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Which keys can I press to bring up the locked screen save while I walk away for a few minutes?
I have an external keyboard (MS Comfort Curve 2000) thru a multi pc switcher box so I have ctrl-cmd-alt keys but no option key and everything I've tried so far doesn't work.

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There's no default shortcut for it (unless you count ⌃⇧⏏ and ⌥⌘⏏ when requiring a password after sleep is enabled), but see Is there a quick way to lock my Mac?. One option would be assign a custom shortcut to /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu\ Extras/ -suspend. – user495470 Jul 30 '12 at 13:18
FWIW, Alt and Option are the same key. – Daniel Jul 30 '12 at 13:46
up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can use Control + Shift + Eject to put your display to sleep but also to lock your screen. If you don't have an Eject key, you need to use an Automator based workaround to assign your own shortcut. Alternatively, you can set a Hot Corner for the screensaver to start in System Preferences.

For the locking to work, you have to tell OS X to require a password immediately after sleep in System Preferences > Security & Privacy:

When this is set, the above key combo will lock your screen and a password is required to unlock it.

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this assumes the user has an Eject key; from his post it sounds like he is not using an Apple external keyboard as he doesn't have an Option key. – Stu Wilson Jul 30 '12 at 13:17
indeed, thanks. Updated the answer with the easiest workaround I could find by just using the Start Screensaver action – kremalicious Jul 30 '12 at 13:32

A bit out of the box but this could work:

If you have an iPhone or iPad you could set up iCloud and find my mac, iPhone, iPad. boot up the find my iPhone app on your iDevice and lock your mac from there while you walk away.

Or if your not afraid for some apple scripting and you have a bluetooth enabled mac you could use this script to lock your mac upon bluetooth disconnection. ( which also should work with an non apple phone ) more info about the scripting can be found here: Lock and unlock a Mac using Bluetooth detection

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