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Screen Locking Policy

The purpose of this policy is to set a minimum standard for protecting our computers with password protected screen savers. The screen saver logs out an active user after a set amount of time with no activity. By requiring a user to sign in when they return, it minimizes the risk of an unauthorized person using an active session while the authorized user is away. A password-enabled screen saver helps to protect the information displayed on your screen, stored on your computer's hard drive, and the information that is accessible from your computer when you walk away from the computer.


All computers shall be configured to have a password-enabled screen saver. This security lockout feature shall automatically initiate after the computer remains idle from user interaction after a predefined time period. The user must then reenter their password to gain access to the computer. The general best practice for enabling automatic lockout of a screen saver is to set the timeout so that it can provide adequate security and not be inconvenient to the user.


Any exceptions to this policy must be submitted in writing with a business justification, to and approved  by the Computer Security Officer at


The Computing Division has a set the standard for screen lock out which is 15 minutes. After 15 minutes of no activity, the screen saver will be invoked.


For Windows: You can press the Windows key () and L keys simultaneously on most keyboards to enable the screen saver. On other keyboards you will need to press Control-Alt-Delete and select "lock computer."

For Unix: Password-protected screen savers are provided by Gnome, KDE (Linux) and CDE (Solaris) desktop environments. For other desktops you can use xscreensaver. Visit the Unix Screen Locking web page for instructions on activating and configuring these screen savers.

If you need help, please contact your departmental computing support person.


Any employee found in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.  Contractors, assignees, visitors, and individuals that have custody of or access to SLAC information, systems, or network found in violation of this policy will lose access to the system(s).  Sponsors of contractors, assignees, visitors, and individuals found in violation of this policy may be subject to disciplinary action and may lose there privilege of sponsoring external entities.

Owner: SLAC Computer Security
Page Created: 07/17/2008
Last Updated: 07/12/2012
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