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Set Account Lockout Threshold for Local Accounts

The security of  your Windows user account, Is only as good as the password that's used to protect It. If It's based on commonly used, easy to guess or contains some sort of personal entries, such as part of your full name and date of birth, anyone with physical access to your computer, can easily try and guess It with repeated login attempts. As such, In this tutorial, I will demonstrate how to set an Account lockout threshold for local user accounts.

So what exactly Is an Account lockout threshold? Well, I'm glad you've asked! Simply put and without the tech jargon, It locks out a given local user account for a certain duration due to too many Invalid login attempts. Essentially, the user account cannot be accessed with the password, until either an Administrator unlocks It, or the lockout duration expires.

By default, Windows does not have a lockout policy In place, thus anyone looking to gain unauthorized access to your computer, can enter a password as many times as they like until they get It right.

To avoid repeated login attempts, I will demonstrate how to set an account lockout threshold by using the Windows native Local Security Policy. Do note that the LSP Is only available In Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise and Education editions. If you're running either of these, then this tutorial Is for you. So without further delay, let's get this started.

Step One:

To access the Local Security Policy, open the Run menu, enter secpol.msc and hit OK as shown below.

Step Two:

The Local Security Policy will now open, so click on Account Policies > Account Lockout Policy. Then on the right pane, double-click Account lockout threshold.

Step Three:

Now you need to set the number of Invalid login attempts, that will lock the account after the number has been exceeded. In my case, I've entered a value of 3. This means that after three failed logins, the account will be locked. When you've made your selection, hit OK.

Step Four:

Due to the above Implementation, both the Account lockout duration and the Reset account lockout counter have been automatically set to 30 minutes. As their name Implies, the given account will be locked for 30 minutes, and will reset back to 0 after the same duration. Click OK to finalize the process.

Step Five:

Let's put this to the test. I've rebooted my computer and I'm at the Windows login screen. I've purposely entered an Incorrect password 3 times, and now ready to login on the forth attempt. Let's see what happens thereafter In the next step.

Last Step:

As expected and as you can see, a message has been returned stating that my account Is currently locked out. Perfect!

Final Thoughts:

Keeping your PC (and other local user accounts that're active on the same device) safe from anyone trying to gain unauthorized access, Is of the utmost Importance. If you've created a strong password, setting an Account lockout threshold to lock the account after ex-amount of Invalid login attempts, Is an excellent preventative measure. It only takes a minute or so to apply, thus there's no reason not to.


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