All about LockApp.exe in Windows 10

You may see the process in the Task Manager on your Windows 10 PC by the name “LockApp.exe.” It may be possible that the process is eating up a lot of your system resources such as RAM and CPU.

task manager lockapp.exe process

So what is the LockApp.exe process and what is it used for? This article discusses everything about the process and also covers whether it is a virus or a legitimate Windows process.

What is LockApp.exe

lock screen

If you are a regular Windows 10 user, you may be familiar with the screen in the image above. This is the screen a user encounters when they boot up a computer or lock their PC. This screen gives the date and the time along with other information about the computer, such as Wi-Fi connectivity and battery status, etc. But most importantly it gives scenic beauty that constantly changes with even more beautiful images.

This screen uses a process called LockApp.exe. The only function of it is to provide the user with a lock screen upon startup and when you lock your computer. As soon as you click or press a key on this screen, you are taken to the next credential screen, which looks like the one below. Here, the process is no longer in use.

credentials screen

Having said that, there are some concerns about the process being a virus or malware. It has now become the norm for attackers to disguise their processes with a legitimate name and make it seem like a regular Windows process. Let us discuss how you can determine whether the process is a Windows process or a virus.

How to check if LockApp.exe a virus?

There is no right answer. Any process in the Task Manager may or may not be a virus. As we mentioned earlier, attackers tend to disguise their malicious processes with legitimate names so they can hide in plain sight. Therefore, you need to confirm whether this process is legitimate or a hoax.

Open the Task Manager by using the Ctrl + Shift + Esc shortcut keys and switch to the Details tab. From there, look for the process “LockApp.exe,” right-click it, and select Open file location.

open file location 1

Now right-click the file in File Explorer and click Properties from the context menu. In the Properties window, switch to the Digital Signatures tab. If the “Name of signer” is listed as Microsoft, it means that the process is legit and not a hoax. If there is no signer’s name or anything else, it is likely that the process is malicious. In which case, we would advise you to get rid of it using antivirus software.

digital signatures

Is it safe to end the LockApp.exe process?

You may want to end the LockApp.exe process if it is consuming unexpected system resources, or due to some other reason. But can you do so?

Yes, it is absolutely safe to end the LockApp.exe process from the Task Manager and it will not affect your system’s performance. In fact, it might make it better by freeing up system resources. However, the process will re-run itself when you reboot the computer or lock your user account.

To end the process, simply launch the Task Manager using the Ctrl + Shift + Esc shortcut keys and switch to the Details tab. Right-click the LockApp.exe process and click End process tree from the context menu. The process will now be terminated.

end process tree

If you still experience issues with the process, continue reading to fix it.

How to fix lock screen in Windows 10

Since the lock screen is directly associated with the LockApp.exe process, it may be possible that certain system files have been corrupted. These can be fixed by 2 methods:

Install Windows updates

Installing any pending Windows updates resolves most issues being older, corrupted files are usually replaced by new ones. To update your OS, navigate to Start Menu -> Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Update. Now, click on Check for updates on the right and the system will start scanning for any pending updates.

check for updates 1

If found any, it will then begin to download and install them automatically. Reboot the computer when asked to and then check to see if the lock screen has been fixed.

Scan for corrupted system files

Windows 10 comes with a built-in tool to fix system files that may have been corrupted. This tool is the System File Checker (SFC) which automatically repairs corrupted system files that may be redundantly available on your PC. Note that we cannot fix files that are not redundantly available.

To perform the scan, open Windows PowerShell with administrative privileges and then run the following command:

sfc /scannow

Allow some time for the command to fully run and scan your PC.

ps 1

Once completed, restart your computer and check to see if your lock screen has started behaving normally yet.

How to disable LockApp.exe in Windows 10

Disabling the LockApp.exe process will automatically disable any part of the lock screen on your PC that displays the date, time and other information. However, this will not affect your computer’s performance. Nonetheless, you will be directed to the screen to provide credentials directly, while skipping the scenic images.

The process to disable this process requires manipulating system registries. Therefore, it is advised that you create a system restore point before proceeding forward, as any wrong configurations could turn fatal for your computer.

Launch the Registry Editor by typing in regedit in Run, and then paste the following in the address bar at the top for quick navigation:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows
regedit 3

Right-click Windows, expand New, and then click Key. Name this new key as Personalization. Now, right-click Personalization, expand New, and then click DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name this DWORD as NoLockScreen. Then, double-click the new DWORD NoLockScreen and set its Value Data to 1. Click OK when done.

arrows

You will need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect. When you do, you will notice that part of the lock screen has now been disabled and bypassed directly onto the credentials screen. Once logged in, the Task Manager will no longer display the LockApp.exe process.

If in the future you feel like re-enabling the complete lock screen and its associated process, simply return to the same location within the Registry Editor and either delete the DWORD or the Personalization key entirely. Of course, a reboot will be required for the changes to take effect.

Closing words

LockApp.exe is a legitimate and essential process used by Windows. However, it cannot be confirmed without checking its signer as explained in the process above. Disabling the process should not affect your PC in a negative manner. However, if it is not bothering you or your PC, we would suggest leaving it as-is and not risking your OS by manipulating system registries without a reason.

Subhan Zafar

Subhan holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and has completed several system and network certifications including Huwaei, Cisco and Microsoft certs. He mostly researches and writes about the Windows world.

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