Windows 8.1 - Is my laptop "safe"

I have a laptop with Windows 8.1

The only security I have on my laptop is the standard boot up password.

If my laptop is stolen ... then how easy is it for a bad guy to access my spreadsheets and databases??

Should I have some better security?
Patrick O'DeaAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
If your laptop has a hard drive password, you should use that. Then if the hard drive is removed by a thief, they cannot access anything.

As you state your question, a thief need only remove the hard drive and then take the data from the drive itself.

My ThinkPad does have a hard drive password and I have it set.

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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You could of course use whole hard drive encryption and that will protect your data, but take care as more than one user has forgotten their encryption password.
Patrick O'DeaAuthor Commented:
How do I put a password on my harddrive?

I just investigated and can't spot anything obvious??
Acronis True Image 2019 just released!

Create a reliable backup. Make sure you always have dependable copies of your data so you can restore your entire system or individual files.

JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
If the manufacturer does not permit or make allowance for a hard drive password, then you cannot put one on.

So then you are left with:

1. Whole drive encryption.
2. Putting passwords on key documents.
Does your computer have a TPM? (Trusted Platform Module)

If it does, try this;
Michael FowlerSolutions ConsultantCommented:
A good middle ground would be to have an encrypted folder in which you store your sensitive files.
you can also keep sensitive data on an external device, like flash stick or disk
For basic advice, we need the laptop model and OS edition (8/8pro?).
By the way: hard drive passwords are not secure. If you want to defend the casual thieve from being nosey - ok. But someone with know-how can easily defend hard drive passwords.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Hard drive passwords are decently secure (WAY better than not having them) because people who steal laptops would very likely not know how to thwart them.
Oh yeah? They wouldn't know, but they can google. And google will send them to a shop where you can buy a device that trumps that password instantly. IIRC, it costs less than 50 USD.
Ah, I didn't remember correctly, it was much cheaper, starting a 5 USD.
Patrick O'DeaAuthor Commented:
Thanks all for contributions.

It may be that Windows 8.1 (I have the basic version) simply does not do what I want.

Perhaps my demands are unrealistic.

1. Save a document(s) in a folder.  I want document to be encryped by DEFAULT - i.e. I do nothing!
2. If someone steals my PC and opens hard drive I want my document to be encrypted so that the thief cannot see my data.

I really need it to be an automatic process without little or no intervention from me.
You should use whole disk encryption. Please tell me how your hard disk is formatted (c: only, or c: and d:), so I can determine what software can help you. Also rightclick cmd.exe, select "run as administrator", it opens. Now enter two lines
list disk

Open in new window

There will be output telling you if your hard drive is GPT formatted or not. When there's a "*" in the GPT column, then it's GPT and it will be harder to find a software and I might also join in and recommend folder encryption instead.
Patrick O'DeaAuthor Commented:
Thanks McKnife,

I am primarily interested in my C: drive.  I have a very small D: drive entitled "Recovery".

See image :

It appears that I have gpt
Then folder or container encryption is recommended. An easy approach would be the free 7zip. Create an encrypted .7z archive of your files.  You can work inside that archive, changes are saved encrypted.
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