Is your computer secure when you decide to leave it alone for a little while? You could always log off or shut down your computer every few minutes or leave your secure data unattended. A better idea is to run your screensaver and password protect it.
This is how it works – You usually install and run screensavers to jazz up your desktop when your computer is idle. But when you move your mouse, or click a key the desktop comes back and the screensaver stops. When the password protection is on, the screensaver will ask for a password before switching to the desktop.
Password Protect Screensavers
To password protect your screen saver in Windows XP.
1. Right-click an empty area of the desktop and choose Properties.
2. Go to the Screen Saver tab.
3. Select a screen saver from the pull-down menu if one isn’t already selected.
4. Place a checkmark next to “On resume, password protect.”
5. Click OK.
You can select a smaller time interval of inactivity before the computer starts up the screensaver. This time interval has to be a balance between your usual periods of inactivity and degree of security required.
Remember that Password protection is not used if you start the screen saver manually from the Microsoft Office toolbar, by double-clicking the screen saver (.scr) file in Windows Explorer, or by clicking Preview on the Screen Saver tab in Display properties. The password protection is used only if the screen saver starts automatically when the wait time has expired.
Note : Sometimes there is a delay between the time that the screen saver locks the computer and the time that the password protection starts. Till then you can use a key press or mouse movement to unlock the computer without a password.
So to be absolutely sure, before leaving the computer wait till the screensaver starts automatically, move the mouse and its asks for a password…
WARNING: Please use this feature at your OWN RISK. Though this a built in feature in Microsoft Windows, if you forget your password you could lockdown your computer and then require professional computer support to fix it.