableLockWorkstation REG_DWORD 0x0000000x(x)

    where x is either 1 or 0.

  12. Moje said,

    on October 14th, 2007 at 6:43 am

    Yep, one more thing… if this value exists, it may be reason why Win+L does not work… try deleting it then…

  13. Mako said,

    on July 2nd, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    I think Windows+L is a wonderfully useful keyboard shortcut. (Clearly, I lock my workstation often.)

    This shortcut is new in Windows XP; it wasn’t available on Windows 2000. So back on 2000, one annoying alternative for Windows+L would be to press Ctrl+Alt+Del, then press Enter (because Lock is usually the default button selected) or K (the mnemonic).

  14. Rostgrm said,

    on August 4th, 2008 at 7:07 am

    Hi guys,
    My dear computer doesn’t want to lock itself on Win+L. The registry key doesn’t help. WinXP Professional 2nd SP. It also was with my Home Edition. Help pls.

  15. estephen said,

    on August 16th, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Does anything happen when you hit Windows Key + L? Do you have multiple users switched on?

  16. Sam said,

    on September 26th, 2008 at 12:40 am

    Hi, i have a laptop with win xp sp2… my win+L key responds slowly… means when i press this keys the screen which shows “your computer is in use and has been locked” comes after some times till that time nothing appears.. can u help me with this???

  17. Carlos said,

    on August 18th, 2009 at 7:49 am

    I love this feature, but when I unlock, all keys respond as if I were holding down the windows key. I have to hit the windows key again or the keyboard misbehaves. I can’t seem to find any references to this, even though this has happened on an HP and a Lenovo laptop running vista and Windows 7.

  18. Michael said,

    on April 3rd, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Had this problem, turned out to be some quarantined items in Avira. Used the Avira option to delete the quarantined items and full windows+L functionality returned.

    Keeping it simple is usually the easiest way to fix a problem, I can’t believe people were recommending the changes above so boldly — There are few reasons to change the windows registry, especially if you’re a “normal” user.

    Hope this helps someone. Cheers.

  19. Ashley said,

    on July 4th, 2011 at 12:37 am

    I had this same issue, XP professional the Win+L just didn’t work at all. Checked the registry for the above entries, doesn’t have any of those. Noticed that my machine was strangely unlocked when I got to work on Monday morning. Tried the Win+L several times nothing. Then did a Ctrl+Alt+Del, and the machine came back immediately saying the computer was locked (no enter required) – showing the login name and the password prompt. Unlocked the machine, tried the Ctrl+Alt+Del again, this time it was behaving normally. I had to press Ctrl+Alt+Del to get the login prompts. And hey presto, the Win+L is working again like magic, still don’t have a clue what the problem was…..

  20. Ryan said,

    on May 30th, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Win+L stops working for me sometimes after I RDP into my machine.

    Press ESC, CTRL, ALT in some crazy random order over and over; seems to restore my ability to Win+L.

  21. Richard said,

    on July 13th, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Using this feature turned my entire display black and the only thing I could see was the mouse pointer. There could be an issue with using this while running Sysinternals multiple desktop software.

  22. yelena said,

    on July 16th, 2013 at 3:39 am

    go to regidtry editor/Hkeyy_local/mashine/software/microsoft/windowsNT/winlogon and select 0 for DisableLockWorkstation

  23. balla said,

    on August 22nd, 2013 at 3:14 am

    my keyboard stop working

  24. mkh said,

    on September 4th, 2013 at 9:52 am

    run> task manager> processes
    end process name “winlogon.exe”
    it will fix the issue

  25. setsunna said,

    on January 29th, 2014 at 5:15 am

    what will I do after i press win. + L….becuase I don’t know abot this T^T

  26. Scott said,

    on February 8th, 2015 at 11:10 am

    My windows key + l was not locking the computer for a few weeks. I followed advice above and deleted 2 quarantined items in my McAfee anti virus and instantly it works again.

    Thank you for your help!

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