How to lock screen and at the time of unlock should ask password? How to do it from command prompt?

I have tried:

  gnome-screensaver-command -l

But not asking password at the unlock time.

  • Have you tried running gnome-screensaver with --debug while applying commands to it with gnome-screensaver-command? Have you searched RedHat knowledgebase for known bugs against gnome-screensaver? – user260419 Jan 28 '14 at 8:57
  • 1
    Which Desktop Environment are you using? Gnome, KDE, XFCE, LXDE,Mate,Cinnamon,...? – MariusMatutiae Jan 28 '14 at 8:59
  • I am using Gnome – user3134198 Jan 28 '14 at 9:03
  • are you trying through ssh? – Gaurav Joseph Jan 28 '14 at 9:09
  • I am inside Vmware and directly using on "Terminal" – user3134198 Jan 28 '14 at 9:10

No need of a command line: Ctrl+Alt+L will do that immediately for you.


That has nothing to do with the command. You have to go to your System Settings, and check that password is required to disable screensaver. In Gnome, open 'system settings' and click 'brighness and lock' and toggle the lock to ON.

  • It is locking but again at the time of unlock it is NOT asking password. Does it asks for password at the time of unlock in other Linux flavors? – user3134198 Jan 28 '14 at 9:05
  • @user3134198 See my edit – MariusMatutiae Jan 28 '14 at 9:11
  • System -> Preferences -> Screensaver does not provide provision to check password is enabled or sated, Please could you guide for that? – user3134198 Jan 28 '14 at 9:14
  • @user3134198 Not what I said: System settings -> Brightness and Lock -> Lock -> On. – MariusMatutiae Jan 28 '14 at 9:19
  • 2
    "How to do it from command prompt?" Emphasis added. I don't consider comments by the OP to be part of the question. – Mark E. Haase Aug 23 '14 at 19:41

gnome-screensaver-command -l

gnome-screensaver-command -a

refer here https://askubuntu.com/questions/184728/how-do-i-lock-the-screen-from-a-terminal

  • Hi when I logged as a ordinary user then Ctrl + Alt + L locks the screen and also at the time of unlock asks for a password, but when I logged in as a root it locked the screen but didn't asked for a password. Many thanks! – user3134198 Jan 28 '14 at 10:33
  • No one asked for gnome, i use DWM, so I need a proper command for terminal – holms Aug 1 '18 at 16:27

It depends on your environment, but in any case physlock (look it up) will lock your screen in whichever environment (X, Wayland, VT, or other).

No fancy colors or graphics with that one, though.

  • 2
    physlock works smoothly! thx – oxuf Mar 30 '18 at 14:30
  • 1
    that's a nice tool although I've expected screensaver to pop up :) – holms Aug 1 '18 at 16:28

I believe it depends on your display manager. I have lightdm so it's dm-tool lock

Lock the current seat. This will switch to a greeter with a hint that the screen is locked. You can return to this session by authenticating in the greeter.

EDIT: It looks and acts like a screen lock, but I have noticed that I can "skirt around it" by switching to a text terminal and back to the X terminal (on my machine Ctrl-Alt-F2 then Ctrl-Alt-F6 does that). dm-lock would then just exit.

I'm not sure if I'm doing something wrong here. But I am leaving these here as a pointer, I think it would still be useful information for someone.

The gnome command that other mentioned did not work for me, by the way. I do not really use Gnome on my desktop.

  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review – Burgi May 30 '17 at 11:59
  • @Burgi I do not think that you provided a clear explanation as to why my answer is not valid, but I did find issues with my answer. Thank you for your comment and edit. I appreciate. Please check my updated answer. Thanks. – Rolf May 30 '17 at 14:45
  • without gnome and having lightdm this is the right way. However, I noticed what you say, did you find a solution for this strange "bug"? is it a bug? – oxuf Mar 29 '18 at 19:04
  • 3
    @oxuf Hi, I am relying on physlock now, it locks the screen and works for X, wayland or VTs. Linux software can be very rich in bugs, so I would not be surprized if it's one. Also I don't use any DM anymore, I just log into a VT and launch startx, weston, or whatever I fancy from there. It's easy to switch between WMs with a simple .xinitrc script. – Rolf Mar 29 '18 at 22:02

A solution that is more likely to be independent from the desktop environment in use:

xdg-screensaver lock

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.