Windows 10 Operation System Settings: Relaxed privacy set

How to keep your account from being hacked

Configure your login options

What for: To keep your account from being hacked.

Windows 10 provides several system login options, including alphanumeric or graphic passwords, PIN codes, face or fingerprint recognition, and a hardware security key. For the most effective protection, we recommend using a PIN code or a fingerprint scanner.

The PIN code is stored locally on the device and is tied to your computer. Even if someone finds out your password combination, they will not be able to log in to your account from another device. That’s a PIN code’s advantage over a password.

Use a reliable secret code that:

  • Consists of 8 or more characters.
  • Contains lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters ($, @, and others).
  • Is not too simple, such as, for example, 12345678 or 00000000.
  • Is not the same as your passwords for any other accounts, including your Microsoft password.
  • Is not an actual word or known phrase.
  • Does not contain information that strangers could easily find out (your name or the name of a loved one, pet's name, date of birth, and so on).

To create a PIN code:

  1. Open your system’s Settings by pressing the cogwheel in the Start menu or using the Windows + i key combination.
  2. Go to the Accounts section.
  3. Select Sign-in options in the menu at the left.
  4. Find PIN code and press the Add button.
  5. Click Next. If necessary, enter the password for your local or Microsoft account.
  6. Select Include letters and symbols in the opened window and create a secure combination.

Use a short and simple PIN code only if you are certain that no one else will gain access to your computer. Otherwise, strangers can to easily guess your password combination and get hold of your personal data.

You can use the same PIN to protect programs on your computer that require a login and online services — for example, OneDrive or Dropbox.

If you have a fingerprint scanner or one is built into your device, then you can enable fingerprint authorization after creating a PIN code. It is not so easy to fake a fingerprint, which makes this method safer than face recognition, which can be tricked sometimes, for example, by using a photo. Keep in mind though, that Windows will send your biometric data and your sensor usage details to Microsoft.

To turn on fingerprint authorization:

  1. Open your system’s Settings by pressing the cogwheel in the Start menu or using the Windows + i key combination.
  2. Go to the Accounts section.
  3. Select Sign-in options in the menu at the left.
  4. Find Fingerprint and press the Windows Hello Settings button.
  5. Enter the PIN code that you use to log in to the system.
  6. Scan your fingerprint.
  7. Click Close.


Turn on automatic screen lock

What for: To prevent strangers from gaining access to the system while you are away.

Windows 10 can lock your computer when you are not using it. This will prevent strangers from gaining access to your confidential data when you are not around.

To configure the screen lock:

  1. Open your system’s Settings by pressing the cogwheel in the Start menu or using the Windows + i key combination.
  2. Go to the Personalization section.
  3. Select Lock screen in the menu at the left.
  4. Press Screen saver settings.
  5. Check the On resume, display logon screen box in the opened window and select the lock interval that suits you.
  6. Click OK.

You can configure the lock settings so that a valid password is required to wake the system. This feature is enabled by default. However, it can be disabled. We recommend checking the settings and reactivating if necessary:

  1. Open your system’s Settings by pressing the cogwheel in the Start menu or using the Windows + i key combination.
  2. Go to the Accounts section.
  3. Select Sign-in options in the menu at the left.
  4. If you see that Never is selected in the Require sign-in section, press the arrow to the right of this text and select When PC wakes up from sleep.

You can lock the computer manually by pressing the Win key + L key combination or in the Start menu.

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Click your profile icon.
  3. Select Lock.


How to protect your data

Enable the device search feature

What for: To lock your computer if you lose it.

Windows 10 regularly saves your device location so that you can find it. If you lose your computer or if it is stolen, you can track it and, if necessary, lock it. This feature is enabled by default, but we recommend checking your settings:

  1. Open your system’s Settings by pressing the cogwheel in the Start menu or using the Windows + i key combination.
  2. Go to the Update & security section.
  3. Select Device search in the menu at the left.
  4. Press the Change button and enable device search.

You can find and lock a lost device in the Devices section on the Microsoft Account page.

Remember that you must use the Microsoft user account that you used to log in to the lost computer to search for it. A lost device can send its location only if it is turned on and connected to the Internet.

Downside: Your computer’s location will be sent to the company’s server and stored on the device.