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btHeadI need to lock my Windows desktop screen at work every time I walk away from my computer. What do I normally do? I hit Control + ALT + Delete and lock my screen and sometimes I hit the Windows key + L but they still require some interaction with the computer.

But what if I wanted something a little more automated? Well we have covered uses for Bluetooth How to Connect Your Cell Phone to PC Through Bluetooth How to Connect Your Cell Phone to PC Through Bluetooth Read More on MakeUseOf before but never as a digital key! When I found a little freeware application on SourceForge called Bluetooth Proximity Lock Utility – I fell in love!


What it does is quite simple and ingenious. It is a proximity access system that pairs up and connects to a Bluetooth device you keep with you at all times. This can be a phone, a headset or pretty much anything that you can pair up with your computer. I would be interested in finding some sort of Bluetooth rechargable card I could keep in my wallet if anyone knows of any!

Then when your computer loses the Bluetooth signal from your device it assumes you have moved away from the machine and locks it up!  The application is 201KB making it very small and easy to use on any system with Bluetooth.

To start, we will need to download the application here. Grab the latest file with the .exe ending on it.  You can check out the projects page here as well. It will install rather quickly and when it is complete you will have a new start menu item called BTProx. Once you run it you will see a minimalistic console that looks like this:

proximity access system

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Click the three dots next to the Used device field. This will start your machine looking for a Bluetooth device to use as your digital key. If you see the following error, make sure your Bluetooth is turned on. The device needs to be paired with your computer prior to clicking on the three dots or you will see the same error message below:

proximity access system

Once you see your device in the list simply select it and click OK.  That will take us back to the same screen we were on before but our device will now be listed next to the used device field like so:

bluttoth proximity access

You will also see a few more options listed in the main window including timeout, lock command, release command and a check box for don’t lock , only run the command.

The timeout field is VERY important for the sheer fact that if you leave this at the default you can be away from your computer for 4 minutes and 59 seconds before your screen locks! I chose 15 seconds and dealt with it if I walked away to retrieve a fax or something else that I needed to walk away for. This is security at its best.

The lock command option allows you to choose a command such as a batch file or Perl script to run when you lose the connection with your Bluetooth device. The release command does the opposite and runs a command when you come back into range (well at least when your device comes back into range!)

You should see the text that says Device in range at the bottom of your Bluetooth proximity lock screen. When your device comes within range and is connected you will see this icon in your taskbar like so:

btpx4

And as you leave the range it will turn red, wait for your timeout period and then lock your workstation.

I am sure some of our clever MakeUseOf readers can come up with some clever uses for the lock and release commands. Are you using this or another proximity access system that automatically locks your workstation or servers as you move away from them? We would love to hear about them in the comments.

  1. Chetan Pattar
    October 15, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Hello,

    Anybody says,why is it not unlocking pc,when my phone is in range,its only locking but not unlocking,is there need to write lock and release command?,any information is appreciated..

    thankyu !!!!

  2. Myk Rushton
    June 17, 2015 at 2:35 am

    20150617

    btprox V1.5.0.exe doesnt work with paired iPhone 6 under windows 8.1. Device is seen as connected under Bluetooth My Bluetooth Devices but does not show under Select Bluetooth Device. Cannot manually enter bluetooth address

  3. david
    December 21, 2014 at 6:56 am

    U saved my life!!

  4. Mako
    June 3, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    put 0 seconds.

  5. PCGURU34
    May 8, 2010 at 6:46 am

    How did you get this to work with a 15 second interval or any second interval. I only saw minutes and no way to change it to seconds. I tried .25 and it converted it to a one. So it would be neat if I could get it to work with a seconds setting instead of minutes.

    Suggestions welcomed.

  6. Anonymous
    May 8, 2010 at 4:46 am

    How did you get this to work with a 15 second interval or any second interval. I only saw minutes and no way to change it to seconds. I tried .25 and it converted it to a one. So it would be neat if I could get it to work with a seconds setting instead of minutes.

