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Last updateFri, 29 Jul 2016 8am

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Guests Using Your Computer

You have guests visiting you and they would like to use your computer. You fear they may access your files and do other wrongful things while on the Internet.

Such wrongful things could be bringing in viruses from their emails or spyware from spywares and reading or deleting your files. Your guests can also probe around your computer then somehow delete some files, change system settings, or view your files.

What can you do to protect your system?

Making sure you have a good security solution is definitely a very good thing. However, they can turn off your security or install PUP (Possible Unwanted Programs).

Computers have some features that can stop this problem before it starts. Windows have a Guest account. This allows people to use the computer without giving them the ability to see your files or change your settings. To turn on the Guest account in:

  • Windows 7 and Vista - click Start>>Control Panel. Go to User Accounts and then click "Manage Another Account." Select the default Guest account to turn it on.
  • Windows 8 - users should hit the Win key + X to open Windows 8 version of start menu then click the Control Panel menu item. Go to User Accounts and then click "Manage Another Account." Select the default Guest account to turn it on.
  • In Windows XP - click Start>>Control Panel and double-click User Accounts. Select the Guest account and click the Turn On the Guest Account button.
  • Apple - Click the Apple logo at the top of the screen and select "System Preferences." Click Accounts and then the lock at the bottom of the window.

After you get to managing user accounts from one of the above items, select Guest Account from the menu and then check the box labeled "Allow guests to log into this computer." For even more security, check the box labeled "Enable Parental Controls."

Now there is a very important part that you need to do. You will need to password-protect your main account. Otherwise your guests may still go to into your account and snoop around or modify your settings. If you decide to do this, then go back to the User Account menu, choose your main account and select "Create a password for your account." Enter and confirm the password, then create a password hint. Finally, click the "Create Password" button. It is recommended to use strong passwords with the following as minimum:

  • Not using related names
  • At least 8 characters in length
  • A mixture of at least letters, numbers, and symbols

Mac users have to create a password when they set up their account. If you desire to make your password a bit stronger, then do the following:

  1. Go to Apple Logo>>System Preferences>>Accounts
  2. Click the lock at the bottom of the window to change it.

To conclude, when you are done with your account, you log off as follows:

  • Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8 - go to Start and instead of shutting down, choose Log Off
  • Windows 8, click your username on the Start Screen and select Log off
  • In OS X, click the Apple logo and select Log Out