Guest Post – How to securely log on to Windows 8

This is a Guest Post

Author Bio: Phil Capman has 23 Years RAF/MoD experience as a Chief Technician. 5 years experience as a  military instructor and 5 years as a Microsoft Certified Trainer delivering Microsoft and CompTia training courses. Phil currently delivers Windows 8 Training at Firebrand .

Windows 8 brings a new feel to the log-on process for local desktop users, which allows both tablet (touch) devices and standard desktops to enjoy a variety of new authentication procedures.

Of course, included by default is the standard protocol of username and password, which still represents the main approach for many.

New to this version of windows are several key options, which allow you to select from either the Password, Picture or Pin options. All of which may be configured through the settings on the Start Screen (See Fig 1).

To get started first select “Settings”, then “Change PC Settings” (See Fig 2) and finally select  “Users.”

The Users options allow you to switch to a Microsoft account if you are using a local user account, and configure your sign-in options.  This is also where you may change your password if required (See Fig 3).

To create a picture password simply click ‘Create a picture password’ (clever, eh!), and confirm with your current password (See Fig 4).

Next, select your chosen picture from your local machine and configure the positioning by dragging the image to the desired location.  Select ‘Use this picture’ to confirm your choice when you are happy (See Fig 5).

How do I log-on with a picture?

You need to determine three ‘gestures’, on selected areas of the picture. This may be any combination of circles, straight lines and taps. Remember the order in which these are made, and try to avoid easy-to-guess gestures and areas. For example eyes, noses and other body parts may be too easy to guess tap! (See Fig 6)

Gestures may be made with touches on Tablet PCs, or using the mouse on Desktops.

Once confirmed, the image and gestures are stored for the next log-on attempt.  In addition, you may also select to use a 4-digit pin code to unlock the screen (See Fig 7).  Again avoid easy-to-guess numbers, or anything that might be a memorable number for others .

With all three options in place, the next log-on screen presents you with sign-in options for Picture, Password or Pin (See Fig 8).  Your selection is automatically stored and represents the default option for each subsequent log-on.

 Windows 8 log-on top tips!

  • Passwords should be as long and complex as possible, and more importantly, memorable.  Don’t write them down or leave ‘reminders’ under your keyboard. Good practice is to change them frequently.
  • Gestures for picture passwords should avoid easy-to-guess areas, and if you are on a Tablet PC, keep the screen clean and free from finger marks. It’s easy to trace lines and circles made on a dirty screen, making it only a matter of time before the correct combination is achieved
  • Pin numbers should be as random as possible.  Simple ‘1234’- or ‘1111’-type inputs should never be used, as these are easily guessed.  As with passwords, never write them down or keep them near the PC or device.

If possible, use Bitlocker Drive Encryption on your mobile device, to completely protect its contents should it get lost or stolen.

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