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What’s one of the most common ways to get unauthorized access to someone else’s computer – especially that of a friend or family member? By guessing the password!

Someone who knows you well may be able to figure out your password, especially if he can try different possibilities before hitting on the right one.

If you’re running Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate edition (or the equivalent edition of Vista), you can set your Windows account to temporary lock if someone enters the wrong password several times in a row.

Here’s how:

  1. Click Start.
  2. In the search box, type Local Security Policy.
  3. Click it in the Programs section of the results.
  4. In the left pane of the Local Security Policy MMC, double click Account Policies under Security Settings.
  5. Click Account Lockout Policy.
  6. In the right pane, double click Account Lockout Threshold.
  7. In the Properties dialog box, enter the number of times you want to be able to enter the wrong password before the account locks out (You’ll probably want to set it to 3 or 4, to allow yourself leeway if you forget and leave caps lock on or otherwise type the wrong password yourself.)
  8. In the Suggested Value Changes dialog box, you can accept the default setting of 30 minutes or change it to a different time period.

Alternate method

If you’re using a Home edition, you can change these settings at the command prompt, by opening a command window as Administrator. Then use the following commands:

  1. net accounts /lockoutthreshold:3 (to set the account to lock out after 3 tries)
  2. net accounts /lockoutduration:30 (lockout for a 30 minute duration)
  3. net accounts /lockoutwindow:30 (for a 30 minute reset window)

About Thomas

Computer geek from the age of 7, which amounts to 30 years of computer experience. From the early days (when every computer company had their own OS) of DOS, Windows 1.0 through Seven...

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