Instantly Lock Your Computer

August 11, 2009

Windows XP allows you to instantly “lock” your computer so that a password is required before the computer can be accessed. This simple
security feature can keep others from viewing or using your files or programs while you are away from your computer.

To lock your computer, simply press the Windows Key + L. (On a standard computer keyboard, the Windows Keys can be found two keys to the left and right of the space bar, and can be identified by their “Flying Windows” logos.) Any files or programs you have open will be hidden and you will need to enter your User Account password in order to resume your computing session.

Of course, this security measure will only be effective if you have the
computer configured to require a password when you logon. If you do not
use a password to logon, then anybody will be able to “unlock” the
computer. (Passwords can be set by accessing “User Accounts” via the Windows XP Control Panel).

Exactly how the lock function behaves depends on how logon and logoff options are set on your computer.

If “Fast User Switching” is enabled, pressing Windows Key + L will
display the “Welcome” screen and other users of your computer will be
able to logon to their own accounts.

If “Fast User Switching” is disabled, pressing Windows Key + L will
obscure open files with the current desktop wallpaper and display a
password dialogue box.

Fast User Switching can be enabled and disabled by accessing the User Accounts feature.

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