When we work in a shared work environment with other people, whether in an office, a coworking, or if we are simply with our friends and get up for a second from our computer without blocking or logging out, we are putting all our personal information in the hands of any person from our environment with all that that entails.
We must get used to blocking our equipment every time we get out of the chair for several minutes, even if it’s just to go get a coffee, go out to stretch our legs, make a call…
Reasons to protect our equipment
The information we store on our equipment includes bank and personal data, financial information, bank access codes, personal photos and videos. This data, in the wrong hands, can be a problem in the short or long term, it all depends on the intentions of the person who has access.
We are not going to have this problem at home, however, it never hurts to apply it also to prevent the little ones from accessing our computer and they can end up deleting some important directory file, accessing content for adults (if they are a little older) .
Windows puts at our disposal different methods that help us protect access to our computer at all times, as long as we are willing to use them. However, between the fact that some are not well known and that people generally forget, very few people take advantage of them and when they remember they always end up suspending the team.
Protect your Windows account with these methods
If you want to protect access to your computer when you are not in front of it, then we show you several methods to achieve it
Windows dynamic lock
Windows dynamic lock is the simplest and fastest method to automatically lock our computer when we move away from it without locking it first.
This function is responsible for blocking the equipment when it loses connection with a device that we have previously linked, mainly with a smartphone, although other devices with this technology can also be used, such as smartwatches, quantifying bracelets, tablets, however, not all of them offer the option to link a PC, so it is easier to always use our smartphone. In order to use this function, it is necessary that the computer has a bluetooth connection . If not, on Amazon we can find them USB stick with bluetooth for just under 10 euros.
To configure the Windows dynamic lock, the first thing we must do is access the Windows configuration options (Windows + i) and access the Devices section. Next, click on Add Bluetooth or another device and from our mobile, from the Bluetooth section we search for the PC and link them by entering the corresponding PIN that is shown on the PC screen.
Once we have linked the computer and our mobile, we return to the main Windows configuration menu and access the Accounts> Login options section.
In the section on the left, in the Dynamic lock section, we check the box Allow Windows to lock the device automatically when you are away . At that moment, it will show what device it will use to detect if we have moved away from our PC enough to lose the bluetooth connection and, when this occurs, it will block the computer so that no one but us can access the computer.
We can use this function through an Android smartphone, an iPhone , Xiaomi MiBand bracelets without any problem. When we sit down in front of the computer again, we will only have to enter the PIN code that protects our account to resume work where we left off, since all the applications will remain open where we left them.
Use a folder with a password
A possibility that many do not contemplate and that is an excellent option when we work in collaborative environments is to protect all your data through a password-protected folder . Without that password, we will never have access to your content.
If you’re a Microsoft 365 Windows subscriber, OneDrive includes a Personal Store , a folder that we can only access by entering our team account password, not the code itself, or by using the Microsoft Authenticator app. This is the safest option to prevent anyone who has access to our equipment from accessing sensitive data.
The ability to protect a folder with a password was an option Windows offered natively until Windows 7. However, with the release of Windows 8 and earlier versions, Microsoft has removed the ability to protect folders with a password, forcing the user to resort to third-party applications (the function available in these versions to encrypt the content only protects the data to be accessed from other accounts, not from the same user account).
To add a password to the folders where we store the information that we do not want to be available to anyone, we can use applications such as Folder Protect , a paid application with a large number of functions that you can download at the following link .
Another interesting option is to use the application, Folder Lock , also paid, with which we can encrypt the content not only of folders, but also of external drives. This application is available through its website .
The problem with these applications is that they are absolutely useless if the person who wants to access the directory has advanced computer skills, since they only have to close the open application that manages that folder to disable the protection.
Schedule the computer to turn off
If we are people who rarely get up from the table and only do it during our rest periods, whether at lunch or dinner, we can program our team so that, at a certain time, it automatically suspends using the Task Scheduler .
Once we have run the application, click on Create a basic task , give it a name and click on Next. In the next window, in the right column, we select the Daily option.
Next, we add the time in which we want to perform this task and establish how many days we want to perform it. To do it every day, we must leave the value 1.
In the next window, click on Start a program and click on the Browse button displayed under Program or script and go to the WindowsSystem32 directory to select the shudown.exe file. Then we click on Finish and check in the summary that is shown on the screen, we have carried out all the steps correctly.
Auto Lock is a small application that, after running, automatically creates a countdown every time we stop interacting with the computer . When x minutes have passed (we can configure the time) since the last time we clicked on the keyboard or moved the mouse, the application will automatically lock the computer showing the login screen.
Within the configuration options, we can modify the operation so that, instead of showing the lock screen, it restarts, turns off, logs out or simply turns off the screen. Auto Lock is available for download from the Lenovo website and is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Once we run the application by clicking on the Start button, the taskbar is automatically placed, so that anyone with computer knowledge can close it before the end of the time we have determined.
Suspend the computer with a shortcut
Another of the solutions that we propose to block the session of our computer when we move away from it, to create a direct access on the desktop of our computer using the following command:
C:/Windows/System32/rundll32.exe powrprof.dll, SetSuspendState
To create the shortcut, we place the mouse on the desktop of our computer, press the right mouse button and select New > Shortcut. In the text box Type the location of the element we paste the code that I have shown above replacing the bars “/” with these “”. Click on next and write the name with which we want to recognize the shortcut, a shortcut that we can place on the taskbar to always have it at hand.
With keyboard shortcuts
If the previous method does not work for us, because we do not usually take the mobile with us every time we get up, we must exercise our mind and try to remember every time we are going to get up from our computer, press the Win + L key combination.
By pressing this combination of keys, Windows automatically blocks access to the computer, showing on the screen the window where we must enter the PIN code that gives access to our account. The best way to remember to use this keyboard shortcut is to place a note near the screen with the shortcut to use.
Another keyboard shortcut with which we can quickly go to the menu to quickly suspend the computer is Alt +F4 . If we are not going to turn off the computer that we only want to suspend operation, we must press this combination of keys on a desktop where there is no open application, since this shortcut also closes the applications that are open on the desktop.
A very comfortable method that we can also use to block access to our computer is by using our keyboard software , as long as it includes it. Some keyboards incorporate programmable keys and/or multifunction keys, including the possibility of turning off or locking the equipment by pressing a specific button.
Generally, keyboards that include this type of button allow you to customize their operation. In this way, if the only thing we want is to block the device when we press it, we only have to modify the action of that button through the software