Is there a way to lock a Windows XP machine via the command line? The shutdown command doesn't have an option for it.

  • 1
    From a Remote Desktop session, you should be able to use <kbd>CTRL</kbd>+<kbd>ALT</kbd>+<kbd>END</kbd> to show the Windows Security screen (where you can lock your workstation, restart, etc.). In Vista or above, you can also select "Windows Security" from the Start Menu. !Windows Security menu item
    – bobbymcr
    Commented Aug 29, 2009 at 17:37
  • psshutdown has a -l parameter to lock your workstation. Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 4:56

11 Answers 11

rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation

I've been warned that this isn't recommended (except by Microsoft). The warnings are also centered around the command's close relative, ExitWindowsEx (Which shuts down the computer). I've never had any issues with it, but YMMV.

Schlump: The poodle-monkey may be right. The legend warns that the code is powerful and dangerous.
Nudar: My God. We'd better use it only three or four times. Six, max.
Nibbler: But even a single use could shatter the universe!
Nudar: Got it. Two or three times.


  • 3
    For a while I had a webpage on my computer that, if visited, would invoke this command (on my computer, not the visitors). It was basically a remote lock for my computer, for when I forget to lock it when I leave the house and realize that my brother is visiting.
    – Grant
    Commented Aug 11, 2009 at 14:32
  • 3
    Calling functions like this using rundll32 is really not recommended. For more information, see blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2004/01/15/58973.aspx -- scroll a little down to the "rundll32" section. Commented Aug 12, 2009 at 13:05
  • 4
    But why isn't it recommended?
    – endolith
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 2:24
  • 2
    @AnthonyW: tsdiscon seems to log out of the session, not lock it.
    – pyb
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 16:57
  • 1
    I recognize that this is an older question, but I just found that Microsoft has an article documenting the use of rundll32, so this does appear to be the recommended method: docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powershell/scripting/getting-started/… Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 2:03

If you have access to Visual Studio's C++ compiler here's the (extremely complicated) source:

//Locks the console.
//To compile (VC++ 2003, on one line):
//      cl.exe /W4 LockWorkStation.cpp /link /RELEASE /OPT:REF /OPT:NOWIN98
//                  /ENTRY:mainStartup /SUBSYSTEM:CONSOLE kernel32.lib

#if !defined(_WIN32_WINNT) || (_WIN32_WINNT < 0x0500)
    #undef _WIN32_WINNT
    #define _WIN32_WINNT 0x0500 
#include <windows.h> 

void mainStartup(void)
  • 1
    I compiled this with VS2015 using this command: cmd /s /c ""C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\VC\vcvarsall.bat" x64 & cl.exe /W4 LockWorkStation.cpp /link /RELEASE /ENTRY:mainStartup /SUBSYSTEM:CONSOLE kernel32.lib user32.lib" Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 20:04
  • Thanks this is fantastic! I think it might just be the smallest Windows EXE I've ever made. Here's a great icon for it iconarchive.com/show/soft-scraps-icons-by-hopstarter/…
    – rkagerer
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 17:50

Note that in Windows Vista/7, you can use the command tsdiscon to disconnect a Remote Desktop session/lock your workstation.

If you use the rundll32.exe user32.dll, LockWorkStation command in a Remote Desktop session (in Windows 7/Vista), the session will continue, but you will just see the lock screen in the Remote Desktop window.


Since it's not recommended to run LockWorkStation via rundll32.exe, another solution is to use Wizmo. Just run:

wizmo lock

For running on a scheduler or after some minutes you leaved computer you can use timeout /t 36000 /nobreak & rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation create a .bat file put it in scheduled task, put the trigger run on idle.

You can change /t xxx. how much you need to wait.

Thanks to Kevin, he used the command for shutdown, thats: timeout /t 36000 /nobreak & shutdown /h /f

  • Just so you aren't disappointed if you do not get a response, you should know you have answered a question which has an accepted answer and is 5 years old. You have not done anything wrong. Just wanted you to know.
    – CharlieRB
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 18:37

The Wizmo tool recommended in other answer is pretty old and not being updated / maintenanced anymore.

I suggest using the NirCmd tool instead. It's a lightweight and versatile command-line utility for Windows that allows you to do a ton of pretty cool and useful tasks without displaying any user interface.

To lock the computer, just run:

nircmd.exe lockws

Here is the working bat command for Remote PC

@echo off
@echo Lock Remote PC
SET /P PC=ıp or Host Name: 
\\%PC%\c$\Windows\System32\rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation

I set my computer to automatically logon, immediately run "rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation" and then start loading apps (single .CMD file in my startup folder).

Works nicely. When I need to reboot and I'm at a breaking point I restart the computer, go on a break, etc and when I get back I unlock my computer. Apps all loaded.


Use Powershell and Windows API:

$code = @'
public static extern void LockWorkStation();
$winApi = Add-Type -MemberDefinition $code -Name WinAPI -Namespace Extern -PassThru

You can also do this from a local machine to lock a remote workstation by using a UNC path:

\\computername\c$\Windows\System32\rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation

Getting access denied with Windows 7 workstations, but works with Windows XP.

  • 3
    This will just run the rundll32.exe binary on your local workstation from the remote workstation's disk, and then lock your local workstation.
    – hjd
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 12:09
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    This locks the machine on which it is running
    – G-.
    Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 16:51

On Windows Server 2012 press: Win + L

  • 6
    This isn't a command-line command.
    – Daniel Beck
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 3:18

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