Hands-On with Windows 10 Dynamic Lock

Posted on February 9, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 19 Comments

Hands-On with Windows 10 Dynamic Lock

Starting with the Creators Update, you will be able to use a linked smartphone or other device to automatically lock your PC when you step away. Here’s how it works.

Well, here’s how it works today, at least. My hope is that Microsoft will improve this feature before the Creators Update ships, since there is one glaring and obvious missing feature.

I’ll get to that in a moment. But starting with the recently-released Windows 10 Insider Preview build 15031, you can enable a new security feature called Dynamic Lock in Settings > Accounts > Sign-in Options.

Note: To do so, however, you will need to sign-in to Windows with a password. This is true of most of the features shown here, actually.

Before you can use Dynamic Lock, you will need to pair at least one Bluetooth device—your smartphone, a Fitbit, or similar—to your PC. In build 15031, you can’t do so from the Setting app, as it crashes when you select Devices. So you either need to pair the device before you upgrade, or use the Bluetooth control panel, which still works.

To enable Dynamic Lock, just select the option titled “Allow Windows to detect when you’re away and automatically lock the device.”

And that’s it. If you walk away from the PC with the paired device, Windows will wait about 30 seconds and then it will lock automatically. (You can test this by temporarily turning off Bluetooth on that device, by the way.)

The distance at which this happens appears to be based on the strength of the Bluetooth signal, as Bluetooth creates what’s called a personal area network that is short range by nature. But the time that it takes to cover that distance plus the 30-second delay means that Windows won’t lock immediately. And that could be a security issue, frankly.

Worse, Dynamic Lock doesn’t provide a way to select which Bluetooth device triggers the lock. So I’ve paired my FitBit and my phone, but if I walk away and leave my phone, it’s unclear whether it will still auto-lock. (My testing so far is inconclusive, and as you might imagine this is a bit tedious.)

So… What I’d like to see is a way to choose the device. And a way to change the 30-second timeout to something shorter. I suppose there is still time left for that to happen.

 

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