TOTW: what to do when you leave your computer unattended


Date: 25 January 2013

Photo of a goat{{}}

Are you at risk of goating? (Image: Natesh Ramasamy on Flickr.)

When you step away from your computer, follow these three simple bits of advice to keep your data safe and make life easier for your colleagues:

1. Close any shared documents

If you're working on a document that's shared with other people, your colleagues may be unable to edit it while you have it open.

To make sure people can view and access files in your absence, always close shared documents if you're going to be away from your computer for more than a few minutes.

2. Check for restart warnings

Some versions of Microsoft Windows have a habit of restarting automatically in order to install critical software updates.

If this happens while you're aware from your desk, you won't see the warning and could lose unsaved work as a result.

To avoid this, check for the Windows Update shield icon in your taskbar and restart as soon as Windows prompts you to. It's an inconvenience, but it's better than losing your work.

3. Lock your computer

If you don't lock your computer so nobody else can use it, you're inviting problems.

It might just be a relatively-innocent piece of goating (jokily messing with your desktop wallpaper or changing your Facebook status), or it might be something much more serious, like another employee downloading your customer database onto a memory stick.

To lock your computer in Windows, hold down the Windows logo key, then tap L. You can release the Windows key - your computer will lock, requiring a password before anyone can use it.

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