Many do not realize that not having a password on their PC or Mac is like always leaving your house and car unlocked - in fact, in some ways worse because it takes just seconds for an Internet connected machine to get infected with malware. It is critical that your administrator account (every machine has at least one account like this) should be protected by requiring a password. With MS Vista you must have a password on the administrator account, but not with earlier versions like XP - yet still put one there! (Note: every account should require a password to access it, and the Guest account should be turned off. Don't forget your Administrator password - write it down and put it in a hidden place if you must. If you totally forget the Administrator password, the only way to reset it is to re-install the whole Windows operating system!)
On Windows machines to get to the screen where you manage user accounts the menu path would be:
Start --> Control Panel --> User Accounts
In Windows XP the screen might look like this:
Passwords should be "strong" passwords, especially on administrator accounts. "Strong" means:
- at least 12 or more characters (especially on your administrator account - more is better!)
- contain at least one number
- contain at least one capital letter
- contain at least one special character: (,~!@#$%^&*)
Note: the length has been updated from 8 characters to 12 or more because of newer technology and techniques an 8 character password can be quickly hacked. See article about: how shorter passwords (6 to 8 characters) can be hacked relatively easily.
It would be wise to follow similar practices for your accounts you have at websites, especially this website! If your password could be easily hacked, then whoever did would have access to modify most of the content on this website.