Archive for March, 2013

How to change your Windows Password

posted by Sam Ravenscroft
Mar 8

How to change your password on Windows XP (domain)

If you are working on a company computer and your company has a server then most likely you need to use the domain method.  (Domain username are usually in the form of DOMAIN\username or [email protected])

It is always a good idea to think of a password before attempting to change your password.

Please take the following into account when changing your password:

  • Choose a password that is secure
  • Choose something that you can remember
  • Never give out your password to anybody else
  • Never write your password down
  • If your organization employs password policies, ensure that your password complies to the length and/or complexity requirements of the password policy.
  • Passwords cannot be the same as your username, e-mail address or first/last name.

Usually the minimum password requirements entail the following:

  • At least 7 characters long
  • Must contain numbers and letters (alpha-numeric)
  • Must contain both upper and lowercase letters
  • Must contain at least one special character (e.g. [email protected]#$%^&*().<> etc.)

Whilst logged on (with your own account):

  1. Press CTRL-ALT-DEL keys simultaneously
  2. In the window that appears (Windows Security), click on “Change password”.
  3. Put your current password in the “old password” box.
  4. Put your new password in the “new password” and “confirm new password” boxes.
  5. Click “ok”

The system will then confirm that your password has been changed or if it could not be changed a reason will be provided.

How to change your password on Windows XP (workgroup)

Use this procedure to change the password you use when you log on to Windows if your computer is a member of a workgroup, and is not a member of a domain.

  1. Open User Accounts in Control Panel.
  2. Under “or pick an account to change”, click your account.
  3. Click “Change my password”.
  4. Type your current password in “Type your current password”.
  5. Type your new password in “Type a new password” and “Type the new password again to confirm”.
  6. You can type a word or phrase to use as a memory aid for the new password in “Type a word or phrase to use as a password hint”. (Do not type your password in this box.)
  7. Click Change Password.

Mar 8

  • Do not use words or phrases that have personal significance.
  • Mix letters, numbers and symbols, and use case sensitivity (upper and lower case letters). This mixture is known as “pseudo-random alpha-numeric combination”; using this, it is almost impossible to “crack” somebody’s password. (i.e. instead of “password,” try “pAsS34%(6*2woRd,” etc.)
  • Find a good way to remember. A good way to do this is to choose the first letters of a sentence that you will remember. e.g. “I have 2 dogs called Rover and Fido” gives: Ih2dcRaF
    • Use punctuation to your advantage. To incorporate a colon into the previous example, remember the sentence as “I have 2 dogs: Rover and Fido”, which would give: Ih2d:RaF
  • Try to memorize the password, and avoid writing it down. Somebody could very easily find the slip of paper that the password is written on.
  • The longer the better. Don’t make a password that’s less than 8 characters. Anything less can easily be deduced from brute force software.
  • Take the street you grew up on, and your first pet/something hard to guess from your past, put a number sign in between, substitute some letters for numbers, and, voila! A great password. For example: Bill grew up on Ocean Avenue, and his first pet was Rocky. His password would be: 0c3an#r0cky You can add random capitals to make it more secure.
  • Do not use the same password for everything. If someone finds this password, they would have access to everything. At the very least, make at least one password for sensitive things (i.e. online banking, etc.) and one for everything else (AIM, email, etc.). Here is an example:
    • Let us suppose you have 5 email accounts, 3 operating system passwords, 3 bank accounts (each with user name, password, extra security pin), 10 internet forum user/passes, 1 cellular phone (uses 2 to 4 pins). (If you are a programmer or db administrator, multiply the total by 3). Say for each of these, you chose a variation of “pAsS34%(6*2woRd,”. Try to memorize 20 of those gibberish sequences! It’s quite difficult, but if you make your sentences relevant to each situation, it will be easier – for example, for banking, your sentence could be “I want to have 1 million pounds every day” (Iw2h1m£ed), and for your emails it could be “I hope no one reads my emails or hacks in!” (Ihn1rmeohi!).
    • Use something you see whenever you need this password to generate the password. Federal Security Bank might lead to FsBmA3456.
    • Use a telephone keypad or 10 character phrase (i.e. blackstump) to encode numbers as letters or vice versa.
  • Another way is using just numbers, but with an algorithm. You could take your birthday, for instance. For a random birthday, let’s use 23/4/87. 2+3+4+8+7=24. 2+4=6. And so your password is simple. now, take 6 and…. 2x2x2=8 4x2x2=16. 1+6=7. 7×7=49. 49×49=2401. This way, you have a password,(2401) and a way to crack it if you forget it!
  • Change your passwords. You should change your password at least every 30 to 60 days. You should also not re-use a password for at least a year.
  • One other way is to use a word, for example, wikihow, and move your fingers up one row on the keyboard. Wikihow becomes 28i8y92.
  • One more way is to create a random syntax (eg. 2 numbers, 5 letters, 1 punctuation mark and 2 more numbers) and randomly populate it with the characters you have said – 94IdmTg;66 could be a password created in this way. The downside of this method is that it is often difficult for most people to memorise passwords created in this way, but if you use it often enough it should become easier over time. This method is only really useful if you believe other people may overhear/attempt to find out your password, as computers will not find such a password any harder to crack than a password holding some meaning!
  • You could also use an entire sentence as a password – including spaces an punctuation.  (E.g. “My computer is Secure as at 2013!!”)