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Windows NT4/2K/XP password procedure

  knowledgebase  :: network status

Instructions for:

  1. changing your login password
  2. locking your workstation
  3. activating "autolock" (by using a screensaver password)
  • changing your password every now and again is good computing hygiene
  • locking your workstation prevents anyone else from using it (while you're at lunch, for example)
  • autolock means you don't need to remember to lock manually - like keylock on a mobile phone

Each of these procedures uses the SAME password, your login password, which keeps things simple.

Note: these procedures are for the Windows NT 4 family only. Attempting to use these instructions on Windows 98 or Windows 95 will cause the 'close program' dialog box to appear, at which point you should click Cancel.

To change your login password:

  1. login
  2. press Ctrl-Alt-Del
  3. click Change Password..
  4. enter old (current) login password
  5. enter new login password
  6. confirm new login password
  7. click OK

To lock your workstation (manually):

  1. login
  2. press Ctrl-Alt-Del
  3. click Lock Workstation..
  4. to unlock, enter login password

To engage "autolock" (screensaver password):

  1. login
  2. click Start.. Settings.. Control Panel.. Display.. Screensaver
  3. select a screensaver, if none selected
  4. check the box [ ] password protected (only available if a screensaver is selected)
  5. click OK
  6. to unlock, enter login password
With [ ] password protected selected, the screensaver will ask for your login password before it deactivates. There is a small grace period of a few minutes where the screensaver has activated, but the lock does not engage. This is so if you're in front of the PC at the time, you can clear the screensaver without typing in your password. But after a few minutes the grace period ends and the lock engages - from then you'll need to enter your login password to get back in.

Suggested actions:

  1. change your password
  2. engage autolock

See also our selection of password strategies.