Setting up desktop security on a Windows XP computer

Password-protect all accounts on your computer

Create or change user account passwords

  1. From the Start menu, click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click User Accounts.
  3. Choose an account and click Create or Change Password.
  4. You may need to type the current password and then supply a new password twice.
  5. Repeat this step for any other accounts on your computer.

Create or change the administrator account password
Faculty and staff: If your department has computer support personnel (CITAs), please check with them first before completing this step.

  1. Boot the computer in Safe Mode by turning the machine on and immediately pressing the F8 key several times until the Advanced Windows menu appears.
  2. Use the arrow keys to highlight Safe Mode and press the ENTER key.
  3. At the login screen, click on the Administrator icon and type in the password (or hit ENTER if the password has not been previously set.) If you do not see an Administrator icon, type in the username Administrator
  4. Change the password for this account as described above.

Disable the Windows XP guest account

Disabling the guest account prevents users without an account on your computer from logging in remotely or locally.

  1. From the Start menu, click Control Panel.
  2. Click User Accounts.
  3. If the Guest Account is turned on, click Guest Account.
  4. Click Turn off the Guest Account.
  5. Exit out of user accounts.

Disable unnecessary system services in Windows XP

Faculty and staff: Make sure you do not need any of these services before disabling them. Contact the IT Help Center, or if your department has computer support personnel (CITAs), please check with them first before completing this step.

  1. Right-click this link and select Save Link Target as to save the file to your desktop.
  2. Double-click DisableServices.bat to execute the file.
  3. Press any key to continue as prompted.
  4. The window will close automatically.
  5. Restart the computer.

Reset Internet Explorer security settings to the default configuration

  1. Open the Internet Explorer browser.
  2. From the Tools menu, click Internet Options.
  3. Click the Security tab.
  4. Click Internet Zone.
  5. Click the Default Level button if it is not grayed out.
  6. Repeat this step for Local Intranet, Trusted Sites, and Restricted Zones.
  7. Click the Advanced Tab.
  8. Click Restore Defaults.
  9. Click OK to close the window.

Disable file and print sharing

Faculty and staff: Make sure you do not need these services before disabling them. Contact the IT Help Center, or if your department has computer support personnel (CITAs), please check with them first before completing this step.

  1. Open the Network Control Panel.
  2. Right-click on Local Area Connection and click Properties.
  3. Uncheck the box in front of File and Print Sharing for Microsoft Networks to disable this service.