Even though user preferences in Windows are highly customizable, the default setting surrounding the automatic locking feature isn’t for everyone.
For example, while it may be installed for security reasons, it may prove to be annoying to some users who grow tired of frequently typing in their password.
It becomes even more frustrating when you aren’t sure how to disable it.
To keep Windows from automatically locking, follow these steps:
- Remove the sign-in requirement after sleep.
- Change screensaver settings.
- Disabling auto-lock through power & sleep settings.
- Change the system unattended sleep timeout.
- Make sure dynamic lock isn’t turned on.
This article elaborates on these methods and suggests other ones that can help you solve the automatic locking issue in Windows 10.
1. Remove the sign-in requirement after sleep
If your computer requires a password whenever you turn it on or wake it after sleep, Windows will automatically lock your system when it goes to sleep mode.
Removing this setting will keep it from automatically locking.
Here are the steps to disable this setting:
- Open the Settings app (Open the Start Menu and select the gear icon ⚙).
- Select Accounts.
- Choose Sign-in options on the left column.
- Under Require sign-in, change it to Never.
Using these steps, you’re making it so that your computer doesn’t require a sign-in after waking from sleep mode.
However, your device will still enter sleep mode and bring up the screen saver in this scenario.
Keep in mind that other settings control how the screen savers function that may affect what happens when you wake the computer from sleep.
Due to the other settings, the lock feature may not disable using the above method. So depending on what your end goal is, you may need to change multiple settings to get the right outcome.
2. Change Screen Saver Settings
Once you change the Require sign-in setting to never, you can enter the screen saver settings immediately.
You should see a clickable link labeled Lock screen in the top right-hand corner.
If, for some reason, the setting isn’t listed there, search for it in the search box within the Windows Settings app.
On the next window, you should click Screen saver settings. Once there, you’ll see a drop-down menu where you can customize your screensaver.
Below this drop-down, you’ll find a checkbox that says On resume, display log-on screen next to it.
If this box is checked, you’ll want to uncheck it to prevent the computer from displaying the log-on screen once you wake the computer from sleep.
If this box isn’t checked, you can leave it how it is.
Additionally, you can further alter your screen saver settings.
You can change your screensaver to (None) in the drop-down menu. While this won’t always prevent sleep mode or a lock-out, it will disable the screensaver entirely.
3. Disabling auto-lock under Power & sleep settings
As seen in the above example, Windows 10 defaults to require a sign-in after your computer goes into sleep mode for a certain length of time.
You’ll come back to your computer, move your mouse, and you’re suddenly back on the login screen.
One of the solutions to this is to change the settings so that your computer screen never actually enters into sleep mode.
The goal is to change the power and sleep timers so that the computer never locks after a certain amount of time passes.
While this doesn’t directly disable the auto-lock feature, it works well enough if you don’t want your computer to auto-lock.
To change the settings, follow these steps:
- Open Windows Settings.
- Choose Personalization.
- Select Lock screen on the left-hand column.
- Choose Screen timeout settings near the bottom.
- For both timer settings related to screen and sleep respectively, choose Never.
Alternatively, you can extend the time. The default time selections on battery power are usually just a few minutes.
You can extend these times so your computer won’t enable the lock screen as often if you’re working on battery power.
The potential downside to this method is that your battery may drain quicker than usual. If you frequently work on battery power, this might not be ideal.
4. Change the System Unattended Sleep Timeout
How Windows settings interact with and affect each other is sometimes tricky, and some users report their computer locking up despite changing various settings.
If that’s the case for you, you may have to dive deeper into your computer settings.
For example, a setting called System unattended sleep timeout isn’t accessible through the basic settings page.
To access the System unattended sleep timeout setting, follow these steps:
- In the search located in the Task Bar, search and open the Control Panel.
- Select Hardware and Sound.
- Select Power Options, then choose Change when the computer sleeps.
- Click Change advanced power settings.
- Click the “+” to expand the folder for Sleep.
- Click the “+” next to Sleep after and Hibernation after.
- Extend the time to whatever you want or enter 0 for Never on both settings to make sure they are disabled.
By changing the times for power and sleep, you can at least extend the time before your computer locks up.
So, if you’re only leaving the desk for a short period, you won’t need to sign in again.
5. Make sure Dynamic Lock isn’t turned on
If you have synced your phone to your computer, you may want to ensure that the dynamic lock isn’t turned on.
While it’s something that you have to engage manually, it might be worth a double check if you’re frustrated with the auto-locking feature, especially if you’ve already tried disabling it.
When your phone is synced to your computer through Bluetooth, the dynamic lock feature will automatically lock your computer if your phone gets out of range.
If you leave the computer with your phone in your pocket, for example, the screen will automatically lock if you walk far enough away.
Time isn’t a factor with this setting, so even if you’re away from your computer for seconds, the screen will still lock up if the phone or paired device traveled far enough.
