Title: Condoms for Your PC – Accounts and Passwords

Word Count:
645

Summary:
Setup and use your accounts and passwords safely! Consider an account like a door into your home and the password like the key to open it. If you don’t leave open doors or doors with keys in them, then be careful with your accounts and passwords.

Keywords:
pc maintenance management, maintenance logging, maintenance status, account names, passwords

Article Body:
There are no 3rd party products to setup your accounts, but that does not mean that the setup of accounts is not important to the safety of your PC. Under Windows XP, there are two accounts created by default: “administrator” and “guest.” Since those are created by default, anyone who might want access to your PC has a headstart. They know those default account names, so they can focus on the passwords for those accounts (a big time-saver for breaking into your PC). How should the be done?

REMOVE DEFAULT ACCOUNTS – Remove (or, at least limit) those two default accounts: “administrator” and “guest.” Of course, you need an account with administrative privileges in order to maintain your PC. You need it to install most software and you need it to run the defragmentation system utility. So what are you to do?

CREATE ACCOUNT NAMES – Create an account with administrative privileges and use a strong password. Create another account for your normal use. Avoid account names which are common names. Try names like “PC2b” or “widget222.” Better yet, mispell a word like “paradocs.” The idea is to make it difficult for someone to guess, but easy for you to remember.

SET ACCOUNT PRIVILEGES – Of course, give your new administrative account the administrative privileges that it must have. Give your account for normal use a “limited use” privilege level. That way, if someone breaks into your account, they do not have the full run of the PC (as they would with administrative privileges). The rule to follow is to give each user (if you share your PC) the minimal set of privileges that are required to do necessary work on the PC.

CREATE ACCOUNT PASSWORDS – As with account names, passwords need to be difficult for someone to guess, but easy for you to remember. Avoid passwords which are common names like Barbara. Use a length of 6-12 characters and include numeric and special characters. Try passwords like “brin2x” or “2928here24.” Use upper and lower case (passwords are case sensitive), such as “eMail4mE.” Use the first letter of each word in a sentence, such as “Egbdvw” for the sentence “Every good boy does very well.” For stronger passwords, consider combinations of these. Use upper/lower case to change “brin2x” to “bRiN2x.” Use upper/lower case and a numeric character to change Egbdvw” to “EGb6dVW.” If you like automation, you can even use a password generator. You define how complicated you want the password to be, and the password generator creates one for you. (FaceTime’s X-Cleaner, including the freeware version, will generate one for you.)

CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS REGULARLY – Change all passwords from time to time. Perhaps you will want to set a date in your calendar to change your password on a monthly basis. Keep this in mind for other passwords that you use, not just account passwords on your PC.

DO INTELLIGENT MAINTENANCE – Incorporate as much PC maintenance and control as possible without hindering your PC operations. That is “Intelligent Maintenance” for a safe PC.

NOTICE – This article contains suggestions for utility programs under the Windows operating system. They are based on years of use, but they may not be the right suggestion for you and your PC environment. Before you follow any technical suggestion, be sure that you have a current (and tested) backup of all system and data files and that you can restore the system if necessary. You are welcome to Email me if you encounter a problem, but I assume no responsibility for your actions and/or use of the information provided and disclaim any legal responsibility for any negative results of such actions.

Copyright 2006 by Tim Flynt. All rights reserved.

Tim Flynt has over 25 years dedicated to efficient application and utility systems. Experienced in higher education, entertainment, and software development organizations. Current interest in “PC Maintenance Management.”

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