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What steps can I take to make my grandparents PC idiot proof?

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Last response: in Windows 7
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December 23, 2012 2:16:44 PM

Hi and thanks for reading! Obviously there is no way to make it impossible for them to ruin it but I would like to make it difficult. I just built them a new pc using windows 7 pro as the OS and naturally they will be calling me everytime they break it.

There is only 1 hd in it and it looks like Windows backup tool will not let you use space on the same HD. Can I somehow reduce the partition size, make a new virtual drive out of the space, and save the restore info there?

What else can I do? I don't mess my computers up and I dont know what people do to always screw theirs up other than click "yes" to anything that pops up on the screen. Can you suggest any browser options for IE9? Automate updates for the Microsoft products. What about AVG antivirus, AVG Internet security, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, etc?

Are these restore points nearly perfect? Like if they do it twice a week will that eventually lead to a problem? If the partition method I listed above will not work or is a bad idea can I get a huge thumbdrive or do they need a 2nd SSD?


I really appreciate it!
a b $ Windows 7
December 23, 2012 2:22:34 PM

What are they doing on it exactly? If all they are doing is browsing the web, why not switch them to a Linux? My suggestion would either be Xubuntu or Linuxmint. That way, they can browse all day, and you won't have to worry about them breaking the software.
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a b $ Windows 7
December 23, 2012 2:26:22 PM

dan1331 said:
Hi and thanks for reading! Obviously there is no way to make it impossible for them to ruin it but I would like to make it difficult. I just built them a new pc using windows 7 pro as the OS and naturally they will be calling me everytime they break it.

There is only 1 hd in it and it looks like Windows backup tool will not let you use space on the same HD. Can I somehow reduce the partition size, make a new virtual drive out of the space, and save the restore info there?

What else can I do? I don't mess my computers up and I dont know what people do to always screw theirs up other than click "yes" to anything that pops up on the screen. Can you suggest any browser options for IE9? Automate updates for the Microsoft products. What about AVG antivirus, AVG Internet security, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, etc?

Are these restore points nearly perfect? Like if they do it twice a week will that eventually lead to a problem? If the partition method I listed above will not work or is a bad idea can I get a huge thumbdrive or do they need a 2nd SSD?


I really appreciate it!


As for making a backup of the system in its pristine state, there are tons of programs out there that will allow you to resize the main partition and create your own little "restore" partition that you can store an image on if you want. It may not work the same as other software does say from HP or DELL but it will be mighty close. Take a look HERE and see if anything tickles your fancy. You can also use n-lite (free by the way) to create a .iso file of your OS of choice and have all service packs slipstreamed and the such. It can be gotten HERE.

As for browser options, either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. You probably want to stay away from IE as the most recent versions have been found to have blackholes that lead to trouble.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a good choice and either AVG or Microsoft Security Essentials is good too. It just depends on how often they will be online or not.

You had asked if restore points are nearly perfect....the sad answer is no. They are based off of system changes usually and don;'t always work afterwards and can possibly make the issue worse.


Whew......Let me know if you need any more recommendations.

:pt1cable:  :pt1cable: 

EDIT: There fixed that mental brain fart! Sorry :p 
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a b $ Windows 7
December 23, 2012 2:27:18 PM

Start off with making the standard local account so that they won't be able to mess up system settings without administrator rights.
There's no need to buy secondary drive, you can repartition the one with Windows on it in Disk Management (right click Computer>Manage) by shrinking the C:\ partition and then making a new one with the unused space.
I don't know much about the 3rd party AV solutions out there apart that Avira is all the new rage since I've been using MSE, and now Windows Defende,r ever since it first came out and it never failed me, but then again I know what I'm doing on the internet.
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a c 395 $ Windows 7
December 23, 2012 2:31:22 PM

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, < Yes
AVG < No

Use mse for antivirus
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a b $ Windows 7
December 23, 2012 2:37:31 PM

SR-71 Blackbird said:
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, < Yes
AVG < No

Use mse for antivirus


I haven't used AVG in a few years so not sure how invasive it is anymore.
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a c 395 $ Windows 7
December 23, 2012 2:42:29 PM

Not as good as it once was.Use MSE and Malwarebytes.
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a c 395 $ Windows 7
December 23, 2012 2:44:09 PM

I would have them use Firefox with the addon ADblock plus.
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a c 243 $ Windows 7
December 23, 2012 2:53:59 PM

+100 on MSE, Malwarebytes, FF+Adblock Plus, and using a local account. You should also consider setting up secure remote access so you can log in and fix stuff from affair.

Make sure you have an account on the system that you can use to get into the system (whether local or remote) to get on it as needed (and when they lock themselves out - been there, done that with my father-in-law).
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a b $ Windows 7
December 23, 2012 3:55:22 PM

and for replacing system restore... you can use deep freeze to make the system unchangable and cannot be messed up by anyone except yourself
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December 24, 2012 5:49:45 AM

Thanks to everyone!!! I did everything you said except the more advanced imaging options!
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December 24, 2012 5:50:27 AM

Best answer selected by dan1331.
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