Any time we've ever lived in a computer-sharing situation (including right now), we've always just left the computer unlocked. Everyone uses the same login profile, including guests. But the truth is, there's plenty of benefits to separate logins for separate people—and it goes way further than privacy.
Everyone is going to have different preferences for the way they (and their roommates, S.O.s, spouses or kids) use their home tech. If you're set on the way your house uses their user profiles, leave a comment and let us know what you do and why it works.
But if (like us) you're toying with the idea going the way of the separate login, we've come up with some good reasons why you should (and we will):
- Settings customization. Separate logins means everyone can choose their own wallpaper and default browser, plus change settings like screen time out, brightness and warning sounds.
- Easy access to email and IMs. With a house full of people sharing one profile, you can't possibly stay logged in to your email client. With separate logins, everyone can keep their own email up and contact list open.
- Individual bookmarks. Rather than having to click through a mess of bookmarks to figure out if they're your roommate's favorite Lost blogs, just leave everyone to their own user profiles.
- Keep your history secret. Sure, if you're willing to share your login with your wife, you're probably not surfing AshleyMadison.com. But you might want to keep her from seeing "How to throw a surprise anniversary party" pop up in Google's autocomplete.
- Limited access for littler family members. With separate logins, you can limit the sites and programs that little ones have access to.
- A separate guest account. Be extra safe and let guests use an account that's limited to web browsing and IM. You can also set the guest profile to erase histories and cookies when they log off.
- You can still use a home server for shared docs. Separate logins doesn't mean you can't share anything. You can setup a shared file on your computer for everyone to see pictures from your last barbecue.