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transparent desktop lockDo you use a computer in an area which is accessible by others (for example, an open cubicle in a large office)? Do you often leave your computer unattended? Or a better question is, do you trust your peers enough to leave your computer unattended while they are around? If “trust” is not exactly the main ingredient which bonds your friendship together, then you should always secure your computer Secure Your Computer From Intrusion With Your USB Drive and Predator Secure Your Computer From Intrusion With Your USB Drive and Predator Read More while you are away.

The easiest way to secure your computer is by locking it. Go to Control Panel and set a password (if you haven’t done so), then hit “Windows + L” every time you need to lock it. Your computer screen will change into a login screen, waiting for the unlocking password. But what if you need to see/show what’s on the screen while keeping the computer safe from those annoying fingers? Then maybe you could try a small transparent desktop lock application called ClearLock.

Choosing The Right Version

ClearLock is a standalone (portable) application that will help you lock your computer without hiding the desktop screen. It will only put a transparent dark layer above the desktop so everything that happens on the screen will still be visible. This kind of arrangement is perfect for people who want to monitor a process on their locked computer, or maybe for those who want to display an on-screen presentation in a public place.

There are two versions of the application provided by the developer: for 32-bit and for 64-bit Windows. All are packed inside a compressed file which is a little bit below 1MB of size. After extracting the content of the compressed file, be sure to choose the version that fit your system.

transparent desktop lock

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If you run the wrong version of the app, you will get the warning pop-up window. But no worries, all you have to do is close the warning window and choose the other version.

transparent desktop lock

Locked & Darkened

The first time you run the application, you will be asked to create a password to unlock your system later on. To increase the security level, use a password which combines letters, numbers, and capital letters. Click “Save” and your system will be locked.

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A new configuration setting file called “ClearLock.ini” will appear after you set the password.

transparent desktop lock freeware

The ClearLock window will float above the screen layer telling you that the computer is locked. Anybody who wants to enable the computer has to provide the password and hit Enter.

transparent desktop lock freeware

If you enter the wrong password, your access will be denied. After three incorrect tries, ClearLock will be frozen and the system can’t be accessed for several minutes.

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This is what the locked screen will look like. Every active progress is visible behind the transparent dark layer, while the ClearLock window stands out in front of everything else. If there’s no input/activity for a while, the ClearLock screen will disappear leaving the darkened desktop screen.

free transparent desktop lock

Resetting The Password

Any digital lock is only as good as the password. If the password is revealed, then there’s no point using the lock anymore.  ClearLock should have a way to reset the password. My first thought was that we could reset the password by editing the “ClearLock.ini” file. I opened the file using Notepad and saw that the written figures were totally different to the ones that I used for my password. Editing the file is definitely not the answer.

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After a quick search I found out that resetting the password is very easy. You just need to delete the “ClearLock.ini” file. The next time you run ClearLock, the app will ask you to create a new password.

transparent desktop lock

I also found out that the ClearLock developer doesn’t recommend using their app as the ultimate system protection because “computer savvy users can bypass the lock”. The app should work fine as light protection, though. It should keep your computer secure while you take a short trip to the rest room.

ClearLock is one good and unique alternative to casually secure your system. Plus, it will also keep your desktop visible. But if you have your own favorite alternatives, please feel free to share them using the comments below.

Image credit: Max Klingensmith

  1. Pete
    June 4, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    How do I disable the "access denied" which makes me unable to type in the password?

  2. Acidi Ks
    February 21, 2011 at 1:56 am

    hello i need hellp
    i have a VPS and I install a ClearLock but i forget my password, how i can back again my password plzzz hellp

  3. Martygold
    February 18, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    This is a very interesting app but also very basic. The fact that it does not work on systems with more than on monitor makes it not useful for me.

    For a full featured transparent lock that is not free (only a free trial) have a look at http://www.e-motional.com/TScr...

    Transparent Screen Lock allows you to unlock using your Windows password. You can even allow other users, or groups of users, to unlock using their Windows password. They also have other versions that allow you to unlock using a Windows smart card, an RFID card or even your fingerprint.

  4. MDC
    February 17, 2011 at 1:00 am
  5. Tbvnz
    February 16, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    I use Kid Key Lock. Locks screen, keyboard and mouse. Password protected with no password window. Most people dont even consider trying a password they assume something is wrong with the computer.

  6. zon Lord of Flies
    February 16, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    This app seems rather pointless since you can achieve the same results using the 'Mystify' screen saver in windows.

    Adjust the 'Mystify' settings by removing the check from the 'Active' box for both Polygon 1 & Polygon 2. Remove the check from 'Clear Screen' and there you go.

    If desired configure with a hot key and password protect and you've achieved a very similar effect.

    • Aibek
      February 17, 2011 at 2:44 am

      thanks for the input

    • Aj
      April 29, 2011 at 6:34 pm

      This is awesome dude. This is something I have been looking for for ages. How do you find out about cool things like this? Now I have Mystify screensaver on my desktop and I love it.

  7. Cpatt Throwaway
    February 16, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Looks sharp, altho I would prefer one that really IS "clear", in other words, not even the floating "This computer is locked!" screen. Just a dimmed, clear background, and once you hit the mouse or keyboard, it activates the pwd box... thx tho ;)

    • Acidi Ks
      February 21, 2011 at 12:56 am

      hello i need hellp
      i have a VPS and I install a ClearLock but i forget my password, how i can back again my password plzzz hellp

    • Anonymous
      February 21, 2011 at 2:08 am

      One solution that I could think right now is turning off your system, access the content of hard drive (from another system), and delete the "clearlock.ini" file.

  8. zon Lord of Flies
    February 16, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    This app seems rather pointless since you can achieve the same results using the 'Mystify' screen saver in windows.

    Adjust the 'Mystify' settings by removing the check from the 'Active' box for both Polygon 1 & Polygon 2. Remove the check from 'Clear Screen' and there you go.

    If desired configure with a hot key and password protect and you've achieved a very similar effect.

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