How to Fix: 3 Ways to Keep Emails Private When You're Away from the PC

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader "Sundeep" writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I am using Windows 10 and my email is always open and accessible. I want to be able to log out of my emails so no one else can see them. How can I make it so that my email is kept private, so no one else can see it on my computer when I'm away from the machine? "

My response:

If you don't want your emails accessible whenever you are signed in, there are a few options.

  1. Lock the machine or sign out when it is not being used. If you lock the machine, everything on the desktop will remain where it is until you sign back in. If you log out, everything on the desktop gets closed; when you sign back in, you will have to open your programs again. To lock or log out of the machine, click Start, then click your account icon, then select Lock or Sign out.
  2. Enable a screensaver with password protection. If you frequently get up from the computer and locking / logging out is too bothersome, you can set a screensaver with password protection to automatically lock the system after a certain period of inactivity. When this option is enabled, the screensaver kicks in; when the mouse or keyboard is activated, the user is asked to sign in to continue.

    Usually setting the screensaver to 15 minutes of inactivity is a good amount of time to set. To do so: click Start, then click the Settings icon (cogwheel). A new window will appear; click the "Personalization" link, then on the left, click "Lock Screen". Under the heading "Lock Screen" choose "Screen saver settings". A new window will appear; under the "Screen Saver" heading, there is a pull down menu - choose "Blank", then tick the box that says "On resume, display login screen" and set the "Wait" for 15 minutes.
  3. If you use a web browser to access your emails, ensure that it is not set to "remember me". To do so: go to your web browser email, then click your account icon (usually) and choose the option to sign out. Once you are signed out, click the option to sign in again. On the sign in page (where it asks for your email account and password), make sure you un-tick the option to "remember me". When "remember me" is not enabled, no one can access your emails on your computer if you are not there. If this feature is enabled, emails are always open. That said, you should still set Option #1 or #2 above to keep prying eyes out when you're away from the terminal.

I hope that helps.

Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis

If all of this is over your head, and if you need help personalizing your computer so that no one can view your emails once you've signed in - I can help using my remote desktop support service. Simply contact me, briefly describing the issue and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question - or even a computer problem that needs fixing - please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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sytruck_8413's picture


Instead off "click Start, then click your account icon, then select Lock or Sign out." Just use Ctrl, Alt, Del then click lock or log out. Prior to W10, or maybe earlier, you could just press enter. It would be cool if you could make W10 do that. IE make one of the selections the default so all you did then was press Enter. (I didn't try to search that) Anyway 3 keys at once plus one click is a bit faster and simpler.