It can happen in a moment. You’re in a café, minding your own business. You take your eye off your laptop for a second and suddenly it’s gone.
Of course you’re upset about the lost hardware; it’s probably your most valuable portable possession. But most people’s first cry will be: “My life was on that laptop!” The software, photos, emails, documents, projects and assorted precious things stored on a laptop can be very difficult and time-consuming to get back – often impossible.
There are plenty of software security options for laptop users. We’ll show you how to prevent people eavesdropping when you’re using a public wireless network, how to lock your laptop up against intruders, how to retrieve or wipe your data remotely, and even how to track it down from a distance.
1. A strong password is at least eight characters long and contains a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. It doesn’t contain a complete word or your name. In Control Panel, choose User Accounts, Change Your Password (in Vista, press Ctrl, Alt, Del).
2. Protect yourself from ‘walk-by’ information theft – you don’t want nosy colleagues having a crafty peek when you leave your laptop in the boardroom during a meeting break. In Vista, choose the Start button and then the lock symbol. In XP, choose Start, Log Off to return to the password prompt.
3. Password-protect your screensaver. In Vista’s Control Panel choose Personalization, Screen Saver, then tick ‘On resume, display logon screen’. In XP’s Control Panel, choose Display Properties, Screen Saver and tick the ‘On resume, password protect’ box. You may need to adjust the time delay.