I need to password protect my computer.

Is there a free program that I can use to password protect my computer?  I like to have a password screen everytime I turn on my computer or restart it.  It would have to be somewhat hard to hack it.  (e.g. CTRL+ALT+DEL disabled).  I have Windows ME but thats pretty close to Windows 98.

FYI:  My computer's bio does not have password features.
Who is Participating?
Dufo G. BelskiRetired bureaucrat/desktop supportCommented:
Check out this neat little free program:

A trivial solution would be to modify AUTOEXEC.BAT with a DOS CHOICE command.  Then it would
be impossible to get into WINDOWS except in SAFE MODE if the user didn't know the password.

However, I don't know whether Windows ME uses AUTOEXEC.BAT
And if the above does not suffice, then perhaps you can find a good alternative from this answer which I "borrowed" from fellow expert, CrazyOne, who answers a lot of these questions about attempting to make Win9x secure:


Sentinel is an interesting security utility you can use to apply very specific restrictions to files
on your PC. It runs from the system tray, enforcing restictions you've imposed on selected files and
folders. The specific security options are available from a new tab the program adds to the Properties
dialog box you can access by right-clicking any file or folder in Explorer. You can log and/or deny
access to any unauthorized user that attempts to open, read, and/or write to files, and you can deny
access to the contents of selected folders. An available control panel allows you to toggle this functionality
on and off, and turn it off for a specific period of time. Other features include stealth mode and logging
support. Sentinel is a snap to use, and provides the power and versatility you need to protect your
sensitive data files.


Windows Security Toolkit

Restrict Access to Passwords Settings, Restrict Access to Network Settings, Restrict Access to Display
Settings, Restrict Access to Device Manager, Restrict Access to Hardware Profiles , Restrict Access
to Virtual Memory Setting, Restrict Access to File System Setting, Restrict Access to Printer Setting,
Restrict User from adding Printer, Restrict User from deleting Printer, Hide Printers General and Details
Pages, Hide System Settings Control Panel, Restrict Access to Modem Settings, Restrict Access to Regional
Settings, Restrict Access to Internet Settings, Restrict Access to Multimedia Settings, Restrict Access
to Add/Remove Programs, Restrict Access to Power Management, Hide All items on the desktop, Remove Favorites
Folder from the Start Menu, Remove Documents Folder from the Start Menu, Hide the task bar settings
from the Start Menu, Remove Find Command from the Start Menu, Restrict changes to enabled Active Desktop,
Disable use of Active Desktop Feature, Clear the recent Documents when Windows Exits, Disable Modification
of Start Menu, Remove the Run Command from the Start Menu, Remove the Folders from the Start Menu, Remove
the Help Option from the Start Menu, Disable File Sharing over the network, Disable Printer Sharing
over the network, Hide Shared Passwords With Asterisk, Disable Save Password Option in DUN-NT, Don't
display Username on logging in NT, Disable Caching of NT Domain Password, Hide Workgroup Content from
Network Neighborhood, Remove Entire Network from Network Neighborhood,Fix DHCP Security Bug in Windows
9x/NT/2000 to stop hackers from accessing your system, Hacker Guard - Disables Hackers from using a
modem to access the Internal Network, Disable MS-DOS mode in windows,   Disable use of real mode Dos
Applications, Reset the Content Advisor and Ratings Password, Disable Internet Explorer Content and
Ratings Advisor, Restrict User from changing Internet Explorer Advanced Settings, Restrict User from
Accessing your personal profiles in Internet Explorer, Restrict User from Accessing Information from
your Internet Explorer Wallet, Disable ability to run registry editing tools, Disable Windows Password
caching ability, Restrict access to event logs in Windows NT and 2000, Disable use of Windows Hot Keys.



One software package supports the whole range of authentication methods, for your local machine or your
domain. SecureSuite is an integrated software package that provides a suite of security applications
for Microsoft Windows 98, Me, NT 4.0 and 2000. These applications include logon, file and folder encryption,
a password bank utility, application execution control, and Entrust PKI support.

This suite of applications offers added security for users of Microsoft Windows 98, Me, NT 4.0 and 2000.

