Security on a Mac: Setting Passwords & Locking your Screen



I use a Mac and a PC at my job, and one thing we fall victim to, if we do not lock our computer when we walk away, is we end up coming back to a desktop wallpaper of David Hasselhoff.

Knight Rider

You could wind up with this on your screen. Or worse.

So we are always told to lock our PCs. Fortunately, this is easy to do. You simply press the Windows key + L and it locks your machine (The Windows key is the key between ctrl and alt, that has the Windows flag on it).

But I also needed to find a way to lock my Mac — which isn’t as easy as the nice, two-key combo Microsoft has laid out for us.

You can lock a Mac through key combinations. In newer Macs, you can click control + shift + the power button, and you will see your screen go black, and if you tap any key on the keyboard, it will wake up the screen, and you can see that your Mac is locked.

However, in my case, I can’t even reach my power button, so this just won’t work. What I do (and I consider this the best and easiest way to lock a Mac) is to lock by using Keychain Access.

Keychain Access is the equivalent of Windows Credential Manager, in that it saves passwords that you frequently use on the Mac. In order to use Keychain Access for locking your Mac, you will, of course, need to set a password on your Mac (otherwise what’s the point in locking, if users can hit ‘return’ and go right into your Mac).

To set a password on a Mac, click on the Apple logo in the upper left-hand corner of the Mac, and go to System Preferences. From there you will see a location called Users & Groups.


Inside Users & Groups, you will see your account listed. You might have to click on the lock, down in the lower left-hand corner, to make changes (if you do, it will require a password, and if you have none set, you can simply click OK). Once you have the ability to edit your account, click on it. You will see the location, next to your photo, that states Reset Password. This is where you will enter your password.

You can then click the lock to prevent further changes and move on to Keychain Access.

When you launch Keychain Access, you won’t need to do anything in the window that pops up, only in the Preferences for Keychain Access. To access Preferences, click on the words “Keychain Access” in the upper left-hand corner, and go to Preferences…

In Preferences, under the General tab, put a check mark where it states: Show keychain status in menu bar


This adds an unlocked lock in the menu bar in the upper right hand corner of your Mac. If you now click on that icon, you have an option to ‘Lock Screen’.


It’s as simple as that!


Microsoft Announces Windows 10!


The new Windows 10 Start Menu, with customizable panel

Windows 10 is on its way for a release before the end of 2015! Microsoft announced earlier this week that they are releasing their latest operating system on all platforms before the end of 2015, which includes Xbox, smartphones, tablets, PCs and laptops.

This is very exciting news, however, the first question anyone who’s following Microsoft might ask is: “What happened to Windows 9?”

Microsoft has been talking about its imminent Windows 9 OS, pretty much ever since the backlash over a missing Start Menu in Windows 8. So why are they abandoning 9? They chose to move forward from 9 to create a unified theme between all platforms. Here is the direct response from Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft:

“This product, when you see [it in its], fullness, I think you’ll agree with us that it’s a more appropriate name. That fullness applies to Windows Phone, too, which will see Windows 10 as its next major upgrade. Windows 10 is built for “screens from 4 to 80 inches.”

Terry Myerson, MS Executive Vice President also states:

“Windows 9 name wouldn’t be right, given the new One Microsoft internal strategy. Hence the move to Windows 10.”

This move to Windows 10 is going to be a huge test for Microsoft, as it is increasingly becoming whispered that Windows 8 is considered a failure, along the lines of the Windows Vista OS.

From early previews of this new OS, however, great things have been said. (For anyone who would like to try the early preview of the Windows 10 OS, you can sign up and download the OS for free here: (64-bit preview).)

From the early preview, Microsoft has stated it is interested in taking the best parts of Windows 7 and Windows 8 to combine into creating the best operating system yet. Going to a unified operating system for all of Microsoft’s platforms will present a nice solution to integration of the various platforms into a small business environment, making the transition from smartphone, to laptop, to tablet a much easier process for even the most basic user.

Here at our Everon office we have downloaded and installed the tech preview for Windows 10. Just from the past few hours of reviewing it we can report that Microsoft has included a ton of features that are going to help technicians troubleshoot the OS quicker and more efficiently. Stay tuned for future blogs on the various features and find out what you can expect from Microsoft, with regard to this OS. If you have any questions about it, feel free to call our technicians at 1-888-244-1748. We are pretty excited about the changes they have made and would be happy to share our excitement with anyone willing to listen. :)

Spring Clean Your IT. Part 1


These days, most companies have the right idea when it comes to the life expectancy of their product and the cost of replacement parts versus the cost of a full product replacement.  BIC® sells disposable lighters because it is more cost effective to buy another one rather than buying more fluids, flints, etc.  This is starting to become the case with most computer manufacturers and their products as well.

When the question comes up “How many years should I expect to get out of this computer?” the general consensus fluctuates depending on who you talk to.  With my many years of experience in pc repair and in sales, there is a number that myself and the engineers here at Everon are comfortable sharing.

On a normal basis, the normal lifespan of a computer, whether it be a laptop or desktop, is 3-5 years with normal usage.  If you are using a laptop, this number might be lower only because there is a higher risk of human error (dropping, spilling, etc).  In most instances, the first piece of hardware that will go is the power supply.  To replace the power supply, this is a fairly simple repair that is generally covered under the manufacturer’s warranty or in the extended warranty if one was purchased.  From there, electrical components soon go south.  Depending on usage, stress, location, temperature, and environmental factors, these will also determine the lifespan of your computer.

