Locking staff computers when unattended

The University has a duty at law and under its network connection agreement with JANET (who provide our Internet connections) to enforce good practice in the use of computing facilities. An important aspect of this is ensuring that A.U. PC's are never left available for unauthorised use.

The advised method to do this is to arrange that after a preset time (say, ten minutes) your PC 'locks' and can only be unlocked with the password that you use when the PC is first switched on. Instructions on how to do this can be found in our FAQs.

PCs that are not protected in this way are open to misuse by anyone who gains access to your room. This includes the ability to read or change data on your PC, access email, and browse offensive Web sites. Information available could include personal data that falls under the Data Protection Act, and it should be borne in mind that if these University recommendations are not followed then if some such incident were to occur you may be personally liable under the Act.

There have been several unpleasant instances at A.U. where misuse of PCs has occurred solely because this procedure was not in place, so it is in your own interest to take these few simple steps. All departments now have an Information Security Policy which includes this method of working as a requirement of staff.  If you wish to discuss the matter further, or want fuller advice, please contact our Contacting IS


These Regulations are maintained by Information Services, were last reviewed in June 2022 and are due for review in August 2023.