Life & Technology

Handful lessons in different areas of technology and life in general.

Monthly Archives: June 2011

3 Smarter Ways to screen lock Snow Leopard

In a Windows world, Ctrl+Alt+Del or WinKey + L will lock your machine and bring up the login screen and this shortcut  is really a time saver and considered to be the quickest approach to lock your screen. But when you’re in a Mac world, there’s no such thing as Ctrl+Alt+Del that will lock your screen automatically and I just don’t understand why Apple doesn’t bother to consider adding one to their Snow Leopard.

But even the lack of the infamous shortcut in my Snow Leopard, I still managed to mimic the behavior that the Windows shortcut can offer to their users and I listed the 3 smarter ways to achieve the same task but with varying approach as listed below:

1. Using LockTight.
LockTight is a free tool that will sit on your System Preferences called LockTight that gives you quick access for assigning a shortcut key to activate your Desktop’s screensaver. So, if you’re the type of user that utilizes screen saver with a password on resume, this tool is for you.


Download and Installation:
First, download the .tbz file here and extract it via Terminal app like so:

   1: tar -xjvf <filename.tbz>

After extraction completed, go to the LockTight-0.1 Intel folder and just double-click the LockTight.prefPane to open up the System Preferences window and follow the on-screen instruction to install the AddIn.


2. Using Keychain Access

If you don’t like to hit any keystroke and just preferred to use the mouse, then using this method will be your choice. To lock screen your window using Keychain Access:

1. Go to /Utilities and click the Keychain Access. Or simply, Cmd+Space to search Keychain Access via Spotlight

2. Go to Preferences page as shown below

Screen shot 2011-06-19 at 12.27.39 AM

3. And just tick Show Status in Menu Bar check box. A lock icon will automatically be placed on your top menu bar on the right. When you click this icon, you will see that there’s a Lock Screen option. This command when clicked will make your screen black but when you touch your Trackpad/mouse or keyboard, a login prompt will be displayed to input your password to unlock your machine.

Screen shot 2011-06-19 at 12.27.23 AM

3. Using Automator

This is an advanced option but if you follow along, I guess you will be fine :). The last approach involves creating a shell script that will turn into a Service and creating/assigning a shortcut on this service.


1. Run Automator

2. Choose Service as a template

3. On the left pane, there’s a Library, select Utilities and select/drag the Run Shell Script on the empty right pane.

4. On the Server receives text on the upper window, select "no input" on the drop-down list.

5. Type the command script on the text area provided: Note: This is a one-liner script, don’t press Enter key

   1: /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu\ Extras/ -suspend

6. Click File/Save, name it as "Lock Computer" or "Lock Screen".

7. Exit Automator

Now to make a shortcut for this Service:

1. Go to System Preferences and click the Keyboard.

2. On the Keyboard Shortcuts tab, click Services on the left pane.

3. Scroll to the bottom list under General on the right panel until you see your Service named "Lock Computer" or "Lock Screen" as you name your service.

4. Select it, and just tap/click the far right of your selection to turn it into an editable textbox.

System Preferences

5. Hit your keyboard shortcut to activate this service. Mine is Command+Alt+L

6. Close the Preferences page.

Test your shortcut and voila, your screen will lock with 3D animation effect! Try it and you’ll love it 🙂

Of all these 3 smarter ways to lock your screen, my personal choice would be using the Automator as it feels like we mimic the way Windows does it, only much better with Snow Leopard with the added 3D animation/transition effect.

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