GuidesHow To'sHow To Freeze A Computer Screen

How To Freeze A Computer Screen [All Platforms + Windows]

Learn how to freeze a computer screen on Windows, Mac, and a Projector.

Freezing your computer screen restricts unauthorized access to your system. It lets you sign out of your user account without putting your computer to sleep while also preventing unwanted actions due to accidental key pressing or mouse clicking. The methods to freeze a computer screen vary slightly in Windows and macOS, respectively.

Key Takeaways

  • Freezing or locking your computer screen prevents unauthorized access to your system while you are away.
  • The easiest way to lock the Windows OS screen is to press the Windows + L or Ctrl + Alt + Delete and select the Lock option.
  • Use the Control + Command + Q keys simultaneously to freeze a macOS screen.

On Windows 7

You can freeze your Windows 7 screen using five straightforward methods that worked like a charm for me. However, I would advise you to upgrade to newer versions if you are still on Windows 7 since it is outdated and missing many new features. 

Keyboard Shortcut

I pressed the Windows + L keys simultaneously and noticed that my computer screen quickly went to the login page, thereby locking the system.

Start Menu

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Launch the Start menu > Click the arrow next to the Shutdown button > Choose Lock.
  2. This will lock the computer’s screen, and you will be taken to the welcome screen.

Screen Lock Shortcut

You can create a shortcut as well:

  1. Right-click on Desktop> New > Shortcut.
  2. Enter the following command:
    Rundll32.exe User32.dll, LockWorkStation
  3. Click Next > Give the shortcut a proper name, for example, Lock Screen.
  4. The Lock Screen icon will now be visible on your Desktop.
  5. Right-click the icon > Properties > Select the Shortcut tab > Change Icon.
    Change icon option
    Change Icon (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  6. Enter the following command in the search field, Look For Icons In This File:
    C:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll
  7. A list of icons will be displayed > Select the desired icon > OK.
  8. Click on the Run drop-down > Minimized > OK.
    lock computer properties
    Lock Computer Properties (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  9. Double-click on the icon to freeze your screen.
Tip: You can also drag the icon to your Taskbar and pin it there for convenience

Using Shortkeys 

Use the method below:

  1. Press the keys Ctrl + Alt + Delete simultaneously > Lock This Computer.
  2. This will lock your computer screen.

Automatic Screen Lock

Set up an Auto Lock on Windows 7:

  1. Open the Start menu > Control Panel > Personalization.
  2. Come to Screen Saver tab > Enter desired time duration in the Wait box > Mark the checkbox, On Resume, Display Logon Screen > OK.
    screen saver settings
    Screen Saver Settings (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  3. The screen will lock after the specified duration of inactivity.

On Windows 8

Apart from the combination of Windows + L and Ctrl + Alt + Delete, there is one other method that I use to freeze my Windows 8 screen.

Using Windows Key

This is what you should do:

  1. Launch the Start menu > Click the User Account Picture Icon > Lock.
    Windows 8 user account icon
    User Account Icon (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  2. Your screen will be locked.

On Windows 10 & 11

Again, as I mentioned for Windows 8, the standard keyboard shortcuts also apply to both these versions. Furthermore, you can resort to additional effective ways to lock the screen.

Start Menu

Here is what I did:

  1. Get to the Start menu > Click on User Account Icon >  Lock.
  2. This will lock your computer’s screen.

Automatic Screen Lock

Automatically lock or freeze after a certain period of inactivity: 

  1. Access the PC Settings > Personalization > Lock Screen > Select a background.
  2. Again, choose Lock Screen > Screen Timeout Settings.
  3. Alter the time duration under the Screen heading to set up automatic screen locking after the specified time.
    power and sleep settings
    Power And Sleep Settings (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Dynamic Lock

Using the built-in Dynamic Lock utility, configure your Windows to lock the computer screen automatically:

  1. Open the Settings > Accounts > Sign-In Options.
    Dynamic lock
    Dynamic Lock Option (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  2. Scroll down to the Dynamic Lock section > Mark the box, Allow Windows To Automatically Lock Your Device When You’re Away.
Note: This method will only work if your computer is paired to a wireless device such as a Bluetooth device

On Mac OS

Freezing the screen on your Mac is a bit different than doing it on Windows. Although, I found the process very easy.

Keyboard Shortcut

Follow these steps:

  1. Press the Command + Option + Shift + Q simultaneously.
  2. This will log out of the current User Account, close all the running applications and tabs on the system, and lock the screen.
WARNING: To log in to your user account again, you must type in your password, as the Touch ID will be disabled.

Using Command + Shift + Q Key

I pressed Command + Shift + Q, which immediately locked the screen. Additionally, this method will display a confirmation prompt before logging out of your user account. Make sure to save your progress.

Using Control + Command + Q Keys

Press the Control + Command + Q keys. Doing this will lock the screen and redirect you toward the login screen. Plus, it lets you log into the account using your password or Touch ID and will not close any running applications.

Apple Menu

Proceed as mentioned below:

  1. Go to the Apple menu > Lock Screen.
  2. This will freeze your computer screen.

On OS X Yosemite/ El Capitan

I came across two methods to lock the screen on the OS X Yosemite or El Capitan on Mac. Upon testing, both were equally effective.

This is among the easiest techniques. Simply click the Lock icon on the upper Menu Bar, which will instantly lock the screen on your Mac.

lock icon
Lock Icon (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Keyboard Hotkeys

There are the keys you can use:

  1. Press Control + Shift + Eject keys simultaneously if your Mac has an Eject Key or an Internal Optical Drive.
  2. Alternately, press the Control + Shift + Power keys.
  3. This will lock the screen on your Mac device.

On A Projector

If you use a projector and want to freeze the screen to hide your computer screen activity, use the projector’s remote control. Many projectors offer the option to freeze the projected display remotely.

However, not all projectors have this option. In that case, I found two ways to proceed through the computer’s OS. 

Extend Option

Move ahead with these instructions:

  1. Click the Notifications Icon on the Taskbar to launch the Action Center > Project.
    action center
    Action Center (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  2. Pick Extend > This will lock your computer’s projected screen.
    extend
    Extend (Image By Tech4Gamers)

PC Screen Only Option

You can also black out your projector’s display. To do that:

  1. Again, click the Notifications icon on the Taskbar > Project.
  2. Choose PC Screen Only to black out the computer’s projected screen.
    pc screen only
    PC Screen Only (Image By Tech4Gamers)

I recommended locking or freezing your computer screen while you are away to maintain privacy and prevent unauthorized access. Unlike the sleep or hibernation option, it also allows your processes and programs to run in the background, hence, I found it super useful.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Lock My Computer Screen On Windows?

Press the Windows key + L on your keyboard or go to the start menu, select the user account picture, and click Lock to lock your screen.

How Can I Lock My Computer Screen On My Mac Device?

Press the Control + Command + Q keys simultaneously on Mac OS or Control + Shift + Power keys if you use OS X Yosemite/ El Capitan to lock the screen.

Will Locking My Computer Screen Close All The Running Applications?

No. Locking or freezing your computer screen keeps your applications running in the background.


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