How do I... Secure Microsoft Windows XP Professional?

The Windows XP User Accounts screen

Step 1: Give yourself a password
A new Windows XP installation is password-less. That is, when you create the initial account, no password is assigned, but the account has full rights to the machine. Obviously, this is not acceptable in most environments. Even though they can be cracked or stolen, passwords are still the most commonly used security mechanism. Make sure you provide every account with a strong password -- seven or more characters with a combination of upper/lower case, symbols and numbers.

Domain-joined XP clients can change passwords by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete and selecting Change Password from the menu. This will change your domain password, which is also your local login password.

To assign a password on a machine that is not joined to a domain:
  1. Go to Start | Control Panel.
  2. Choose the User Accounts option. This opens the screen shown.