How to Password-Protect a Printer

If you share a computer, you might want to limit who can use it for printing files. Unauthorized printing gives others the opportunity to walk away with digital material, and it wastes consumables such as ink and paper. There are a couple of ways to secure your printer without compromising your own ability to print.

Set a Password

Installing a commercial program like Amanda Group's Printlock lets you protect your printer with a password. Once you've created the password, no print job will run until the user provides the correct credentials. Printlock works with any printer connected to a Windows PC and will prompt the user for a password whenever someone sends a document to the printer.

1. Browse to the Printlock Website, and download the software from it.

2. Install the software on the computer connected to the printer you want to protect.

3. When prompted by the Printlock dialog box, enter a password that only you will remember.

4. The next time you or anyone else tries to print a document or image file on the Printlock-protected printer, the program will pop up a password dialog box. The print job will not complete until Printlock receives the correct password.

Restrict a User Account

Windows doesn't have a built-in password feature, but if your user account has a password, you can set it so that only your account has access to the printer, effectively locking out anyone who can't access your username and password.

1. Log in as an administrator and click Start, Printers & Faxes (Devices and Printers in Windows 7).

2. Find the printer you wish to protect, and right-click Properties. In Windows 7, double-click the printer icon and select Customize this printer.

3. Click the Security tab, and you'll see the security settings for the printer.

4. Highlight your account in the 'Group or User Names' section, and make sure that all boxes under Allow are checked.

5. Highlight Everyone in the 'Group or User Names' section, and make that sure all boxes under Deny are checked.

That's it! After making your selections, you will be the only person who can print on the configured computer.

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