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Protecting personal files


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#1
Cerberus_e

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Recently, I bought a laptop (Yes I know, but I had no choice :whistling: I was supposed to be the last person on earth to ever get a laptop). In case it makes a difference, it's an Acer laptop, and runs Windows XP.

However, I'm worried about personal files. I'll need to put them on the laptop, but I don't want anyone messing with them. I don't even want anyone to read them. There is the issue with networking but that's for another forum as you have a seperate subforum for networking questions. In this thread I want to talk about how to protect my personal files in case someone is actually using my laptop (whetever the cause).

I've found a few programs that claim to "password protect" folders, but they all have a price tag attached to them. I'm sure there is an easier way, or even a freeware program. I already thought of putting my files in a password protected zip or rar file, but that isn't very convenient because it's slow and less easy to browse in the case of images.

Any ideas?
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#2
dsenette

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password protect your user and the administrator profile and keep all the important documents in the "my documents folder" the only two users that can get to that folder are the admin and your user so anyone else logging on coudln't get to those files (they could but not easily)...if anyone else will be using the laptop create a user for each of them
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#3
dsenette

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http://www.informit....a...174137&rl=1 <--physical security

http://www.quepublis...i...qNum=5&rl=1
http://www.samspubli...t...qNum=3&rl=1
<---more in the direction of windows security
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#4
Cerberus_e

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password protect your user and the administrator profile and keep all the important documents in the "my documents folder" the only two users that can get to that folder are the admin and your user so anyone else logging on coudln't get to those files (they could but not easily)...if anyone else will be using the laptop create a user for each of them


I think it's pretty easy to get around that (alternate operating systems/DOS/...), but I'm just letting my imagination go of course, I don't know it's true.

http://www.informit....a...174137&rl=1 <--physical security

http://www.quepublis...i...qNum=5&rl=1
http://www.samspubli...t...qNum=3&rl=1
<---more in the direction of windows security


Reading that article gave me an idea: I can encrypt my D partition (a second partition). All my personal files can be there, then.
Good idea, or do you see problems with that?
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#5
dsenette

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I think it's pretty easy to get around that (alternate operating systems/DOS/...), but I'm just letting my imagination go of course, I don't know it's true.

depends on how worried you actually are...and what data is on your laptop...when securing a computer you lose "convenience" always..no matter how you do it...so you have to weigh out how much convenience you want to lose in proportion to the sensativity of the data on your laptop...i.e. if all you've got on the thing is pictures of your kids...you wouldn't lock it down like a safe...because there's no point...however if you work for the pentagon...you would want every precaution possible no matter how inconvenient it makes the computer to use...

you also have to take into account that the only way to make a computer completely secure...is to never plug it into the wall and never actually use it...any and all security measures can be broken if the desire is there...so think about what you're keeping on the computer and decide how high the desire level is for someone else to get to it...if you've got ALOT of stuff that someone REALLY REALLY would want to get their hands on...then maybe you should get a USB flash drive with a finger print reader and store all the important stuff there
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#6
Cerberus_e

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This laptop has a cool little future... I can setup a partition that's hidden, until I press "open personal safety disk". Then I have to enter my password and then I can access this partition :whistling: I can even choose from which partition this protected partition leeches (C or D or so) and how big it is.

Basically it's a password protected DVD image in a non-usual file format, I think. Once I accessed it by entering the password, it's pretty fast, so it's still very convenient. I'm satisfied with this form of protection, because they'd need to bruteforce it if they want to access it (I think). Well, at least it's secure enough for me, as I'm always very vareful with personal stuff like keys (and in this case: laptop :blink:)
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#7
Cerberus_e

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password protect your user and the administrator profile and keep all the important documents in the "my documents folder" the only two users that can get to that folder are the admin and your user so anyone else logging on coudln't get to those files (they could but not easily)...if anyone else will be using the laptop create a user for each of them


I just checked and my laptop uses FAT32 so that feature isn't present. There was no way I could choose which file system I wanted, everything auto-installed. I'm afraid to do a conversion since it's a significant change which is irreversible, and have little means of backup.
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#8
dsenette

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um...you don't need NTFS to set a password on your USER...you would need NTFS to password protect a folder....i'm pretty sure that with fat32 the my documents is still inaccessable to other users...if i'm wrong..i've learned something new...but...
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#9
Cerberus_e

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I was referring to the part about inaccessible to other users, I just tested it and my dcuments are accessible for the other users.
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#10
dsenette

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hmm...i did not know that...been a while since i've been on a fat partition...sorry...the NTFS conversion SHOULDN"T cause any problems...but if it worries you then don't do it
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