The Limits of Passwords and Splash Screens

By M. David Stone  |  Posted 2008-09-25 Print this article Print

The Limits of Passwords and Splash Screens

Keep in mind that although a password or splash screen can stop a thief from using a stolen projector, it doesn't do anything to stop the theft. It's a good idea to put a label or sign on or near the projector announcing that it can't be used without the password. Make sure the text is big enough so it's hard to miss. (If you put it on the projector itself, be careful not to interfere with any cooling slots.)

Bypassing Passwords

Keep in mind too that you need to guard against losing the password, or being locked out of using the projector because someone changed it-whether an ex-employee on the way out the door or someone who just forgot to let people know the new password. In some cases you can give the dealer or manufacturer the serial number to get a code to override the password. Another approach lets you generate a code from the projector that the dealer or manufacturer can use to determine the password. In either case, once you confirm your ownership, you should be able to get a code that lets you use the projector again.

Physical Security

Passwords are all good and well, but they won't stop anyone from walking away with the projector. For that you need physical security. Look for a Kensington lock slot for attaching a cable with a Kensington lock, a security slot you can thread a cable through or a security bar that you can wrap a cable around (often by threading the cable through the security slot). The point is to let you tie the projector to something else that won't move, using a sturdy, reinforced cable.

Ceiling Mounts

Simply installing the projector in a ceiling mount offers some level of protection against casual theft, since it takes more time to remove the projector from the mount than pick up a loose projector and stuff it in a bag. Some ceiling mounts are designed with security in mind, and include lock and key mechanisms to protect the projector. Using a security cable in combination with a ceiling mount is even more secure.

Motion Alarms

A last line of defense against theft is an alarm. A thief may know the projector's password and not worry about being seen removing the projector from its mount, but he or she is bound to attract attention walking through the office with an alarm screaming from the bag he or she is carrying. A few projectors have their own built-in motion-sensitive alarms. You can also buy one separately and mount it on any projector, typically using epoxy that comes with the alarm. Another variation is an alarm that goes off when a tether is cut or unplugged.


M. David Stone is an award-winning freelance writer and computer industry consultant with special areas of expertise in imaging technologies (including printers, monitors, large-screen displays, projectors, scanners, and digital cameras), storage (both magnetic and optical), and word processing. His 25 years of experience in writing about science and technology includes a nearly 20-year concentration on PC hardware and software. He also has a proven track record of making technical issues easy for non-technical readers to understand, while holding the interest of more knowledgeable readers. Writing credits include eight computer-related books, major contributions to four others, and more than 2,000 articles in national and worldwide computer and general interest publications. His two most recent books are The Underground Guide to Color Printers (Addison-Wesley, 1996) and Troubleshooting Your PC, (Microsoft Press, 2000, with co-author Alfred Poor).

Much of David's current writing is for PC Magazine, where he has been a frequent contributor since 1983 and a contributing editor since 1987. His work includes feature articles, special projects, reviews, and both hardware and software solutions for PC Magazine's Solutions columns. He also contributes to other magazines, including Wired. As Computers Editor at Science Digest from 1984 until the magazine stopped publication, he wrote both a monthly column and additional articles. His newspaper column on computers appeared in the Newark Star Ledger from 1995 through 1997.

Non-computer-related work includes the Project Data Book for NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (written for GE's Astro-Space Division), and magazine articles and AV productions on subjects ranging from cosmology to ape language experiments. David also develops and writes testing scripts for leading computer magazines, including PC Magazine's PC Labs. His scripts have covered a wide range of subjects, including computers, scanners, printers, modems, word processors, fax modems, and communications software. He lives just outside of New York City, and considers himself a New Yorker at heart.


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