ARCHIVED: In Windows 95, 98, or Me, how can I password protect my computer?

Note: UITS recommends that you use a current version of Windows on computers connected to the Indiana University network; see Recommended Windows operating systems at IU.

A Windows password alone is not sufficient to password protect your computer. The Windows password serves simply to identify who is logging into a Windows computer, in order for Windows 95, 98, or Me to adjust the personal desktop settings for multiple users on the same computer. The Windows password can easily be bypassed.

In Windows 95, 98, or Me, the best way to password protect your computer is to create both boot and screen saver passwords. Since a screen saver password can be bypassed by restarting the computer, and a boot password does not protect a computer after it has booted, you need to have both types in place to keep anyone from breaching your security.

Boot password

By setting a boot password, you can make your computer prompt for the password every time it is restarted.

You can set the boot password in the BIOS while your computer is starting up. Usually the computer tells you when you can enter the BIOS (press Del to enter setup). The BIOS is different for different computers. If you check the documentation for your computer, it should tell you how to set a password. Or, if you feel comfortable exploring your BIOS, simply enter setup and look for a security or boot option.

Note: Be careful when searching! Changes made to the BIOS can affect your entire computer. If you make a change that you are unsure of, choose the Exit without saving changes option. This will undo any changes that you have made to the BIOS in a single session.

After you have set the boot password, choose the option to save changes and exit. This will restart your computer and ask you for the password every time you boot your computer and every time you re-enter the BIOS.

Be sure to remember this password. If you forget your password, it is extremely difficult to reset.

Since the boot password offers no further protection once it has been entered, anyone can access your computer after it boots. To prevent this, use a screen saver password in addition to a boot password.

Screen saver password

A screen saver password will prevent others from accessing your booted computer in your absence. To set the screen saver password, see the Knowledge Base document ARCHIVED: In Microsoft Windows, how do I modify the screen saver settings? When you set this password, you may want to set the screen saver delay to a short time interval. The screen saver will activate after the specified delay, and the password will be needed to exit the screen saver. This is the best way to password protect your booted computer if you want to leave for a period of time. But this password alone, without a boot password, can be bypassed by restarting the computer.

If the above options do not provide enough security for you, consider upgrading to Windows 2000 or XP. These systems provide much greater security, as they were designed for multiple-user networked systems.

Related documents

This is document agia in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2010-03-31 00:00:00.

  • Fill out this form to submit your issue to the UITS Support Center.
  • Please note that you must be affiliated with Indiana University to receive support.
  • All fields are required.

Please provide your IU email address. If you currently have a problem receiving email at your IU account, enter an alternate email address.

  • Fill out this form to submit your comment to the IU Knowledge Base.
  • If you are affiliated with Indiana University and need help with a computing problem, please use the I need help with a computing problem section above, or contact your campus Support Center.

Please provide your IU email address. If you currently have a problem receiving email at your IU account, enter an alternate email address.