SecureLogon enhances the normal logon procedure for Windows, enabling users to log on securely and
easily using one of the many authentication devices supported by SecureSuite.
SecureSession stores user name, password and other personal information for any Windows-based application
or Web-based form, and releases it upon authenticating the user.
SecureFolder allows you to easily protect your files, folders and Web page bookmarks with strong encryption.
The locking/unlocking of folders and encryption/decryption of files is activated by a SecureSuite-compatible
authentication device.
SecureApp prevents unauthorized users from running Windows applications. Great for accounting software
and databases that contain sensitive or confidential information.
SecureEntrust provides Entrust Technologies' Public-Key Infrastructure (PKI) support.
General Features

Five security programs in one suite: SecureLogon, SecureFolder, SecureSession, SecureApp and SecureEntrust

Compatible with Windows 98, ME, NT 4.0 and 2000 (see Detailed Features)
Increases the security and convenience of using a PC
Multiple authentication methods, including a combination of different methods
Support for workstation only and client/server systems
System and network can be administered from the server and/or client
"On-the-fly" folder and file encryption with "drag-and-drop" convenience
Interactive logon guides users with animation or video clips tailored to their profile
"Last User" support: the last user logged on to a computer need only place his/her finger on the scanner
to log on again without hitting any keys
Locked screen saver can be activated at any time via the "Pause" key (where supported)
Maintains the "look and feel" of standard Microsoft Windows interface
Easy to use wizard-based installation, setup and enrollment
Customizable features including animation, logos, graphics, audio and visual feedback
Multi-language support
Biometric API (BAPI) standard compliant


iProtect Offers Serious PC Protection

Upgraded software locks, encrypts, hides, and even shreds your files. But don't not forget your password.

To paraphrase an old saying, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean someone's not after you. Or your

Whether you are paranoid or just being cautious, a company called International Software Solutions wants
to help. It offers a product called iProtect, a Windows-based software utility that can, with a couple
of clicks, lock, encrypt, hide or shred files right on your desktop computer. iProtect keeps them confidential
and prevents accidental deletion. "It's a good little tool for the end user," says Diana Kelley, senior
security analyst at the Hurwitz Group.


Steganos 3 Security Suite

02-23-2001 - The Steganos 3 Security Suite is a complete, easy to use security package. Steganos encrypts
and conceals your data. The Steganos Safe is your secure hard drive, which disappears at the click of
a button. Includes: Internet Trace Destructor, file shredder, e-mail encryption, password manager, and
computer locking


Winlock is now freeware

Major features of WinLock:
Lock Windows at system boot
Lock Windows at suspend
Lock, Suspend or Shutdown easily with once click
Powerful schedule Shutdown/Restart/Suspend system
Autosave applications on Shutdown time
Autorun saved applications when system start
Autorun any applications when system start
Advanced power management
Windows List with Show/Minimize/Maximize/Hide functions
Process list with Icon/ID/Type/Priority/Kill functions
Powerful administration tools


Panda Secure

ARMORED PROTECTION for desktop and laptop computers. If you share your computer with other users, if
your children waste time playing computer games, if you store confidential data on your laptop... then
you need Panda Security.

Panda Security is Panda Software's NEW Security program. With this software you will turn your computer
into an armor-plated vault, preventing unauthorized operations and even data loss and theft (with hard
disk encryption).

All the conceivable security threats that desktop and laptop computers may be subject to can be controlled
through Panda Security. Benefit from a reliable, intruder-proof system thanks to its access control,
login/logout, user ID and audit report features, which guarantee you total privacy at all times.

Panda Security allows you to:

Restrict the use of your computers to specific users and time frames.
Prevent the installation of inappropriate software (games, illegal applications, etc.).
Block access to established configuration settings (Autoexec, Config, etc.).
Protect specific files to prevent unauthorized operations (deletion, renaming, saving to a floppy disk,
printing, etc.).
Encrypt your e-mail messages and hard disk data.
Control Internet and e-mail use.
Keep track of exactly what is done on your computers.


Icon Lock-iT 2000

Icon Lock-iT 2000 gives you the flexibility to lock an individual file or the entire contents of a folder.
The process is very similar with both functions. When locking the contents of a folder, you simply right
click on the folder name rather than an individual file name and select "Lock Files".

As this screen shot indicates, multiple files are listed rather than one. As an added convenience, you
can review the files to be locked at this time and selectively uncheck any files that you do not wish
to lock.



"SecureUp is the ultimate security system for your desktop, laptop and network computers. With this
software you will turn your computer into a secured lock, preventing unauthorized operations and data
loss. All the conceivable security threats that desktop, laptop and network computers may be subject
to can be controlled through SecureUp. Benefit from a reliable, intruder-proof system and install it
today. SecureUp=99 allows you to restrict the use of your computers, block access to established configuration
settings such as Autoexec.bat, etc, lock all files to prevent unauthorized operations deletion, renaming,
saving to a floppy disk, printing etc"



With Power Administrator, you can have absolute control over your computer's functions and restrictions.
From blocking the access to certain folders or disabling programs of your choice, Power Administrator
gives you the most out of your PC & network with incredible convenience. Whether you are a home user,
business user, or network administrator, Power Administrator is designed around your needs, enabling
you to perform a vast number of administrative changes with the click of a button.

Cloud Class® Course: Microsoft Windows 7 Basic

This introductory course to Windows 7 environment will teach you about working with the Windows operating system. You will learn about basic functions including start menu; the desktop; managing files, folders, and libraries.

