Ensure that your account is password protected and set to the proper user level.
- [Instructor] Your Windows sign in requires a password. It's necessary. You might think that no one would care, but without that password, your account could come under attack, your data compromised, your computer system invaded. Further, your Windows account is associated with a security level. That security level helps remind you of the consequences of certain actions, as well as prevents you from changing certain settings. To control account security options, you use the settings app. A quick way to get to the proper screen is to click the start button and choose your account name.
Then, change account settings. Here you see my account on this system. The account name is Dan Gookin, which is, coincidentally, my name. This is a local account; it's not associated with an email address. If it were, you would see the email address here. The account type is administrator, which is the highest and most privileged account level. Don't get impressed; there are only two account levels. The other account level is standard, which still lets you use the computer, but you must type an administrator password to access some features; that's how security works.
Standard users can't do everything on the computer; specifically, those items that change system-wide settings, such as installing new software, updating software, or making modifications to the Windows Operating System. A better location to deal with accounts is found in the control panel. Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen and choose control panel. Choose user accounts, user accounts. See the shield icons? They flag items in Windows that require an elevated level of security.
An administrator can access those items directly, though the shield serves as a warning and a reminder about potential changes to the system. A user with a standard level account can click on a shield item as well, but when they do, they must type an administrator password to continue. If you choose change your account type, you can reset your account between administrator and standard. Though when you use the computer's primary account, it can only be an administrator level account. On this screen you see that I am not the primary user on this computer, so I could switch between standard and administrator, but on your screen, if you're the only user on your computer, it's going to show administrator as the level account and the standard level will be dimmed.
You cannot switch on the first account for Windows. New users can be given standard accounts. In fact, for a higher level of security, you can configure a second standard level account for yourself, though that's really going a bit too far, unless, well, you just don't trust yourself. To increase security further, you can modify the user account control settings. Choose change user account control settings. This slider tells Windows when and how to frequently bother you with a UAC warning.
Choose the top level to increase the notifications. I don't recommend that you use the lowest setting. I believe that option is provided as a reply to people who just don't like warnings, but the warnings do serve a purpose. For example, if you set the top level and then click okay, and you see the shield icon on the okay button, click it and you see a UAC warning. That's a reminder that you're about to alter something in the computer that affects your accounts, other accounts, or the entire system. In this case, you're making the change and you've elevated the security level so the change is expected; you can click yes.
I'll click no because this level of intrusion, I would find bothersome. But if that UAC warning appeared at a random time, for example, I wasn't modifying the computer, it might mean that something else is attempting to change the system. In that case, always click no, and remember, if you use Windows with a standard account, you'll see more UAC warnings as well as prompts to type in an administrator password, but only when you click on something with a shield icon are you making an attempt to open the system or other privileged folder.
Even higher levels of account security can be applied, but typically this type of security policy is set by an organization's IT staff. For individual's, however, and especially if you use a laptop, account security is vital to keeping your computer and its data safe.
- Fighting malware
- Using a firewall
- Backing up your PC
- Recovering files
- Restoring your system
- Configuring Windows Update
- Improving PC performance