I was asked recently about password-protecting a Windows XP computer. Or, more accurately, I was asked how to turn off the password-protect option when a computer is resuming from Standby/Hibernation.
You can password-protect your computer via the screensaver, if you want. We’ve had this capability since Windows 3 or even earlier. In those old versions, you told the screensaver to require a password, and then you told it the password. This is not particularly secure, but it will probably control casual visitors to your computer.
With Windows XP, password-protecting via your screensaver and on resuming from StandBy/Hibernate uses the Windows XP Users and their passwords. If you have set up individual users with passwords, you would select the user to log on and enter his password. If your users do not have passwords, you will still see a user login screen.
If you want to create more users, delete users, change passwords, etc., you go to Start / Control Panel / User Accounts. Even if you never created an account, you have one created by default.
To Password-protect your computer with the screensaver process, you can right-click on the desktop and select Properties. Or, you can go Start / Control Panel / Appearance and Themes / Display.
Then, select the Screen Saver tab and check the “On resume, password protect” check box. This box has slightly different labels in the various versions of Windows XP.
To Password protect your computer for resuming from hibernation or standby, go to the same Screen Saver tab. Near the bottom is the “Monitor Power” section and the “Power…” button. Click the “Power…” button, select the Advanced tab, and click on the “Prompt for password when computer resumes from standby” checkbox.
To un-password-protect the screensaver or resuming from hibernation, go to the same places and uncheck those boxes.
Windows 98 and Windows Me have similar capabilities to create individual users for the computer. However, they not effectively isolate an individual user’s files from another user. They also have the ability to use a user password with the screensaver and on return from hibernate/standby.