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February 12, 2012

How To Find Out If Someone Else Used Your Computer

For some of us, the computer is a private place — one where you could be hiding personal and business stuff that you’d rather keep to yourself.   If you suspect someone has been poking around your computer when you’re not watching over it, you could install a specialty security software to record unauthorized access.

In case you’re willing to do a little work, though, you could skip buying a separate package and just use Windows’ feature set to find out the same thing.  Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open a program called Event Viewer. If you’re not sure where to find that, go to Start menu’s search box and type “Event Viewer.”  It should show up in the results.
  2. Once you’ve opened the Event Viewer window, double-click on Windows Logs.  This should  be along the left sidebar.
  3. Once there, click on System.  Right-click on System and choose Filter Current Log.
  4. A window should pop up.   Click on the Event Source dropdown and choose Power-Troubleshooter.  Hit Ok.
  5. Look at middle pane of the Event Viewer.  It should list all the applicable recent events, sorted in descending order by time.   Look at those times that the computer was unsupervised and see if any events were running.  If there are, then that’s your proof that somebody did access it.

If you really want to be protected from unauthorized access, consider installing an anti-theft program or, at the least, adding levels to your security beyond just the Windows password.  After all, viruses and spyware aren’t the only threats out there.

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