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I am currently in a far, far place away from home where I have my beautiful beast of a computer that hosts so many games, softwares, songs and... confidential stuff (some related to my company) on different drives. I also have remote access to that computer.

The problem is in the form of my teenage cousin who is home for the holidays in two days; I do not want him to access anything. He has a tendency to think of himself as a "guru" and "fix up" all the computers he ever comes in contact with - by reinstalling the OS to "speed things up" and installing lots of unwanted games etc.

I have two drives - C: and D: - 250GB each. I could easily access the machine remotely and set a password on my only account, but knowing him, he will format my C: drive and install Ubuntu, still having access to the D: drive (NO! I am NOT making this up. he has done this before).

How can I lock my drives so he won't be able to format, fdisk, install another OS or do anything at all?

I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If he's willing to go so far as to install a new OS, pretty much all you can do (aside from making the computer physically inaccessible to him) is to configure the BIOS to boot only from the hard drive (not from CD/DVD/USB) and set a BIOS password so that he can't change the boot settings back. Then set a password on your account and you'd be set[1].

Unfortunately, changing BIOS settings requires access to the console at boot time, so you probably can't do this remotely unless you have a network-enabled KVM or serial console attached to the machine.

Is there someone available back home that you can ask to lock the computer up someplace where he won't be able to find it? Or is there any way that you can impress upon him that messing with your computer would be a Very Bad Idea, resulting in legal and/or painful consequences?

[1] Unless he opens the case and resets the BIOS to factory default... The general rule of thumb is that, against a skilled and determined attacker, if they have physical access to the hardware, it's Game Over. But there's a chance he may not know how to reset a BIOS or may balk at cracking the case of someone else's machine.

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hm, wow this sure is not as simple as I thought it would be. I can ask my girlfriend to lock it up I guess.. but.. man I wanted to be geeky for once! will look up the kvm thingy for now, and as a last resort, I'll ask my girlfriend to lock it up somewhere. hm. –  iamserious Sep 8 '11 at 9:17
    
ok kvm is a hardware solution! strike this option out! or I simply can walk my girlfriend through setting up a bios password, I guess.. –  iamserious Sep 8 '11 at 9:18
    
@iamserious: A BIOS password is easily reset, but requires messing with the hardware. Given your description, I wouldn't think that an unrealistic scenario, either. –  Piskvor Sep 8 '11 at 10:28
    
okay, thank you very much for the answers :) @Piskvor too –  iamserious Sep 8 '11 at 10:59
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+1: Once someone with malicious intent has physical access to your computer, then it is no longer your computer. –  surfasb Sep 8 '11 at 10:59

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