With proper care, maintenance, and upgrading, the possibility of getting more years out of your computer increases.  7 years down the road, your computer maybe be still running like new or slower than you may remember it, but without hardware upgrades, the speed is the least of your concerns.  With the world of technology changing ever so much, it is hard to keep up, but after the computer hits the 3-5 year mark, hardware versus software compatibility is where we run into the problem.  The latest tax software that you need for your company or the newest version of the document processing suite that isused daily, soon become impossible to purchase because your equipment is too out dated to meet the system requirements.

The statements made above go right along with the lifespan of a Windows server. Environmental conditions play a big part in the well-being of your server as well as hardware compatibility.  In my mind, the life span of a server should not be measured in how long it remains able to perform the tasks given to it, which might be a long time if the task I something that never changes like DNS server.  Whereas, I feel the lifespan should be measured by the amount of time that the hardware is supportable. As a company, one would have to balance out the cost of continually replacing the parts to keep it doing what you need it to do until you are able to go out and purchase one that will give you another 3-5 years without worrying about upgrading.

With all this in mind, up-to-date equipment goes hand-in-hand with quality employees.  Both are a necessity in the success of your business.  There will be following blog posts about when is the right time to upgrade, the impact not upgrading will have on your company, what you will gain out of keeping current, and why it is important to have a trusted IT firm to keep on top of this for you versus trying to do all this on your own.

If you have PCs or laptops that you need to replace.  Now is the time to take advantage of an offer from Everon to save $100 per machine on the setup.  By trusting and IT firm to setup the PC, you can be sure the right software and applications are installed and as well as your email and user settings configured for you.  This was you can be sure it’s going to work properly and can get back to running your business.  To register for this offer and see more details, go to :

Offsite Backup - Keeping your data safe


These days, in our world of high speed internet, and cellular data speeds that can provide streamable video, larger and larger data storage needs are growing in our personal computing lives.  As we grow these vast data stores with our pictures, documents, music, and more, it becomes even more imperative to keep our personal information safe and protected.  Many companies have arisen in the marketplace that provide fantastic storage backup, syncing, and redundancy solution.  So the question is, “what solution is right for me?”


- Solutions like Dropbox (,, One Hub ( provide solutions where you can not only keep your data offsite, but can also synchronize with multiple computers’ local data stores.  This allows for easy collaboration, management, and redundancy across multiple locations.  The dangerous part of this kind of a solution is the chance of accidental deletion. allows you to keep versions, but many other solutions just pull the data from the servers, and you’re file is if you delete it and let it sync, all your synching computers lose the file.  SO …make sure you have a good local backup running continuous as well with this kind of solution.


- Some of you may have heard of Mozy, or Intronis, or Carbonite, who are three of the bigger offsite backup providers in the marketplace.  These services pride themselves on the “Set it and Forget It” model.  Basically, you sign up ($50/yr typical price), run through the easy to use installer, and just let it roll!  Your chosen file types (documents, pictures, music etc..) get backed up continuously offsite to redundantly backed up data servers in multiple locations.  These are usually 256 AES encrypted connections that provide safe and secure connections to the servers, and I highly recommend this type of a solution.


- Some solutions do both…Sugarsync, Soonr, 1Backup. - these solutions are considered an all-in-one, that can give you file sharing across multiple groups and computers, and offsite backup in case of disaster or emergency.  Very strong solutions indeed, except that typically, these connections are not the most secure, and there is more of a chance of hackers or identity theft.  Now don’t get me wrong, these are secure connection, they’re just not the MOST secure.

All in all, there are many fantastic offsite backup and file sharing solutions in the marketplace.  So it’s really up to you to choose the one you’d like to use, and you always have Google as your friend to research and find the right one.

Mac OS X Refined - 10.6 Snow Leopard coming to stores Friday, 8/28!


Apple announced 8/24 that their newest Operating System, 10.6 Snow Leopard will be available in stores this coming Friday, 8/28/09. Apple’s newest Operating System will cost $29 for the single user license and $49 for the five-license family pack. Also available are Mac OS X Server 10.6 Snow Leopard ($499) and two upgrade box sets: OS, iWork and iLife ($169) and the five-license family pack, iWork and iLife ($229).

Apple’s engineers have improved more than 1000 features that make Mac OS X what it is. It will include a faster Apple Mail program, Expose Integration in the dock, Quicktime X with a new look and feel that blends into the background and also allows for instant recording, 64-bit version of Safari 4 that is 2x’s faster than its predecessor, a snappier Finder, and much more. Another key feature of the new OS is full Exchange 2007 support with Address Book and iCal. This will allow users to real time (push) their GAL and Calendar data with their fellow PC co-workers. The install will also free up 7 GB of hard drive space for existing OS users once installed, making it Apple smallest OS bundle to date.

Overall, this newest Operating system will speed up and unleash the powers of the Mac Hardware, giving the user a quicker and more fluid computer experience.

For full specifications on 10.6 Snow Leopard

Danny Sears
Network Engineer
Everon Technology Service