How do I lock the screen for Windows 8 in a virtual machine?

Aha, you noticed that when running Windows 8 in a virtual machine the lock-screen shortcut, logokey+L, locks the host system as well as the guest system. This is true for VMware Player and Oracle Virtualbox.

This shortcut is intercepted by both the host and the guest and you have to sign in to both to get back. It is a very convenient and quick way to blank the screen when you need to leave the computer.image

To lock just the virtual machine here is the long way: Press the logokey, then click on your name in the upper right and click Lock.

If you are mostly working in the desktop you can also place a shortcut on the desktop to allow locking with just a double-click on an icon.

Here is the procedure for setting up a desktop lock shortcutimage

  • Right-click on a free space on the desktop.
  • Click New and in the secondary menu, click Shortcut.
  • In the Create a Shortcut dialog, enter this text: shutdown /l – the word “shutdown” followed by a space then a slash and a lower-case L. Don’t worry, this command will not shut down the system just lock the screen.
  • Click Next.
  • Replace the default shortcut name “shutdown” with lock or lock screen for the name of the shortcut.
  • Click Finish.



imageYou now have an shortcut on the desktop that looks about as shown here. For a better looking icon, right-click the shortcut, click Properties, then  click Change icon. Click OK in the complaint dialog.image

An icon selection dialog opens. imageClick the one you like. I like the padlock symbol.

Click OK to close the Change Icon dialog.

Click on Normal window in the Run box and click on Minimized. This will prevent the command box from flashing on the screen when the icon is double-clicked.

imageClick OK to close the Properties dialog.

You now have a nice looking “lock screen” icon.

To lock the screen, just double-click this shortcut. Only the guest system will be locked down, your host system will not have to be unlocked.


© 2012 Ludwig Keck

How do I install Windows 8 Consumer Preview in VMware Player?

Windows 8 Consumer Preview works great in a VMware Player virtual machine, but is a little tricky to install. imageYou need the latest version of VMware Player, a downloaded ISO image from Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO images and a product key – also from that site.

Detailed installation instructions are given in the post Windows 8 on VMware Player on my This ‘n That blog.

Also see my post Windows 8 Consumer Preview – First Impressions for additional thoughts.


© 2011 Ludwig Keck