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How can I lock my desktop screen from the command line?

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For newer versions of Ubuntu, you can try: askubuntu.com/questions/457204/… –  Wilf Jan 2 at 18:31

3 Answers 3

up vote 43 down vote accepted

You can lock the computer by running gnome-screensaver-command with the -l flag like so:

gnome-screensaver-command -l

However this will only work if you have Gnome Screensaver running for your session (should be - unless you've disabled it) you can start that from the commandline with:

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cinnamon-screensaver-command -l for cinnamon! ;)) –  user128334 Jan 5 '14 at 17:28
gnome-screensaver-command -l

If you're in a different (desktop) session (e.g. virtual console, switched to another login, SSH), specify the display explicitly (:0 is the default display):

DISPLAY=:0 gnome-screensaver-command -l

To unlock, use the -d (--deactivate) option.

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can you clarify me the DISPALY=:0 option? –  Renjith G Oct 16 '10 at 19:29
Sorry for my English... DISPLAY is a variable and define in which display an X Window System program renders to (it can be another monitor). In TTY this variable is empty. By default, first display is ":0.0". So use DISPLAY=:x before your command, indicates in which display run the command. And use DISPLAY=:0 or DISPLAY=:0.0 indicates: run the program in the first display. –  Snip Oct 16 '10 at 20:46
@RenjithG this is quite clear if you think about it, also please do not be rude to the author of the previous comment. –  hexafraction May 2 '12 at 18:02

gnome-screensaver-command --lock will do it.

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