Create Computer Guest Account For Visitors

We're expecting a house full of guests for about a week during the holidays and we've been thinking a lot about preparing our computers for guest use. We use our computer for everything and of course we don't mind if our guests want to use it as well during their stay. But that doesn't mean we're not taking a very simple precautionary measure to protect our personal information, especially after this week's big news about passwords and privacy.We've had our share of roommates crashing our computer and not giving a darn about it; we also had to share a family computer with our nosy siblings while growing up — we don't want to relive any of those situations so we're taking extra precautions to keep ourselves safe (from a meltdown or an embarrassing situation).

First, we're going to create a guest account on our two computers using these simple steps for our OS X accounts (here's how to do it for Windows XP machines):

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To create a guest account:
  • Open System Preferences and click Accounts.
  • Open Accounts preferences
  • If some settings are dimmed, click the lock icon and type an administrator name and password.
  • Select Guest Account in the list of accounts.
  • Select the “Allow guests to log into this computer” checkbox.
  • If you want to provide further limits on what a guest user can access on the computer, select the Enable Parental Controls checkbox.
  • Setting safe limits with parental controls.
  • To allow remote access of shared folders on your computer by guest users, select the “Allow guests to connect to shared folders” checkbox.

In our welcome pack in each guest room (maps, spare key, tissues, cold weather lip balm) we're going to include the password to our guest account.

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We'll set up a welcome home screen as well (a good Google search will result in plenty of welcoming images, or make your own!), that way it'll break the ice of them feeling uncomfortable about using someone else's computer. We will also include the password to our router, should they want to access the internet through their phones.

All in all, we think that setting up a guest account will make the visit run more smoothly. The last thing we want is for anyone to feel uncomfortable — we want everyone to feel at home, even if that means making our computer as comfortable as possible too!

[Images: 1. Kristen Lubbe, 2-5. Muir Houses, Ultimate Warrior, Wunder Man, Kristen Lubbe]

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