ScreenBlur: Lock your screen, protect your privacy

Cezar Renta

If you want to make sure nobody can see or access your desktop, ScreenBlur delivers an elegant and very simple solution. This free application lets you easily blackout the screen and lock the desktop by simply pressing a hotkey. The access cannot be regained without typing the password.

Installation & Requirements

ScreenBlur is a portable utility, so the executable and other data files are stored in a single folder. Launching the executable will start the application and at first use a dialog window will provide options to change the language and application/lock screen fonts.

ScreenBlur’s official support is limited to Windows XP, Vista and 7 with no additional requirements other than .NET Framework 2.0.

Interface

When you run the program for the first time, its Settings window will open so you can set a password, this being the only mandatory setting for the program to work. ScreenBlur’s default residence is the system tray. Clicking on the lock icon will lock the screen right away. The tray icon also has a small context menu offering several options, specifically the screen lock function, desktop blackout and the program’s settings.

ScreenBlur’s Settings is a tab-based window: the Password tab (mentioned above) contains the only setting needed to make the program work.

The Automation tab offers some interesting options to further customize your screen lock function. Besides the “Start with Windows” option, ScreenBlur can also be set to lock the screen when the computer is idle (with a few customizable exceptions), on system resume & restart. ScreenBlur can also play a sound when the screen locks and the lock function can perform some additional tasks such as muting the sound and minimize/hide windows, gadgets, icons and the taskbar.

In the Hotkeys tab, users have several hotkey-enabled shortcuts they can activate, for example lock the screen, activate/deactivate desktop blackout and open the settings window. The Misc area includes options to enable the logging functions and send the computer to hibernation, sleep or shut it down when the screen lock was active for a certain period of time.
The Advanced section includes a few subtle customizations for the screen lock function and the Interface tab allows users to set the look of their locked screen and tray icon. Several images and backgrounds are available and you can even use a custom image.

Pros

– Free, portable tool.
– Works with the default settings. The only mandatory setting is choosing a password.
– Offers several automation tasks for activating the screen lock function.

– All tasks can be activated via hotkeys.

Cons

– None worth mentioning.

Conclusion

Considering its intended purpose, ScreenBlur is a very flexible tool allowing users to customize almost everything, from the system tray icon to screen lock image. While the provided options are straightforward, ScreenBlur can be used with its default settings. It’s also portable, so users can simply set it once and copy the folder on multiple computers with all of the settings retained.