Updated: 05/01/2023 by Computer Hope

A lock may refer to any of the following:

Padlock icon on a keyboard key.

1. Lock is a method of preventing access to a file or some other data. For example, a user may lock access to the computer to prevent anyone from using it while they're gone.


Microsoft Windows users can lock their computers by pressing the keyboard shortcut key Windows key+L, or press Ctrl+Alt+Del and choose the lock option. Some keyboards may also have a keyboard function key or other key that locks a computer.


Chromebook users can use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+L to lock their computer.

2. Permanently enable something until disabled or unlocked. For example, the caps lock permanently enables capitalization on the keyboard until it is pressed again.

3. Command found with some versions of Microsoft Windows that allowed a user to lock their drive. See the lock command page for further information on this command.

4. A physical lock on a computer that prevents it or an attached peripheral from being taken. For example, the Kensington lock used with some laptops.

5. Short for lock up, a term to describe a computer or device that is not responsive.

6. A lock is also a small symbol shown when data sent over an Internet browser is secure.

Hardware key, Lock screen, Security terms, Unlock