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  1. #1
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    This should be easy but....it's not

    When I first set up Vista (seems like ten years ago) I was given the option of declaring a separate administrator or combining my owner area with the administrator area. I chose the latter, thinking it would make my life easier. Stupid me.

    The computer is now travelling with me and is therefore vulnerable. I'd like to lock it with a password. I have passwords on my wife's area and a guest area but none on my area, owner/administrator. All my efforts to create a password fail. It simply says "Windows cannot change the password." The problem is, there IS NO PASSWORD.

    How do I get it to accept my password and put a lock on it against casual theives opening it before they peddle it? Do I have to reinstall Vista (and its MANY updates) or is there a simple way?

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I assume you went to Control Panel, User Accounts and attempted to add a PW there. You could also try to add a new Administrator Account through User Accounts, then once the new Adminitrator account is set up the way you like it, delete the old Adminitrator account. (Make sure you use a distinctive name so there is no mistake what accounts you are deleting.

    You might also enable the hidden Administrator Account and attempt the changes from there.
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Once someone has your computer hardware in hand, its trivial to reset Windows passwords via several free programs you can download. Setting the BIOS password on a laptop (not a desktop) is much more secure.

    Jerry

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwitalka View Post
    Once someone has your computer hardware in hand, its trivial to reset Windows passwords via several free programs you can download. Setting the BIOS password on a laptop (not a desktop) is much more secure.

    Jerry
    This ↑

    To stop unauthorised access to a laptop, a machine password is the way to go. I'm not a Vista expert though, so I don't know why you can't change the user password, though I imagine the fact that you combined the two user areas is a clue.
    Last edited by tonyl; 2011-12-17 at 12:56.

  5. #5
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    To stop unauthorised access to a laptop, a machine password is the way to go.
    But this does not stop theft of the hard drive and reading of the data. Thirty seconds seconds with a Phillips screwdriver and the drive can be removed.

    Whole disk encryption is a secure way to protect the data on the drive. Not only is the bootloader password protected, but every byte on the disk is encrypted, preventing data loss in the event of theft.

    Truecrypt comes to mind.

  6. #6
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    A very important rule of computer security is that if you lose physical control of the computer you have no security. In that case the only thing that will protect you from all but the most determined bad guys is encryption such as that mentioned by Tinto in post #5.

    Joe

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