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Guest Etiquette

In this age of personal mobile computing, I am amazed that a house guest would need to use his/her host’s computer. But it happens, and the host usually regrets it. When the guest leaves, the computer is always different.

If your house guest asks to use your computer, create a “Guest” user account.* A guest account has access to the internet and to the computer’s programs, but not to your files and folders.

If you need to use your host’s computer, ask to use (or create) a Guest account. If that is not possible,

  • make note of how your host’s computer looks when you first boot it up and then leave it the way you found it
  • do not download programs or apps without the owner’s permission
  • close any windows you opened
  • do not save your favorites to their favorites list
  • email your files to yourself or upload them to cloud-based storage and then delete them from your host’s computer

To avoid these issues, travel with your own devices and suggest that your guests do the same. The only thing that should be shared is the Wi-Fi password.

* How you create a guest user account varies from Apple to Windows computers and among different Windows operating systems. For step by step instructions, search for “create guest account” and specify your computer and operating system.