Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am using Windows 7.

Currently, the Windows-L hotkey shortcut takes me to a blank Windows screen telling me to press Ctrl-Alt-Del to unlock the computer (requiring my password).

I want to override this behaviour so that it activates my screen saver instead, and then when I move the mouse, it will prompt me to press Ctrl-Alt-Del and enter my password.

I can't seem to figure out how to change this - any ideas?

share|improve this question
up vote 1 down vote accepted

It appears that this program should be able to do what you need for other WIN key combinations since WIN-L and WIN-U seem to be hard-coded into the OS (your questions serves as a perfect example of why hard-coding stuff like this is generally frowned upon in many software development communities):

  Auto Hotkey (free and open source)

This web page specifically mentions the WIN-L and WIN-R hotkey combinations:

  Overriding or Disabling Hotkeys

  • "You can disable all built-in Windows hotkeys except WIN+L and WIN+U by making the following change to the registry ..."

It's too bad that this can't be the exact solution you're after, but perhaps it will at least be somewhat helpful. If you don't mind using a different WIN hotkey combination to logout, then hopefully this solution will be what you need.

share|improve this answer
Thanks very much for your answer. It turns out that the screen saver does turn on after a certain amount of time on the "unlocking" screen, which is probably good enough for me. – LeopardSkinPillBoxHat May 30 '11 at 3:13
You're welcome. I appreciate the update (+1) as well which describes the solution that is working for you. – Randolf Richardson May 30 '11 at 3:18
@camster342 (and @LeopardSkinPillBoxHat because I think you my find this interesting): Use Steve Gibson's "Wizmo" utility (free, stand-alone executable, no installation required) with the "lock" command-line parameter to lock the computer (there are other parameters for activating screen savers, shutting off monitors, etc.): – Randolf Richardson May 30 '11 at 5:35
  1. Get a copy of OSA.EXE and place it in C:\Windows\System32.
  2. Create a shortcut on your desktop that points to C:\Windows\System32\OSA.EXE
  3. Edit the properties of the shortcut and add a space followed by -s at the end of the Target Field entry. In other words, the Target Field should read C:\Windows\System32\OSA.EXE -s
  4. Select the Shortcut Key field and press the function key you want to use to invoke the screen saver (I use F7)
  5. Save your changes to the shortcut properties
  6. If you haven't already, go to your screen saver and check the box for "On resume, display logon screen"

Now, when I press the F7 key my screen saver runs and, after a few seconds, the computer locks, but continues to display the screen saver.

Note - you can find OSA.EXE on older distributions of MS Office or systems that still have MSOffice installed.

share|improve this answer

Another great tool for this purpose is nircmd from It has a ton of features accessible via the commandline, including starting a screensaver, locking the workstation, turning the screen off, and it's free. For the OP's request, I created a small batch file that contains two commands:

nircmdc screensaver
nircmdc lockws

I then created a shortcut to the batch file, and put a keyboard shortcut into the shortcut file. It's unfortunate that WIN-L can't be used. I've used CTL-ALT-Z since it's easily done with one hand.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .