There are quite a few different types of desktop computer locks available, though they are typically either hardware or software locks. Hardware locks are physical locks, usually requiring a key or combination to unlock, used to prevent the removal of computer devices or to restrict access to certain parts of a computer. There are also hardware locks that can be used to keep a person from accessing a computer unless a device is connected to it. Software desktop computer locks are programs installed onto a computer which lock out certain aspects of a computer unless a password is entered.
Physical or hardware desktop computer locks are used to keep people from removing computer components or to restrict access to certain parts of a computer. Metal wires are often used to secure computer components in place, by running the wire through loops on the tower, monitor, and other computer components and then securing it to a desk. A lock is typically part of this wire, and the lock usually requires a combination or key to release the components.
Other hardware desktop computer locks can be used to prevent unauthorized access to certain parts of a computer. A metal plate can be placed over the disc tray on a computer tower, and kept in place by a lock to keep unauthorized users from installing programs or applications from a disc. There are also hardware locks that can be used to limit who can turn on or use a computer as well. These desktop computer locks are usually dongles or other small devices connected to a computer through a universal serial bus (USB) port or similar connection.
Once installed, the device must be present for the computer to power on or function properly. This allows a computer owner or system administrator to keep the dongle or device with him or her and keep others from accessing the system. Some of these desktop computer locks are even specific to particular programs, preventing unauthorized users from accessing certain software without the correct authenticator device.
Software desktop computer locks typically consist of a program that effectively locks out the system without a proper username and password being entered. Many operating systems (OS) have these types of locks as a standard feature, but there are also programs that can be installed to provide further protection. Once one of these programs is installed, then a computer user can initiate a lockout, or it can happen when a user is idle for a certain amount of time. Access to that system is then locked and disabled without a user entering the correct password.