Locking a Workstation vs Logging Off

When you need to leave your desk, there are two options for securing your workstation.  1) Locking it, and 2) Logging Off.

Locking the computer simply locks access leaving your user session running and keeping files open.  A Log Off will completely disconnect your user session from the computer and server and close any open files.  There are advantages to both approaches.


You can lock your PC when you aren’t using it but don’t want to sign out.  This will keep you user’s session running and will leave any files open.

To lock your PC press the Win+L key combination.

Locking the workstation results in the next log in being super-fast.

Log Off

Logging Off your computer will completely disconnect your user’s session from the server and close any open files.

To Log Off press Start->Log Off.

When you want to use your computer again, logging in will force any changes pushed out by your network administration to propagate and execute.  This includes things like user and file permissions as well as network drive mappings.

Logging Off regularly may uncover other issues like slow logins or improper server configuration. This is a good thing!  If we see these kinds of symptoms it is usually indicative of a more systemic issue that should be resolved.

In Windows 8 and Windows 10 the Log Off function is now called Sign Out.

So, please feel free to leave your computers on, but please Log Off regularly.