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Ottoerotic
03-21-2004, 05:28 PM
I run Windows XP on my home computer and my roomate, who's too cheap to buy his own computer frequently hijacks mine. Wouldn't normally be a problem, but when I try and use it, he's filled it with Ad-ware, and Spy-ware and much unneeded crap.

I tried to password protect it, knowing that he's pretty computer illiterate and figured it would take care of the problem. But I was wrong. Somewhere he learned that if he booted up the computer in safe mode he could go into the administrater profile and delete my password.

So now I'm pissed, and left wondering if there's anything simple that I can do (I'm not extrememly computer literate myself) to stop this one flaw. I'm aware that as long as he has physical access to my computer he's able to get in someway or another, which sucks.

But he's far from being a pro-cracker, and If I can fix this one hole I'm sure that it would keep him out at least long enough for me to find a new place to live.

I searched and found this thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=165709&page=2&pp=50&highlight=Password+protection) and they mention the flaw on the middle of the second page, but no advice on how to stop it.

Any info would be extremely appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Joe Random
03-21-2004, 06:08 PM
You should check to see if your computer will allow you to set a BIOS password. That will prevent the computer from booting up in the first place unless the correct password is entered.

Of course, a BIOS password can be circumvented by opening the computer and resetting the CMOS (via a jumper or removing the CMOS battery), but hopefully that line of attack is beyond your roommate's abilities.

Ottoerotic
03-21-2004, 06:54 PM
Thanks a bunch, now I just need to know how to set a BIOS password.

When I restared I pushed F2 to go into setup and tabbed to security features. It said the system password was disabled. Was I in the right place? I didn't save or change anything because I really didn't know what I was doing, but there didn't seem to be any quick and easy way to just put in a password.

Also, Will this prevent password cracking by inserting a CD or Floppy disk on boot up, with a certain program? I read about programs that bypass the password this way. I think the advice was to "disable CD run on bootup" or something like that, and I was wondering where I could find this option. And will enabling this option cause any problems.

Joe Random
03-21-2004, 07:10 PM
When I restared I pushed F2 to go into setup and tabbed to security features. It said the system password was disabled. Was I in the right place?Yep, sounds like it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of different BIOSs out there, so I'm not sure what the correct procedure would be for your particular computer. However, since your computer showed that the system password was disabled, there has to be a way to enable it. Common methods include highlighting the feature and pressing enter or the + and - keys on the number pad.

Also, Will this prevent password cracking by inserting a CD or Floppy disk on boot up, with a certain program?Yes, most definitely. With a BIOS password, the computer will not even attempt to read from any storage device (floppy, CD, hard drive) until after the password is entered.

TellMeI'mNotCrazy
03-21-2004, 07:31 PM
Just, uh, make sure YOU don't forget the BIOS password. :cool:

erislover
03-21-2004, 07:39 PM
Most computer cases can be locked with a physical lock. If you're going to set the BIOS password, you could try to physically lock the case, too, to prevent BIOS resetting. I know there are some tools that can attempt to crack BIOS passwords, but since you have to already have access to the machine to run the program this would stifle your roommate, unless he's willing to do physical damage to your computer in which case, dude, get a new roommate.

On most BIOSes (all I've seen, but who knows if there's an exception or not) you set how strict the access is. Sometimes the password you set is only prompted for when trying to access BIOS, not on normal booting. So be sure to set the password for booting.

owlofcreamcheese
03-21-2004, 09:10 PM
you could.... like... call the police or at least threaten to.

Joey P
03-21-2004, 09:55 PM
Are there other computer literate people around? Would your roommate bother going to any trouble to get around it? Have you considered just taking the power cord from the computer or the monitor? Or locking the keyboard or mouse in a drawer?