If you are a Windows 10 user, you have a number of choices of what to do when you step away from your PC. If you work in a busy office and go for some coffee, you want to be sure that no one passing by stops to view your work-- or modify it. If you are working from home, you may need to ensure that young family members don't mangle or delete your important Word documents. In most cases, the solution is to trigger the Sleep function to hide your applications.Read More.
Triggering Sleep mode
Depending on how you have set your Power settings, your PC will automatically enter Sleep mode after so many minutes of inactivity. But you can also activate the Sleep mode by lightly pressing the power button or by closing the lid of your laptop. When you enter Sleep mode, your PC will drop into a low power usage status where the individual components will consume less energy. However, the state of your applications will be kept in memory, so that when you sign in again, all your apps will snap back quickly just as you had left them. By not Signing Off, you have saved yourself the pain of re-opening all your apps and have still shown yourself a good energy consumer.
Locking your PC
On the other hand, what if you are in the process of downloading a large file and don't want to sit in front of your PC protecting it from unintentional disruption? Then you need the Lock option. Just hold the Windows key and press L. If you're like most of us, you have never found a use for the Windows key, but this key is very handy for locking your computer.
When you lock your computer, your desktop will be replaced with your Sign In screen and when you re-activate, your desktop will re-appear as you had left it just as if your computer had recovered from Sleep mode. While you were recuperating from screen fatigue, your download progressed and, in fact, any running applications continued to execute. For example, your Gmail continued to download. The downside of locking your computer, instead of placing it in Sleep mode, is that your PC hardware continued to consume energy, just as if you were actively using it. So, locking your computer only makes sense when the computer needs to keep doing work while you are elsewhere.
Remember that you can control all Power and Sleep options from Settings.