Holiday Computer Madness

Every year for the last 7-8 years, I bring up a version of this tip to help save you time and money during the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year visiting season. Please follow the advice. I guarantee it will save you and your computer lots of grief AND save you money.

With all the traveling done during the holidays, family and friends will want to use your computer to check their email or play a game or two. Unlike the TV, a computer can be victimized, unintentionally, by all this attention. When everyone returns home, you may not recognize your computer or have problems with the way it runs.

If you like the way your computer is running now, set a few ground rules for the use of your computer (and please follow the same rules if you are the one doing the borrowing of a loved ones precious PC). In no particular order, here they are:

  1. Don’t add or subtract any programs from the computer without permission first.
  2. Don’t ‘fix’ anything unless asked by the owner.
  3. Don’t wander into the Control Panel and change display, sound, or other settings.
  4. Leave the desktop icons and wallpaper alone.
  5. If you set up an email account in Outlook, Outlook Express, etc. for checking during the holidays, remove the account and any email you downloaded before leaving for home.
  6. Respect the owner’s way of handling computing tasks. Although possibly different from yours, they are happy and comfortable with their methods.
  7. If you create any new documents, either print them and delete the files or copy them to a disk and delete them from the computer.
  8. Do not download free music or movies, ring tones, free games, screen savers, wallpaper or other computer freebies on your host’s computer.

Because constant monitoring of your guest’s Internet browsing is not possible. I highly recommend downloading and installing Mozilla Firefox. Firefox is an alternative browser that actually helps protect your computer from many of the spyware attacks so common in today’s Internet world. Read more about Firefox by clicking here for our Firefox tips.

If you are the one vacationing, remember that you can check your email from any computer in the world using just a normal web browser and any connection.  Check out our tip on how this is done by clicking here.

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  1. Chris Smith November 15, 2009 Reply

    Oh, man, Rick. This tips are very much needed.

    I mean, I am a little more tech savvy than most, but I still don’t understand why some people would treat other computers like they are their own.

    I guess I sort of understand setting up your own email on someone else Outlook or Outlook express. But, don’t you think that if someone had the know-how to do that, that they would have their own smartphone or laptop with email access?

    One thing I can’t stand is when people change my desktop background! I just don’t get that one still. Sometimes it’s funny… Other times is super annoying.

    • Author
      Rick November 16, 2009 Reply

      You would be surprised how many folks don’t use or don’t take advantage of smart phone, Chris. And I think rather than setting up their own laptop, if Grandma’s computer is right there, why not make it more convenient is the attitude. I risk losing business every year at this time, because I do get a lot of business after a major holiday from folks who don’t practice these rules. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Bruce November 16, 2010 Reply

    These tips are right on the money. I hope those reading this will take heed when using their host’s computer, it’s the polite thing to do.
    When I am helping customers and they tell me they regularly have their PCs messed up by friends and family, I show them how to set up a guest account and how to get rid of it after their ‘guests’ have left.

  3. Ted November 21, 2011 Reply

    I will soon implement your rules for using others computers, and impose them on mine as well. As you know my MSI crashed recently. After I got it going again and lost everything not backed up, I spent days re-entering all my e-mail addresses, installing programs etc. 7 Days later it crashed again. Based on Consumer Reports I now have a new Samsung laptop, and I like it a lot. Folks say the MSI had bad hard drives.
    Thanks for your tips.

  4. Joan Smith November 26, 2011 Reply

    Too late for me. My daughter came and downloaded an old program of her’s of Corel without my permission. Although I removed it when she left, it works worse than dial-up. I had the internet provider here for 1 1/2 hours and he even changed the modem and said the speed is fine. Now what? Cry?

  5. Margaret December 16, 2012 Reply

    I got a flashing “Congratulations! I am the 100,000 visitor and to click here”. Is this from

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