Keeping Your Computer Secure by Signing Off

Most operating systems today support multiple user accounts. This feature is very useful especially in places where a single computer is used by several people.

What are User Accounts?

A user account in an operating system is a means of identifying a certain user. Generally, an account is identified with a handle or user name, along with an optional password for added security and privacy.

An operating system that is capable of handling multiple user accounts is very favorable to computers that have multiple users, like in homes, offices, and schools. Each account is capable of saving preferences and customizations without changing other user accounts. It is basically an instance of an operating system environment.

Changes like screen resolution, desktop background, icon arrangement, shortcut menus, software installations, among other customizations. Aside from that, encryption is often used to protect software settings and the user’s files. When such data is used with encryption, other users will not be able to access those when you sign off your account, or at least lock it.

Advantages of Multiple User Accounts

An operating system that has multiple accounts is very convenient in places where a not only a single user uses a computer. For example, at home. You have your favorite movie as your wallpaper along with other personal settings. However, your son, your wife, and other kids don’t have their own computers and use yours. Isn’t it quite annoying to find your desktop wallpaper changed, along with other preferences?

With multiple accounts, other members of your family can freely change and customize their settings without affecting yours. If you use encryption, they will also not be able to access your files and other documents. When you sign off of your account, your settings and data is secure.

Privacy and Security Concerns

Having multiple user accounts in a computer is really a big convenience, yet it can be a privacy or a security concern when not used well.

That is why when you are using a computer that has multiple accounts, it is very important that you set a secure password and make sure you sign off or log out of your account when you are done using it.

If your account does not have a password, anyone who has physical access to that computer will be able to access your account,as well as your files. If that were your office computer, your sneaky officemate or your boss can easily snoop into your computer files and see what you have been up to, even if you have signed out of your account.

The same thing applies if you forget to sign out of your account, even if you have a password. You may be lucky if your screen saver is set to log you out when it activates, but during the few minutes that you don’t use your computer, someone may easily access your files and other documents. The best thing to do is always lock or sign out of your account when you will be leaving your computer, even if you will be just going to the john or be taking a short cigarette break.

If your user account in the computer you use does not have a password set yet, you can easily set it with a few clicks of your mouse. Make sure the password you use is secure, at least six characters long, and that it cannot be easily guessed. However, if you are on a restricted account and setting a password is not possible, you can tell your system administrator or IT staff to assign a password for you. If you enjoyed reading this article, you’ll surely enjoy learning how to set a strong password.


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