Locking certain applications on your PC is a good practice. It helps protect your privacy by preventing unauthorized access to apps containing private or sensitive data, especially when other people have access to your computer. In addition, locking apps like games helps with parental controls or productivity. This article will show you how to lock apps in Windows 10 and 11 with an app lock for PC.
What is app lock? It’s designed to lock apps with password or fingerprint or face recognition. App lock is mainly used for privacy protection and may also help with parental controls or productivity. There are two types.
When you choose an app lock to lock apps on Windows PC, you can ask the following questions.
Cisdem AppCrypt is an easy-to-use app to effectively password lock apps on PC. It’s compatible with Windows 7 or later (64-bit only). This app lock is the best of its kind with high performance and ease of use. You can use it to password protect certain apps permanently or to prevent access to certain apps during certain times.
Below are the steps to lock apps in Windows 10.
1. Download and install AppCrypt.
2. When you open it for the first time, set a password.
3. On the taskbar, click its icon. Alternatively, right-click the icon and choose Open Main Window.
4. Enter the password to access the main window.
5. Drag the apps that you want to lock into the main window. Alternatively, you can use the Add button.
In step 5, if an app has a desktop shortcut, just drag the shortcut. If there isn’t a shortcut, please open File Explorer, go to Program Files or Program Files (x86) to find the app (such as Example.exe), and then drag the EXE file.
Now the apps are locked. When one tries to open a locked app, one will be prompted to enter the password. If the password is correct, the app will be unlocked.
If the password is wrong, the app will stay locked. Also, the failed attempt will be recorded.
To remove the lock from an app, you need to go to the main window (which requires the password), select the app and press the Delete key. It also requires the password to quit AppCrypt.
Tip 1: To make this app lock more effectively, you can go to its Preferences to turn on Launch at system startup, Disable TaskMgr and Disable CMD. Also, it’s a good idea to turn on App Lock, which will automatically lock unlocked apps after they are inactive for an amount of time specified by you.
Tip 2: By default, a locked app will stay locked all the time as long as AppCrypt is running. If you only want to lock apps at certain times, you can use the Schedule feature.
My Lockbox is not designed to put app lock but can definitely help with this purpose. It’s compatible with Windows 11, 10 and earlier. There is a free version, which allows you to lock one app. To use it without limits, you need to pay.
Its Auto-lock feature is worth mentioning. It has three options. You can enable one or more options, depending on your needs. For example, if a laptop user has enabled “Lock folder(s) after 10 minutes of inactivity” and “Lock folder(s) when I close the lid”, an unlocked app will be automatically locked again after it stays inactive for 10 minutes or when the user closes the lid.
Below are the steps.
1. Download and install My Lockbox.
2. The first time you open it, you will be asked to set a password.
3. The Lockbox folder not set window will appear. There, click Browse.
4. To lock an app, select the folder where this app is installed.
Typically, you can find the folder in C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files (x86). If the app was installed from Microsoft Store, you will find it in C:\Program Files\WindowsApps.
5. Click OK.
Alternatively, you can use drag and drop in steps 3 and 4.
Now the app is locked and protected by a password. If one tries to open a protected app, one will see an error message. The app will remain locked eve if you quit My Lockbox.
To unlock an app, you need to open My Lockbox and click Unlock. By default, an unlocked app will remain accessible until you click Lock. It’s a good idea to turn on the Auto-lock feature. To completely remove the lock, just click Clear.
As you can see, this method doesn’t allow you directly lock an app itself. But it’s useful and easy to follow.
KakaSoft ExeLock can be an effective app lock for PC. It’s dedicated to locking the EXE file. For example, to lock the WhatsApp app, just lock WhatsApp.exe. ExeLock puts app lock by modifying the EXE file.
But there is a drawback. According to my experience, there isn’t a way to remove the lock from an app (or more precisely undo the modification to the EXE file). I also did some searches online but in vain. You can easily unlock an app by entering the password though.
Note: There is a free version, with which you can’t change the default password. The default password is 123456 and is very easy to guess. This means that the free version is almost useless. To effectively lock apps, one needs to get the paid version.
Below are the steps.
1. Download and install ExeLock. Open it.
2. You will be presented with the Protect tab. There, click Select.
3. Navigate to Program Files to select app that you want to protect and click Open.
For example, to lock WhatsApp, you need to select WhatsApp.exe.
In most cases, you can find the EXE file in Program Files. If you can’t find it, use File Explorer to search for it.
4. Change the default password to something more secure.
5. Click Lock Now.
Now you will see a message telling you that the app is locked successfully. If you double-click the app, it won’t open, and an Enter the login password window will appear, allowing you to enter the password to unlock the app.
If you a parent who wants to prevent children from accessing certain apps by locking the apps, you can check out Windows 10 Parental Controls, which is free and included with Windows 10 Home. For example, if you found your child addicted to a certain application or game, this free method is suitable.
Parental Controls that ships with Windows 10 Home is a tool for parents to monitor and manage child’s online activities. It allows you to lock unwanted apps on child’s device. The disadvantage is it can only lock apps that have already been used on this account. In addition, it only works on non-administrator’s account.
Here are steps on how to lock apps in Windows 10 through Parental Controls.
1. Go to Window 10 Start menu. Select Settings > Account > Family and other people > Add a family member > Add a child. Then enter your child’s email address and some other information. If you child doesn’t have an email, create one for him and make sure he can only sign in his own account.
2. Back to Settings > Account, you’ll see your child’s account has been added. Click on Manage family settings online under your child’s account.
3. Then the Microsoft Family parental controls page will pop up. Tap on App and game limits under your child’s account.
4. Enable Time limits toggle switch then select the app you want to block. Use the slide under this app and set the daily limit to 0 min.
Group Policy is a free utility ships with Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise and Education editions that allows you to configure group policy settings. As network administrator, you can define how you or other users can use this PC such as blocking specific app. Now let’s look at how to lock apps on Windows 10 PC via Group Policy.
1. Go to Window 10 Start menu and search for gpedit. Hit Enter when the Edit group policy option appears.
2. Then the Local Group Policy Editor will pop up. Navigate to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > System.
3. Double-click Don’t run specific Windows applications. Select Enabled then click Show. Type in the app name you want to block to the disallowed list. Click OK, and then click Apply. After above settings, the application will be disabled on your Windows 10 PC.
This article talks about five ways on how to lock apps in Windows 10 PC, using app lock for PC from third-party developers or using built-in solutions. Compared to the last two methods, the first three methods are easier and more widely applicable. Regardless of the app lock you use, it’s important to set a strong password so that the lock is harder to bypass.
Rosa has worked in Mac software industry for more than eight years. She believes that the purpose of software is to make life better and work more productively. In addition to writing, Rosa is also an avid runner.
I tried AppCrypt and it worked well for me. I was able to lock some apps that I don't want my kids or guests to use on my PC. Thank you for this helpful article.
It's great to see this post here. I always lend my PC to my roommates but want to lock some of my privacy apps. The tool you recommended is easy to use. Thanks!