It can be frustrating sharing a computer with others – user accounts go some way to helping separate out everyone’s rights and access, but things can (and do) slip through the net. This is where WinGuard Pro 2011 comes in. Once installed, the program allows you to password-protect over 25 common programs and Windows processes for free – select these from the Access Control tab. The free version can also password-protect folders and Windows Explorer, plus disable IE file downloads for additional security.
If you wish to use the program in a commercial environment, or you’d like access to additional features like being able to password-protect any program or file of your choosing, plus configure multiple user accounts or password-protect Windows on booting, upgrade to the Advanced edition for under £10.
Our biggest bugbear with the program is a lack of user-friendliness – the main configuration screen can be tricky to navigate – it would help if it were large enough to accommodate all the tabs for starters, and it’s not quite as intuitive as it should be. The supported list of programs for free users is also poor – while email programs like Windows Live Mail and Outlook Express are covered, these tend to be separated by user account or identity anyway. Protection for the likes of Paint, Notepad and Windows Media Player seem a little pointless too – Microsoft Word is the only major program covered. The potential is there, but with too many features crippled in the free version of the program, it’s unlikely you’ll want to upgrade.
What could be a useful tool in your security armoury is let down by a distinct lack of features in the free version. Far better to use Windows’ own user accounts and a free file encryption tool to protect yourself.