You can do this to stop the casual user from getting into your system. They would still be able to get in by booting up in SafeMode though if they are smart enough. I use this at work on W98 PCs and it works.
First have your W98 CD available and do this
Start>Settings>CP>Network. In the “Primary Logon” choose “Client for Microsoft Networks”. After your done installing it and restarting, do this:
Start>Run, key in Regedit and press enter. Now in the left pane double left click on each one of these.
Now right click in the right pane and choose New>Binary Value. Name it MustBeValidated
Then right click on it and select Modify. Give it a value of 01 00 00 00
Now restart the PC. You”ll see you can’t get past the logon box no matter what you do.
You can also just password protect your screensaver.
sarniscoolAuthor Commented:
Please don't propose, your not even close.  In addition, someone else suggested the same technique.
sarniscoolAuthor Commented:
LeeTutor, I appreciate all you did, but the programs you suggested arn't free.  As for asyscokid, I will check out your suggested program, it seems to do what I need it to do, and on top of that, it is free.
"Force Users to Logon to Windows (Windows 95/98/Me) Popular
Category: Home > Windows > Login and Authentication
Usually users can simply press 'Cancel' at the Windows logon box to bypass the login process and gain access to the local computer. This tweak will logout the user if the authentication fails or the user clicks Cancel.

Like all registry tweaks, this is for advanced users, please do not attempt to try this if you are not confident with the Windows registry and recovering from any subsequent problems.

Firstly, setup your computer for multiple users by using the 'Users' wizard in the Control Panel. Create a new user in addition to any existing users, then restart Windows and login as the new user (this will become your new default account).

While you are logged in open your registry and expand the [HKEY_USERS] key, there should be several sub-folders including ".DEFAULT", "Software" and a folder corresponding to the new username you created above.

Open the key listed below (if the 'Run' key does not already exist then create it), and create a new string value named "NoLogon", and set the value to equal "RUNDLL32 shell32,SHExitWindowsEx 0".

Log-off and now when you login using the new username you should gain access to the desktop, but when you press Cancel or enter the wrong password the desktop should partially load, and then the computer should return to the login screen.

Note: If you have problems with this tweak, press F8 while the "Starting Windows 98..." boot-up message is showing, and select Safe Mode. Then open your registry and delete the "NoLogon" key created above.

Note: Once this tweak has been implemented any subsequent users accounts that are created will inherit the 'NoLogon' value and therefore reboot when they login. To avoid this; when you first create a new user, open the key below for the newly created account name (e.g. [HKEY_USERS\jdoe]) and remove the 'NoLogon' value.
  (Default) REG_SZ (value not set)  
  NoLogon REG_SZ "RUNDLL32 shell32,SHExitWindowsEx 0"  

Registry Settings
User Key: [HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run]
Value Name: NoLogon
Data Type: REG_SZ (String Value)"

The Crazy One
Logon Menu 2.1 Freeware

another free logon manager. Lets you specify time limits for specific logons:


OR this one which enables you to disbaled low-level access to your PC, such as msdos or the function keys, F8,F5 etc,etc,..

also freeware:

and this one (also freeware) allows you to put file protection on your files/folders....you can have read -only set on them or open protection(no-one can open 'em without the proper password).

Here's one more. Not free($34.00) but looks very good. I have never tried it personally, preferring the security of Linux or, now, Windows 2000.

why not set your bios password? that way, they won't even be able to boot from a boot disk
hehe, nevermind, just read your question more carefully... sorry ;)
I have tested this for Windows 98:

REM Updated 20020529
ECHO This batch program will drive would-be intruders crazy!
ECHO Do not run this program from Windows or as a standalone utility
ECHO Instead, copy the code to the beginning of AUTOEXEC.BAT
ECHO but delete these comments beginning with "Updated" down to "CHOICE".
ECHO Also, delete all of the "REM".  Change ~ to any password character.
ECHO Be sure to use the WINDOWS version of AUTOEXEC.BAT insted of the
ECHO "Restart to DOS" version.
ECHO When your computer arrives at AUTOEXEC.BAT, it is still in DOS.
ECHO RUNDLL or RUNDLL32 will run ONLY in Windows.
ECHO This batch program uses the free "POWEROFF.EXE" program to shutdown
ECHO your computer.  Be sure to test that the hard drive will not be
ECHO corrupted.  Test for corruption with SCANDISK or NORTON DISK DOCTOR.
ECHO Download: http://elektron.et.tudelft.nl/~witteman/PowerOff.html
CHOICE /N /C:~! /T:!,05 ?
REM PW failed - Shutdown
REM PW worked

sarniscoolAuthor Commented:
Thanks for this free little program.  I was able to hack it by restarting the computer and pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL to stop the program before it was loaded but hopefully my co-workers don't know how to do this.  
Dufo G. BelskiRetired bureaucrat/desktop supportCommented:
We're always glad to help.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.