What is QuickStart?
To begin, QuickStart is an executable file that lets you immediately launch a screensaver on your computer’s desktop. By using QuickStart in conjunction with a password enabled screensaver, you have the ability to immediately and securely lock your computer. You can download QuickStart tools from a variety of sources on the Internet, but the one I use is the Stardust Screen Saver QuickStart, version 2.1. It can be downloaded from Stardust’s Web site right here. You can find similar products for download at www.twocows.com, www.zbirds.com and other sites as well.
The QuickStart executable is a small file (only about 300 KB) and the install is very simple. There is no need to extract any files or go through an installation wizard. Simply download the executable file directly to your desktop. Or, if you have a default downloads folder, once the file is downloaded, copy or create a shortcut to it on your desktop. QuickStart is best used as either a desktop shortcut or a shortcut in your Quick Launch toolbar. I recommend adding it to your Quick Launch toolbar, as this will provide one click access and you won’t have to minimize any open windows to get to it.
Enabling Password Protection on Your Screensaver
Once you have QuickStart in place on your desktop or in your Quick Launch toolbar, you can immediately launch your screensaver at any time. Now, to securely lock your computer using QuickStart, you will need to modify your screensaver settings. To access your screensaver settings, click on Display in the Control Panel (Start, Control Panel) to open the Display Properties dialogue box. Click on the Screen Saver tab.
From here, you can change your screensaver using the drop down box and also set the screensaver to be password protected. Below the screensaver drop down list, make sure the box next to “On resume, password protect” is checked. (Note: you can also set a wait time so that your computer will automatically launch the screensaver when you are inactive for a certain length of time). Click Apply and OK to save your settings. From now on, when your screensaver is activated, a password will be required to turn it off and grant access to the rest of your computer.
Setting Up a Password on Your Computer
If you do not already have a password set up for your computer, now is the time to do so. To set or change your password, click on User Accounts in the Control Panel to open the User Accounts dialogue box. Under Pick a task, choose Change an account.
Select your account for which you wish to set or change the password. On the next screen, select Change my password.
Fill in the current password (leave it blank if you do not already have a password), the new password and the password hint fields.
Click Change Password to set the new password.
That’s All, Folks
Now that you have a password set up for your computer and your screensaver is password protection enabled, QuickStart can now effectively lock your computer securely with just one click. How cool is that?!
~ Katherine Bennett