I came home the other day to find my son’s friend playing a computer game on my PC. Yes, it’s in the kitchen, but I was pretty alarmed: they could have accidentally deleted all my work! How can I require a password on wake so they can’t use my computer in the future?
I think that this is a pretty common scenario, actually, where you assume you’re the only one who is going to use a computer, but others see it open and available and grab a few cycles. Definitely not just at home either; there are plenty of workplaces where people aren’t encouraged to secure their Windows computers, which I think is a mistake. Even if you have really good backup and shared disks, cloud storage, etc, it’s generally a bad idea to have someone else using your computer, and 10x if you don’t expect it and aren’t even present.
Fortunately there’s just one setting you need to tweak to solve the problem and that’s what happens when your computer wakes from sleep. Fair warning, though, it’ll affect you too if you get on a long phone call and then sit down to work again. But that’s a good thing, right? And you know your password (and it’s not written down on a sticky note on your monitor!)
To start fixing things up, simply go to the Windows 10 search feature and search for “login”:
You can see that the correct system setting shows up as the default option: Sign-in options. You might be thinking “wait, I’m already signed in if I wake from sleep” but that’s not how Microsoft thinks of it! 🙂
Here are all the options you’ll be able to tweak and change:
Lots to check out – and you do want to pick a good password that’s easy for you to remember but impossible for others to guess. A capital letter, a digit, maybe even a punctuation symbol can turn a simple one-word password into one that’s pretty darn secure.
But for now, you want to look at the top section, Require sign-in. A click on the “Never” menu option and you’ll see that there are actually two different possibilities:
Not a big surprise, select “When PC wakes up from sleep” and close the window. Done!
Oh, wait, before you close the window, scroll down a bit because there’s a really neat feature you might want to use too:
This Dynamic Lock can be great if you pair it with your phone, for example. Walk away with your phone and it’ll lock automatically without even waiting for your sleep timeout. Worth playing with, at least.
Oh, and speaking of sleep, make sure you have that set up reasonably. Here are the options:
Notice that my computer is set up to not go to sleep when plugged in until five hours of inactivity. If you have a similar setting, change it so that the sleep lock is of value. 20 minutes is a good choice, for example.
And that’s it. You should be good to go and now you can instead listen to your son asking for a gaming computer! 🙂
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about Windows for quite a while. Please check out my extensive Windows help while you’re here!