passwordprotectSecurity is always a good idea, it protects you from all those nasty viruses and evil hackers that you just know are lurking in the darker corners of the web, waiting silently to slip into you computer and take over your life!

But even if you have the best security in the world, it wont protect you from your office mates or so called friends who you invite around for a cup of coffee and a chat.

The perils of not password-protecting your computer is just as bad, we can laugh about it, but it can be a lot more dangerous than not running a firewall or not having anti-virus software installed. If you’re laughing at this right now, ask yourself, would you really let the person sitting next to you freely browse the contents of your computer?

Below are 5 simple steps to password protecting your Mac*

  1. Open up System Preferences.
  2. Click on Accounts and add a password to your profile (if you haven’t already). Write it down if you really must, but try to come up with something simple that you can remember, yet not easily guess-able for the office snoop! Oh, and don’t use your children or pets name as passwords – that’s just stupid!
  3. Go back to the System Preference overview (Show all Apple L) and click on Security. Check the tick box for Require password to wake this computer form sleep or screensaver and Disable automatic login.
  4. Back to preference overview (Apple L) and select Dashboard & Exposé. Set up one of the Active Screen Corners to Start Screen Saver.
  5. Quit System Preference and test the hot corner by moving your mouse to it, you should see the Screen Saver start?. If you move the mouse again or hit any key on the keyboard, you will be prompted for the password you set up in step 2.
    You will also notice that when you next turn off/on you Mac that you will be presented with a User Login widow instead of just logging in. Select your profile and enter your password.

Now, unlike the coffee making couple in The Joy of Tech, you can quickly activate your screen saver before popping to the kitchen for a chat!

*Simple steps where worked out on a Mac running OS 10.4. System Preferences may vary on older version of OS 10.