Before even starting this one, no I’m not telling you to all go join the Tin Foil Hat Club. This is simply a comparison of the differences between desktops and laptops concerning security.
Security features come in two flavors, hardware and software. When you pit the desktop vs. the laptop, which of two has the better security features?
Almost all laptops and most new desktop computer cases have a Kensington lock on them. With laptops, the lock is on the side and on the desktop case it’s almost always in the back. For example, the Cooler Master 341 does have a Kensington lock on it.
Hard Drive Password
This is a password set on a BIOS/UEFI level that locks the hard drive so the system won’t even boot until you enter a password first.
Generally speaking, it is easier to set a hard drive password on a laptop. This is not to say that you can’t set a password on a desktop PC’s hard drive, but the laptop’s BIOS/UEFI interface usually makes it much easier to get to that setting.
Fast disconnection of networking
Why disconnect your network? Some people like having the knowledge of knowing that absolutely nothing is being sent or received from the computer while doing certain things on it.
Most people don’t know how to disconnect their network other than by physically unplugging the network cable from the computer, or simply turning off the router.
In all operating systems you can disconnect the networking on a software level within the OS, but in most instances it’s not exactly a 1-2-3-easy thing to do.
Laptops are far and above easier to disconnect from a network compared to a desktop. If wired, the network cable is literally within arm’s reach. If wireless, network disconnection can be done by software means (usually by keystroke Fn+F2 on most laptops), or in some instances there’s actually a separate physical button to kill the wireless radio instantly.
This is available for both desktop and laptops, but the advantage of the laptop is that there are models made that have a fingerprint scanner in-built to the chassis, eliminating the need for an otherwise cumbersome wired scanner or keyboard with the scanner in-built to it.
Lenovo was one of the first brands to have fingerprint readers in-built to certain models.
Adding bulk does add security. Laptops are meant to be portable, so it’s basically not an option unless you’re willing to mount it to a physically lockable station with "grabber" arms on it (like the kind you see for laptop displays at electronics stores). With a desktop case on the other hand there is the ability to use the holes in the bottom to physically drill in a heavy base if you wanted.
Added info: How does one go about using a Kensington lock?
It’s easy to say, "Yeah, use a Kensington lock" but that doesn’t exactly show you how to use one. Fortunately, Kensington has a quick video to show how easy it is to do. See below.
The PCMech.com weekly newsletter has been running strong for over 8 years. Sign up to get tech news, updates and exclusive content - right in your inbox. Also get (several) free gifts.