So I’ve started bringing my personal MacBook Pro to work on occasion to use at lunch for personal tasks and also sometimes througought the day in lieu of my work-issued Dell.  The Dell is tiny, underpowered, and has about 30 minutes of battery life before it dies (what’s the point of an ultra-portable notebook when you have to bring the giant power brick with it??).

My Windows laptop automatically locks after 15 minutes away from the keyboard, or with a quick hit of Windows Key + L.  I wanted to do something similar with my Mac but it seemed the only way to do this was to just let the Screen Saver come on, as I require a password when the screen saver is deactivated.

However, this seemed cumbersome.  I’m not a fan of the hot corners.  One way of quickly locking the computer is to drag the actual Screen Saver program into your Dock.  You can do this by opening:

/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Versions/A/Resources/

and dragging ScreenSaverEngine.app to the dock.

Another handy way, which in Snow Leopard is slightly different than in Leopard, is to do it from Keychain Access.  Launch Keychain Access from Spotlight (or /Applications/Utilities/).  Then under the Keychain Access menu select Preferences…  From there check “Show Status in Menu Bar”, close the window, and quit Keychain Access.  You will now have a small lock icon in your Menu Bar.  ”Lock Screen” is the first option in the drop down when you select this new icon.

Now I can quickly lock my computer whenever I am at work and need to walk away for a few minutes, without having to sleep the computer or wait for the screen saver to come on.


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