When you boot your Windows 8 PC, the first think you obviously notice is the sign in screen. The same screen is displayed when you lock your PC. Windows 8 has a much better and eye pleasing lock screen compared to earlier versions of Windows which had a plain and boring blue lock screen. If you do not have Windows 8 installed on your PC and are a little bit envious of your friends who log in to their Windows 8 PC using the all new cool looking lock screen, then you can use the free WinLockPro which brings the Windows 8 style lock screen to Windows 7 computers. It mimics all the features of Windows 8 lock screen including backgrounds, settings, charms bar and user profiles.
You can download WinLockPro from the sourceForge website. But the downloaded file is just a bootstrap setup installer, it further downloads many more files during the installation. It also tries to install a search toolbar which is not required for proper operation of this software, so you may opt out from installing this toolbar during the installation.
After WinLockPro has been installed, you can double-click on the WinLockPro icon on the desktop screen to launch it. You can also press the hotkey Ctrl + L to start it. When you launch it for the first time, it asks you to enter a username, password and a recovery email address. This email address is used to send you the password in case you forget the password in future.
As soon as you enter the password, the WinLockPro screen locks your Windows. You would see exact same screen as in Windows 8 including the time, date, background picture etc. If you move your mouse cursor towards the top-right or bottom-right corners of your screen, a charms bar appears. The show modern screen button in this charms bar shows the desktop, but only after you enter the password. Other ways to get out of unlock the WinLockPro screen are by pressing the Esc key or double-clicking on the lock screen.
In the charms bar, if you click on the settings icon, it would open the WinLockPro setings which are divided into two categories – Personalize and System Security. In the Personalize section, you can choose your user name, password, user profile picture, background screens (it comes with many backgrounds that you can choose or you can pick any picture from your hard disk), widgets, hotkeys and more.
In the System Security section, you can set it to inform you via email messages if someone tried to log in to your PC using a wrong password, set WinLockPro to automatically start with Windows, start it using Ctrl + L etc. There is also a Remote Control option which allows you to shutdown your PC when you send an email to your Gmail account.
Conclusion: The WinLockPro software is a free application that brings the Windows 8 style lock screen to earlier versions of Windows (from Windows XP to 7). It is highly customizable and you can set many different backgrounds, color schemes, user profile pictures etc. It is a very refreshing change for all the Windows 7, Vista and XP users who are bored with the old blue log in screen.
You can download WinLockPro from http://www.winlockpro.org/.