    Suggestions welcomed.

  7. Srivatsan Venkatesh
    April 29, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    This is good stuff. As soon as I get my headset to pair with my computer I can lock it automatically when I leave.

  8. cheap computers
    April 28, 2010 at 9:00 am

    I had experienced the same kind of problem when i installed vista in my laptop. I have also heard that windows 7 is good and i am thinking to install it.

  9. basisbit
    April 28, 2010 at 7:50 am

    This is nothing really new...
    There is a really interesting article at Coding4Fun about this idea:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/coding4f...

  10. Anonymous
    April 28, 2010 at 5:50 am

    This is nothing really new...
    There is a really interesting article at Coding4Fun about this idea:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/coding4fun/archive/2007/08/19/4474153.aspx

  11. Martin
    April 28, 2010 at 3:22 am

    For Linux users, blueproximity (available through 'Add software' or Synaptic) does the same thing and works very well. I've had it running for over a year. Here are my commands:

    Locking command : gnome-screensaver-command -l|amixer set Master mute|xset dpms force off
    Unlocking command : gnome-screensaver-command -d
    Proximity command : xset dpms force on|gnome-screensaver-command -p|amixer set Master unmute

    So I've got the screen saveer to come on (which requires a password to unlock), my volume gets muted, and "dpms force" controls power to my monitors.

    It's an excellent tool, I highly recommend it.

    @Frost, the Linux version has adjustments for your proximity so it can kick in if you're 2 feet away or 20 feet away. The issues you mentioned have already been taken into account. Try it out.

  12. Martin
    April 28, 2010 at 1:22 am

    For Linux users, blueproximity (available through 'Add software' or Synaptic) does the same thing and works very well. I've had it running for over a year. Here are my commands:

    Locking command : gnome-screensaver-command -l|amixer set Master mute|xset dpms force off
    Unlocking command : gnome-screensaver-command -d
    Proximity command : xset dpms force on|gnome-screensaver-command -p|amixer set Master unmute

    So I've got the screen saveer to come on (which requires a password to unlock), my volume gets muted, and "dpms force" controls power to my monitors.

    It's an excellent tool, I highly recommend it.

    @Frost, the Linux version has adjustments for your proximity so it can kick in if you're 2 feet away or 20 feet away. The issues you mentioned have already been taken into account. Try it out.

    • Aibek
      April 28, 2010 at 6:35 pm

      Hey Martin, thanks for sharing. That adjustment for proximity feature is a killer one.

  13. Frost
    April 28, 2010 at 1:31 am

    This only works, of course, if your office is large or you are going far from the computer. Bluetooth has a 30-foot range at least, frequently more if you have line of sight. Add the delay until the Bluetooth device goes out of range plus the 15 seconds and your computer will remain unlocked for a minute or two as you walk away. If what's on your screen is really secret that's probably not great.

    I tried this or something very similar at work, and while my work wasn't all that secret it still bothered me that it took so long to kick in, and having it just unlock itself once you get 30-50 feet from the computer is also questionable for real security.

    But it does beat walking away from a completely unlocked computer.

  14. Frost
    April 27, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    This only works, of course, if your office is large or you are going far from the computer. Bluetooth has a 30-foot range at least, frequently more if you have line of sight. Add the delay until the Bluetooth device goes out of range plus the 15 seconds and your computer will remain unlocked for a minute or two as you walk away. If what's on your screen is really secret that's probably not great.

    I tried this or something very similar at work, and while my work wasn't all that secret it still bothered me that it took so long to kick in, and having it just unlock itself once you get 30-50 feet from the computer is also questionable for real security.

    But it does beat walking away from a completely unlocked computer.

  15. Tarun
    April 27, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    That is a great think , it would be a great tool for d next April fools day, or like some sci-fi movie u can also make your pc speak "welcome Mr.whatever" whenever you are around.......

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