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I know you can automatically Sleep and Hibernate your computer with a timer. But these affect running programs and stop downloads ... so I was wondering if there is a way to automatically Lock your computer with a timer?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Go to control panel. Go to Appearance and Personalizations. Go to Screen Save Settings. Adjust wait times as desired. Setup a screen saver and check the box to "On resume, display logon screen"

If you want this password protected, setup your account to have a password.

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Will a screensaver pause running of active programs (and downloads) ? –  Jarvis Jul 23 '10 at 21:44
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@Jeremy Rudd: No, it will not; it will simply lock the screen. –  Sasha Chedygov Jul 23 '10 at 21:46

What OS?

With Windows you can set your screensaver to turn on after X minutes and set that to require a password to unlock it.

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Linux too, and most other *nixes –  Rory Alsop Dec 8 '10 at 23:41

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