Use desktop locking to prevent unauthorized access
What is desktop locking and why should I use it?
Desktop locking enables users to keep all of their programs running and documents open on their computer while at the same time preventing others from using or looking at any of the information on that computer. This is done by disabling access to view or interact with the computer and thus prevents the unauthorized access or theft of personal, confidential, or Protected Health Information.
How do I enable desktop locking?
Some form of desktop locking is available for every modern operating system. Here are instructions for some of the more common ones.
Be sure there is a (known) password set on the computer you are using. If there is no password set or you are unsure, go here for further instructions.
Desktop locking in Windows XP and Vista is enabled the same way.
For Windows NT and 2000:
You should also use a password enabled screensaver. This helps when a computer is left unattended and unlocked. After a set amount of time the screensaver will activate and automatically lock the desktop. Click here for instructions on how to enable this.
Mac OS X
The easiest way to lock the desktop is by using a sleep corner. The first step is to require the use of a password. By default most Mac OS X computers login as the Administrator when they are turned on. Although convenient, it is not secure because anyone can gain access.
Next, require a password when returning from the screensaver or sleep.
Finally, enable a sleep corner.
To activate the screen saver and lock the desktop move the mouse pointer all the way to the top right corner (or any corner you selected). To return to normal operation press any key on the keyboard, enter your password, and press return or click "OK."
Because there are various versions of Linux, there is not one procedure. If you are running Gnome or KDE take a look at the options in the "Screen Saver" utility. If running some other desktop manager read the documentation or look at the main page for "xscreensaver-command."
The following shell command will immediately lock an X desktop: xscreensaver-command-lock
If you are using the CDE desktop manager (copied from Sun Solaris documentation):