Lock Your Computer Screen

Why should you lock your screen when you're away?

This helps prevent others from viewing or using your device when you're not around. Set up your computer and mobile devices to lock, log you out or go to screensaver after a certain amount of inactivity.

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What should you do?
The following are REQUIRED* for devices that store or access restricted and/or essential information and strongly recommended for all other devices.

  • Shut down, lock, log off, start screensaver, or put your device to sleep before leaving it unattended
    • <ctrl><alt><delete> or <Windows key><L> on a Windows PC
    • Apple menu or power button on a Mac
    • See below for mobile devices
  • Set your device to "lock," "sleep," "auto log-off", or go to screensaver when you're not using it (max. 20 minutes of inactivity, max. 10 minutes for HIPAA workstations).
  • Make sure you have to enter a strong password to start up or wake-up your computer.
  • Disable auto-login. You shouldn't be able to start up or wake up your computer or other devices without entering a password. If you can, auto-login may be on.
    • Set your device to require a strong password/PIN to start up or resume activity, and to automatically lock when not in use--but still don't store anything you're not willing to lose.
    • Some devices can be set to be erased remotely, or to erase themselves if the password/PIN is entered incorrectly too many times. Consider turning these on to protect information in the case of theft or loss.

*Policy Information:
UC Office of the President requires all campuses to implement minimum network connectivity requirements. One of these requirements is that devices that store or access restricted and/or essential information are required to lock or go to screensaver (or be turned off) when left unattended for an extended period of time. A strong password must be required to start up or resume activity. 


Contact the ITS Support Center if you would like your computer configured to meet these requirements. If you have questions, contact the Support Center or your ITS Divisional Liaison.

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Rev. Sept 2015