How to put a password on a laptop (computer)

Greetings!

It’s never too late to think about safety (and never too soon!), especially since some files can be more expensive on the heart than the cost of the laptop itself. 👌

However, I want to say right away that the question is not entirely correct. Usually, setting a password on a laptop (computer), many understand setting a password on a Windows account (that is, when Windows starts, a sign will appear asking you to enter a password – if entered correctly, the desktop will appear).

In fact, I’m going to start this article with him…

📌 However, I note that this option is not the only one, and it does not always provide reliable protection. In general, in a similar article, I decided to give a few more options for password protection (I also recommend that you familiarize yourself with them in order to understand the advantages / disadvantages of each option).

Several options for protecting files by “password”

Option number 1: we protect the Windows account

As I said above, this is one of the most popular ways – a screen asking you to enter a password will appear each time you turn on and start the operating system (an example of how it works under Windows 10 is presented below).

📌 Note: Also useful when you need to be away from your PC. Just click on the combo. Win+L – and all information on the desktop will be protected!

Windows 10 Welcome Screen - Enter Password

Windows 10 Welcome Screen – Enter Password

benefits: quickly; conveniently; reliable enough that no one can see what you’re working with when you’re away from the PC; good protection against children.

The lessers: your files and data are only protected from being seen by someone accidentally (or people who are not familiar with a PC).

Any average user can 📌remove your password and access your data (Also, the data on the hard drive itself is not protected or encrypted in any way – i.e. you can remove the hard drive and connect it to another device and then read all your data. By the way, in the latest versions of Windows 11, you can enable disk encryption, which saved me from this misfortune…).

How to set such a password. I will give a universal way that works in all popular Windows (Vista/7/8/10/11):

  1. you have to open the window first “Course” – button combination Win + R;
  2. then enter the command control user passwords2;
  3. hurry Enter (see the example on the screenshot below 👇).

By the way, if for some reason you have an order control user passwords2 doesn’t work, try running it from command line.

control user passwords2

control user passwords2

Then a window should appear with all the accounts that are in Windows. By selecting one of them, you can set a password (see screenshot below).

Set password (press Ctrl+Alt+Delete)

Setting a password (press the key combination Ctrl + Alt + Del)

In fact, this is how you can easily and quickly protect your business on your laptop from prying eyes. Now, when you restart (or turn on) the device, a window asking you to enter the code will appear.

By the way, if you go somewhere, press the combination of buttons Win+L (Windows will hide the desktop and not show it until you enter your password.)

Option number 2: Set password in BIOS (UEFI)

If you have multiple operating systems on your computer (possibly versions where you cannot set a password on the account) – then you can put a password in the BIOS, and you will have to enter it every time you try to turn on the computer (laptop).

By the way, let me point out: If an intruder removes your laptop’s hard drive, they can read all of your data. This type of protection is only suitable for protection from curious colleagues and household inhabitants 👀 (i.e. in cases where there is no likelihood that your hard drive will be taken away).

That there are two types of passwords in the BIOS:

  1. user password – the user’s password will be asked each time the laptop is turned on (which most people need);
  2. Supervisor Password – administrator password (required when entering the BIOS).
PhoenixBIOS Utility

Phoenix BIOS Utility

BIOS Setup Password

BIOS Setup Password

📌 Important!

If you forget the password you set in the BIOS, resetting it is much more difficult than from a Windows account! About how you can reset settings (including password) you can read in one of my articles

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Option number 3: set a password for the file and encrypt the disk (flash drive)

This option, in my opinion, has much more application. I think many will agree with me that most users don’t have a lot of data that needs to be hidden and password protected. Those. it makes no sense to put a password on Windows (which everyone already has).

But to securely encrypt specific files (or an entire disk partition), and so that no one but you can read this data – this is very interesting, and often necessary in practice.

Moreover, even if your laptop is suddenly stolen (or lost), your data cannot be read without a password. The method is therefore more relevant than ever.

Method #1 – set a password for files in the archive

The most common archivers (WinRAR or 7-Zip) can create an encrypted archive in which dozens of different files can be placed.

When opening such an archive, you must enter a password, if you enter it correctly, you will have access, otherwise – no. This method is convenient to use for files that you don’t need to work with so often.

I’ll show how this is done using the 7-ZIP archiver as an example.

📌 Addition!

First, select the document(s) you want to archive and press the right mouse button – in the menu that appears, select “7-ZIP – Add to archive…”.

7-ZIP - add to archive

7-ZIP – add to archive

Then you have to choose:

  1. 7Z archive format;
  2. check the boxes under the items: encrypt filenames and show password;
  3. enter a password and remember it;
  4. click OK to create the archive.
Set a password for the archive

Set a password for the archive

In fact, it is not so easy to extract the completed archive or view the list of files inside until the password is entered.

Also, I note that if you forget the password, you are unlikely to be able to recover it so easily, breaking such a file is quite difficult (almost impossible, in theory…).

When you try to open the archive - asks you to enter a password

When you try to open the archive – asks you to enter a password

Method #2 – Encrypt Disk/Flash Drive Partition

If you have a lot of files and you often work with them, you can encrypt, for example, an entire flash drive or a hard disk partition. Moreover, there is both a built-in tool in Windows and third-party programs.

Below I will consider the function that is in Windows 7-11 (in Pro editions and above).

📌 It’s about bitlocker. To enable it, just go to “This PC”, select the drive and right click on it – the menu should look like it needs a function (if you don’t have it, then this is the Windows version you need to update 👌).

When activating BitLocker, you will be asked to enter a password and you will receive a backup key (so you can restore the partition if you forget the password). I omitted the windows with entering the password and saving the key – they represent no practical value (I think you will understand).

Enable BitLocker

Enable BitLocker

In fact, now the disk will be encrypted and displayed in “This computer” with lock.

This is what the encrypted disk will look like

This is what the encrypted disk will look like

When you try to open it, you will see a window asking you to enter a password. Until the correct password is entered, the files on the disk cannot be opened (the disk is fully encrypted)!

When trying to access an encrypted disk, you must enter a password

When trying to access an encrypted disk, you must enter a password

📌 Addition!

By the way, if you don’t have BitLocker or don’t like this feature, it’s third-party utilities that allow you to securely encrypt a drive

Option number 4: use a fingerprint reader

I would also like to note that special fingerprint scanners are now increasingly installed on modern phones and laptops.

Such protection allows you to make the equipment truly personal, so that no one but you (or without your permission) I couldn’t use it… After all, a PC is a personal computer 😎.

Example of protecting a laptop with a fingerprint (laptop from HP)

Example of laptop fingerprint security (Notebook by HP) // HP SimplePass app

By the way, many people think so much about data security on a laptop, at the same time that they don’t think about it at all (about the laptop itself).

For example, it is not uncommon to see how in fairly large institutions the doors are left wide open: and there are laptops and telephones on the tables – come in and take it.