To check and disable the dynamic lock feature, follow these steps:
- Open Windows Settings.
- Select Accounts.
- Choose Sign-in options.
Scroll to find the dynamic lock setting. You’ll want to uncheck the box if it’s checked. If not, you can leave it unchanged.
Removing Lock Screen vs. Removing Sign-In Requirement
Depending on your problem with Windows 10, you can either remove the lock screen that appears before the sign-on or remove the sign-on requirement after your computer wakes up from sleep mode.
Simply removing the lock screen would still require you to type in your password before you can reaccess your home page, but there are a couple of ways to do this.
Use the Group Policy Editor to change relavent settings
If you’re an administrator on the account, you should change the lock-out settings with a group policy edit.
The group policy editor is a centralized environment that allows users to change various settings on the computer or network.
In many cases, these settings aren’t available through the regular menu, so group policy gives users more control.
Depending on your goals, the Group Policy Editor will allow you to change the display settings in ways that might make it easier for you when you return to your computer.
To change settings using the Group Policy Editor, follow these steps:
- Press the Windows key + R.
- Type in gpedit.msc.
- Open the Computer configuration tree by clicking the drop-down arrow next to it.
- Open the Administrative Templates tree.
- Do the same on System.
- Repeat on Power Management.
- Then select the Video and Display Settings folder.
From there, you’ll find the setting in the right pane that says, Turn off the display.
This will open a window after right-clicking on it and selecting Edit, where you can click the selection button that says Disabled.
You can apply this setting to either the plugged-in or on battery versions or both depending on your requirements.
Alternatively, you can navigate through the following folders – Administrative Templates (under Computer Configuration) > Control Panel > Personalization.
From there, right-click on the Do not display lock screen policy and then left-click on Edit. This will open a window where you’ll have the option to select Enabled.
Once enabled, the lock screen should no longer appear.
Changing Lock Screen setting in Registry
You can achieve a similar result by going into the registry editor and changing the lock screen settings.
This setting would prevent the lock screen from coming up so that you can go directly into the sign-in page.
To change the setting in the registry, you’ll want to go to the Start Menu and search for regedit.
Once you have selected Registry Editor, it will open up a window, and from there, you’ll want to navigate through drop-downs in this order:
You’ll right-click on the Windows folder and hover over New. This will open an expansion menu in which you’ll click Key.
This action will create a new folder, which you can name Personalization.
Right-click on this new folder, hover over New again, and this time, select DWORD (32-bit) Value.
You’ll want to enter the phrase NoLockScreen to name the feature. Then Right-click on NoLockScreen, select Modify… and set the Value data to 1.
Click on the OK button to complete the action and close the Registry Editor.
Afterward, it is best practice to restart your computer. After a restart, you should notice that no lock screen appears on startup, and you can go straight into the signing in.
Locking your screen on your own terms
If you’re getting out of your desk to use the bathroom or to grab a snack from the kitchen, you probably won’t want to type in your password once you get back.
While the auto-lock feature is a safety mechanism, it isn’t as necessary if you’re home alone or with a trusted group of people.
Changing your sleep or power settings gives you greater control over when your computer locks itself so that you don’t have to enter your password so frequently.
On the other hand, you can lock your screen whenever you want by pressing the Windows key with the L key.
Suppose you know that you’ll be away for a while. Then, you can press these buttons to lock your screen immediately.
Things to keep in mind before disabling the Automatic Lock-screen
Depending on how you’re using your computer, the Windows 10 auto-lock feature can be somewhat annoying.
For example, if you’re frequently coming back and forth to your computer to input information, you don’t want to have to enter your password every single time.
However, the auto-lock feature was added for a purpose, and that was to protect against unauthorized access.
You may not always remember to manually lock your screen before you step away, so the auto-lock is there to ensure your information is protected.
Some of the methods listed above for disabling the auto-lock feature might remove the lock screen or the need to sign in entirely, which can be dangerous depending on the environment you’re in.
Also, if you have sensitive information, it might be wise to have a safety net in place so that you’re the only one who can access the information.
Does Windows 11 have an Auto-Locking feature?
If you have an issue with a given software, or in this case, an operating system, it’s worth finding out if the next version of the software will have the same feature before you upgrade.
Windows 11 has an auto-locking feature similar to Windows 10. The processes for enabling or disabling this feature essentially remain the same in both versions.
The automatically locking feature on Windows 11 doesn’t change dramatically from its predecessor.
If you’re trying to disable the feature on your Windows 11 device, you should be able to do so with the methods listed above.
Disabling the auto-locking feature on Windows 10 isn’t a perfect system, and when you do this, you might ultimately sacrifice security.
Alternatively, you can tweak the display settings so that your screen stays on for a more extended period.
In this scenario, you would still have to type in your password if you stepped away, but you wouldn’t need to do this as often.
The other option is to remove the lock screen before you type in your password.
While this won’t remove the feature, it will eliminate a step and help you log on faster.