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Lock your KDE screen from the command line

Did you know you can lock your current KDE screen by using the command line? For the 3.x series use

dcop kdesktop KScreensaverIface lock

and for KDE 4.x try

qdbus org.freedesktop.ScreenSaver /ScreenSaver Lock

With the help of these you should be able to craft a simple shell script that will lock your screen at given actions. For example, you can leave your screen unlocked and make the PC activate the commands above when it detects mouse movement or when a certain application is launched.

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  1. BeteNoire

    The command for KDE 4 does not work.

    qdbus org.kde.krunner /ScreenSaver Lock
    Service ‘org.kde.krunner’ does not exist.


  2. it is work for me on kde 4 thanks


  3. BeteNoire, try:

    qdbus org.freedesktop.ScreenSaver /ScreenSaver Lock
    xset dpms force off

    I’ve put this in a script in $HOME/bin, created a shortcut in the menu, and set “Win+L” as a shortcut. Thanks, T4L!

  4. Roy Smith

    If you wish to launch the kde4 screen saver without the password prompt to exit, use this command:

    qdbus org.freedesktop.ScreenSaver /ScreenSaver org.freedesktop.ScreenSaver.SetActive True

  5. Jeffery Williams

    The command may not work from within “screen”. If you are running screen and it doesn’t work, try the command in a new konsole window.

  6. Tom

    Is there a way to do this remotely. I ssh into the box and try to lock it remotely but get this error:

    Could not connect to D-Bus server: org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.Spawn.ExecFailed: /bin/dbus-launch terminated abnormally with the following error: Autolaunch error: X11 initialization failed.


  7. Tom, you have to set the DISPLAY environment variable.

    export DISPLAY=:0
    qdbus org.freedesktop.ScreenSaver /ScreenSaver Lock


  8. As the command is a bit long, you can set an alias in your .bashrc

    alias lockme=”qdbus org.freedesktop.ScreenSaver /ScreenSaver Lock”

  9. pravin wanjal

    how to unlock the kde window?

  10. L.P. McCracken

    Ctrl+Alt+l (L for lock) seems to work right out of the box.


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