Langa letter: managing your Windows XP passwords

Monday, 18 August 2003, 8:15 AM EST

Windows XP (like Win2K and NT before it) can be made reasonably secure if you make use of the appropriate settings, tools, and techniques. For example, you can easily create different types of user accounts with varying levels of permissions, and expose only the limited-permissions accounts to the online world; you can use the NTFS file system, and encrypt some or all of your hard drive; and so on. Coupled with well-thought-out passwords, your XP system can be made acceptably secure against routine external attacks.

And if you do a good job of controlling access to the PC, your data can be made not just "acceptably" but very safe indeed. For example, you can help control electronic access to the system with good firewalling and network practices, and you can control physical access through simple expedients such as locking your office door; or, if that's not an option, through BIOS-level passwords, security access keys, "dongles," and the like.

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