Hiding Your Screen

Have you ever had someone come up behind you when you're working on your computer? Were you working on something that you didn't want them to see but you couldn't hide it quickly enough so they saw it anyway? With a little preparation we can set up our computer so that with one combination of keys on the keyboard we can hide everything that we are doing on the computer from prying eyes.

To start with you need to go into the Windows\System folder and find the file for the screensaver that you want to use. Screensavers use the .scr extension so an easy way to get a list of them all is to do a Find on your C: drive for all files named *.scr and pick the one you want from there. Right click on the one that you want, drag it to the desktop, and then select Create Shortcut Here.

You now have a screensaver that you can start at any time just by selecting it on the desktop. You can't always see the desktop though so let's assign a keyboard shortcut to it. To do this right click on the screensaver icon that you just created on your desktop and select Properties. About half way down the Shortcut page you'll see a field labelled Shortcut Key. You need to move the cursor to this field either by clicking on it with the mouse or pressing alt-K on your keyboard. Now you enter the key that you want to associate with this shortcut. You will want to choose a key combination that you can remember but which you don't use anywhere else. The shortcut key assignments usually involve pressing down both the ctrl and alt keys and then pressing another key so these two keys are assumed if you don't press them while setting this field, for example you might press 0 to associate the shortcut with ctrl-alt-0. Once you've entered your shortcut you can press the OK button to apply the change and close the properties box.

You may need to reboot your system before the keyboard shortcut takes effect but once you have done so, you can start the screensaver whenever you want just by pressing a couple of keys on your keyboard and all of your work will be completely hidden from prying eyes. Once they've moved on you just move the mouse slightly or press any key (esc is usually safe) to turn off the screensaver and return to work.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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