How to Configure Your Home PC While Sharing It with Family Members

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Almost all personal computers used at home are shared among family members and are maintained or administered by a single person in the house. If you're one of the administrators, at times, you may have felt the need to configure your home PC in a much more different way then you do it now. This includes restricted access for different family members and their ability to access different drives or folders. Today, we're going to discuss about some of the common settings that must be configured to help you share your home PC in a much more secure and efficient way with other family members. All the tips mentioned here are quite easy to follow, especially if you're using one of the modern operating systems. Depending on your exact requirements you can further extend or customize these steps to get a comfortable home PC sharing environment.

Create Separate Account for Each Family Member

One of the common mistakes while allowing family members to use a home PC is to give them a common administrator's account. This invites more trouble than making things secure and normal. The first thing that you need to do is to create a separate account for each of the family member who's going to use the home PC. Make sure, you create normal user accounts devoid of administrative privilege. Use their first or last names as their user ids and make sure you make their passwords expire every quarter for added security. This will prompt them to change their passwords after each expiry date keeping their accounts secure. You must also provide an avatar or profile photo to each family member account. This adds more personalization to the account and the account holders find it more appealing.

Restrict Application Access While Installing It

Whenever we install an application on a PC with multiple accounts, it always prompts us for accessibly related to that application. In simple words, the application asks you whether you want the application's availability within all user accounts or you want it only for the administrator. This is where you must decide whether you want it just for an administrator account or you want to allow all the users to access that application. For example, whenever I install a specific application (for exp: WAMP stack or a code editor), I keep it restricted to administrator's account as my other family members do not need these applications. This way, even if the application is installed on the PC, my family members have no idea of its existence within their user accounts.

Create Separate Folder or Virtual Drives for Each Account

This is one of the most important configurations that must be done to allocate separate disk space for each of your family members. You must allocate it in such a way that no one except the account holder can access his own virtual drive or folder. Here's how you can make encrypted virtual drives on a Windows machine. Once created, you can set user access permissions on it to make it accessible only for one of the accounts. Similarly, you can make shared folders and can assign permissions for them so that each family member can access their respective folders. This way you can divide your disk space in a secure way such that all the family members can enjoy their own private storage space without any kind of restriction.

Disable Software Installation Privilege for Normal Accounts

One of the reasons an ordinary home PC is prone to viruses and malicious code is unrestricted application installation privilege enjoyed by all the family members of the house. Even if you create separate user account for each family member, these normal accounts can install select applications without any restriction. To avoid this insecure environment, you must remove application installation privilege from each account created for your family members. This will ensure that all the applications installed on your PC goes through a thorough check for its usability and relevance. You must also scan an application through security software before installing it.

Use Parental Control Software for Kids' Accounts

Every house has teenagers and kids who regularly use home PC both for entertainment and knowledge. But tons of explicit content on internet makes it necessary that all the accounts created for your kids must have good parental control software activated. There are dozens of such kind of software available on the internet. Majority of these software applications are free and provide strong content filtering features to safeguard your kids. You must install one of these security software systems for kids to keep your children immune from online threats. Remember, this parental control software is in addition to the regular antivirus solution and firewall on your system.

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