Did your IT-inexperienced parents or grandparents get themselves a Windows or a Mac computer with Internet access (for Christmas) to make their life easier and more exciting? At last, you might think. But then you, the IT-savvy child, have to deal with exhausting IT support tasks for your family, which the parents or grandparents will surely soon demand from you. Because PC problems, unknown error messages, 404 messages on websites and other pitfalls of everyday computer use are known to lurk behind every mouse click. For you, they are an easy fix. But for your parents coping with these tasks requires a lot of research.
In this blog post, we’ll share six things you should definitely take care of during your first family IT support session.
1. Create a Backup on Each Family IT Support Visit
If you use your PC regularly, you already know this. The crucial question is not “IF” you are exposed to dangers from system crashes, viruses or other defects that could cause data loss. The crucial question is “WHEN” it will happen and “HOW” you will be prepared when you need to restore all your files. Remember that as hard drives age, the risk of a hardware failure often increases significantly.
Therefore, we recommend that when you’re providing IT support for the family, back up all their data on a regular basis. You should not only create the backup but also show your parents/grandparents how they can do it themselves. After all, if there is a lot of data, a backup can take up to several hours.
2. Uninstall Unnecessary Programs
No matter if your parents got a new or a used computer – you can be sure that there are a lot of programs on their PC that they don’t need at all. With used computers, there might be software installed by the previous owner. With newly purchased PCs, it is usually time-limited trial versions and partner software (also called crapware or bloatware). Often, these programs greatly affect the speed and performance of the PC. Besides, who wants to have pre-installed programs that ask to buy a full version after a short time. Also, some of these programs could pose a security risk.
Therefore, we recommend that you show your parent/grandparent every installed program and uninstall all the programs they don’t need. You can take care of uninstalling trial versions in a single support visit to the family.
3. Organize Antivirus Software
Often, new PCs already come with antivirus scanners, even if they are trial versions limited to one year or three months. This means you have a generous amount of time to look around for a good deal on antivirus software. Most of the time, you can get them much cheaper online than in retail stores.
We offer discounted antivirus software to our customers from time to time, which are excellent for taking care of family PCs. Just sign up for our newsletter and we’ll keep you up to date.
Our tip: there are antivirus software providers that protect not only your own PC, but also all devices (PC, smartphone, tablet and Mac) in the household. This is a great option for families. If you already use such software, remove the pre-installed (time-limited) antivirus from your parents’/grandparents’ new PC and extend your antivirus protection and support accordingly. This will save you a few dollars, too!
4. Disable Snooping Settings
Are your parents / grandparents using Windows 10? Then you should take care of all snooping and spying presets during your first IT support visit to the family. These settings hide in numerous places on the system and allow Microsoft to transfer different data to the US servers in Redmond at regular intervals. There, the data and user behavior are analyzed and prepared for advertising.
The browsers and other programs also collect data and spy on the user diligently. We found over 80 of these annoying and sometimes very brazen spying settings. Many of them in Windows, Cortana and the Edge and Explorer browsers alone. You should deactivate as many of these settings as possible during your family IT support visit.
5. Set Up an Email Address for Your Parents
Nowadays, an e-mail address is just as important as a real address for surfing the web and visiting websites. Whether for shopping or for social media, many services on the Internet cannot be used without e-mail. If one day your parents/grandparents get smartphones thanks to your support, an e-mail account (at Googel for Android, for example) is a must.
6. Install TeamViewer or Other Remote Support Software for Future Use
Remote maintenance software can be a great help. Once installed on your parents’ / grandparents’ computer, it can help children to quickly and easily check their PC if needed and fix common problems remotely. You’ll even be able to do it on the go from smartphone or tablet. Phone calls or a house visit to your parents / grandparents, just to get rid of a small error message, will no longer be necessary.
You can read about the requirements for remote maintenance software and why we recommend TeamViewer in this blog post.