Privacy is probably the number one reason why you may not want others to access your computer. It does not really matter if you want to protect your browsing history, financial documents, photos that you have taken or a book you are writing on.
Sometimes, others may want to access your computer, for instance to look something up, do something of importance (that eBay auction is running for just a couple more minutes), or simply show you something.
If you hand over the keyboard or device as is, chance is that part of your browsing history or files on your computer are exposed to that user.
Browsers suggest sites based on the browsing history and bookmarks for example and it can happen that sites are revealed to the other person that you don't want revealed.
If you value your privacy, you may find the following suggestions useful instead:
1. Different account on the computer
Probably the best option of them all is to have a different user profile ready for these cases. This can be a guest profile that you have created in the past that others can use if they need to use your computer. While it means that you have to switch to the profile whenever that happens, it is the only option that blocks full access to your own profile.
If you are using Windows do the following to add a new account:
2. Different web browser
Most of the time, it is a web browser that others want to use. You have a couple of options in this regard as well and one of the options is to use a different browser that you don't use normally.
If you have a browser available for situations like these, you can easily run it side by side with your main browser and let the guest use that browser for all Internet activities.
You can download a portable browser and use it side by side with the one you use by default. Most browsers, with the exception of Internet Explorer, are available as a portable versions as well. Pale Moon is available as a portable version for example.
3. Use the same browser
If you don't have another browser that others can use, you may still be able to provide them with a browser that cannot access your browsing data.
It is possible to start a private browsing window for example in all modern browsers. The window runs independent from the core browser which means that it does not have access to bookmarks or the browsing history.
Guests benefit from this as well as most data gets deleted automatically on exit.
Another possibility is to create a second browser profile for this situation. Chrome and Firefox support the functionality with Chrome even shipping with a guest browsing mode designed for situations like this.
4. Say No
You may not win a popularity contest but you could always say no instead of allowing another user access to your computer.
Now You: How do you handle this?
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