Do you mind when a guest asks to use your computer?

It seems to me that it’s becoming increasingly common for guests at our home to ask to use one of our computers to check their email and such.

My wife is somewhat territorial about her computer, since she uses it extensively for work (she works from home) and generally has multiple active processes running on it at all hours. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me for her to not want someone else poking around on it.

On the other hand, I don’t really mind so much, since I don’t do a lot of work on my computer and it’s a trivial matter to log someone in under the Guest ID, which pretty much disallows access to everything important and doesn’t let them save any files to the computer.

However, when one guest uses my computer, and then passes it off to another guest to use without asking me first, I get annoyed. It’s not as if I wouldn’t have allowed the second guest to use it if they’d asked, but I guess I feel that that kind of behavior is presumptuous, at the least.

Am I being unreasonable? How do you folks feel about letting your guests use your computer(s)?

Yes! My computer is an extension of my brain, and It feels a bit like letting someone have a root around in my brain.

And since my actual brain is so dis-organised and not very good at remembering - the computer serves as a substitute for both.

I don’t mind at all, I’m sort of proud of my pron collection. :wink:

I don’t mind at all, unless I’m currently working on something on the computer. I wouldn’t mind if guest 1 passed the computer off to guest 2, either. But I’m trying this new thing where before I get annoyed about something someone else does in my house, I ask myself whether it really makes a difference or if I just want to get my own way. Since 99% of the time, I just want to get my own way, I rarely get annoyed now. :slight_smile:

I find the best thing is to have separate password protected user accounts and a Guest account. That way I don’t have to worry about people poking around where they don’t belong or even moving my icons around.

We have a guest computer for these situations.

Yep, that’s why I enabled the guest account. When the guest logs out, the whole account gets erased and reset.

Of course, the last guest I had used a personal laptop on my local wireless network. I think that borrowing the use of wireless networks might be more common in some circles.

I had this come up at my family party this holiday:

Guest 1 - No power at his house, had to get online to register something for his work. No problem - logged him in - business done

Guest 2 - Creepy niece - 19 yrs old - Asked if she could check her email - said okay, but due to power blinking, computer was off - Used this as handy excuse to revoke my permission.

I have two problems with this:

a) I don’t like people poking around in my computer. These are people I generally trust, but all of my personal info is on there. And, I’d go crazy if someone were to accidentally download a virus or even move my desktop icons around.

b) If someone is staying with me, then it’s more in the realm of everyday life. If it is at a social gathering, I find it very rude, because it is an activity designed to cut them off from the party. I feel the same way about television.

A bit, but I have a guest account set up if need be.

I want guests to feel at home. I have a computer (and a TV and a DVD player) in the guest room. Guests are free to go online whenever they like. I don’t have ‘sensitive’ information on it (e.g., I don’t use email on it), so I’ve no worries about anyone ‘getting into my stuff’. (Not that my friends would anyway.) Sure, it’s a 2001 iMac running on a 450 MHz processor, but it’s reasonably fast for the Internet with its wireless high-speed access.

It depends on who wants to use it, and why. If I know and trust the person, that’s fine. If I don’t know them or don’t trust them, I won’t let them. (I’ve had total strangers walk up to me in public places asking if they can borrow my computer to “check their e-mail”. Um, no. I don’t want viruses, and I don’t want your personal information in my browser cache.)

Likewise, if I’m busy, I’ll let the person use it just long enough to check their e-mail. If I’m not, I don’t care.

Ultimately, it just comes down to the fact that it’s my computer and I can set the rules for who uses it and under what conditions.


I do mind. My computer is obsolete and slow (yay secondhand technology) and so if I leave the guest account activated, it slows to a crawl and crashes frequently.

I’ll still say it’s okay because I know most of my friends don’t care and I don’t want to get into why I care. If I have sufficient warning, I’ll enable the guest account and it’s no problem. Otherwise I start up internet explorer (all my stuff- bookmarks, passwords, frequently visited sites- is on firefox and IE is mostly blank.) and hover obnoxiously to make sure they’re really playing on facebook and not rifling through my pictures or bookmarks or anything.

I do have a little personal/sensitive type stuff on my computer, but more than that I’m just kind of territorial about my things (comes from having too many little sisters, I guess) and, like Lobsang, my computer is like my brain, so it’s more “mine” than, say, my jeans or my copy of Peter Pan.

It’s also by far the nicest, most expensive thing I own and I take very good care of it and don’t want anyone messing it up. Shortly after I got it, I let my mom use it (I bought it, by the way, so it’s well and truly mine and I was being very nice by letting my mom play with it) and she crashed it so hard I lost everything and had to start from scratch. I’m not making that mistake again.

Not only do i not mind, when we have guests one of the things i tell them up front is that my computer is on, and that they should feel free to check their email or play on the internet whenever they want.

Our house guests generally consist of family or close friends, and i can’t think of a single person who has stayed at our place who i wouldn’t trust on my computer.

That’s just weird. I can’t imagine a situation where i would ask a total stranger if i could use their computer. I spend most of my life in cities, and if i need an internet connection that badly when i’m away from home, i’ll find an internet cafe.

Some (Italian?) dude borrowed my laptop in a waiting room once and sold like 10,000 shares of Apple.

Did you ask for a broker’s fee?

We don’t really have Internet cafes here; the closest place with terminals is the public library. There are several hotspots in places like Panera that I like to use, and that’s where this happened. It’s happened enough that I just explain that I don’t want to be responsible for their personal information that winds up in the browser cache or cookies, and that seems to work.

If I win the lottery, I’d love to open an Internet cafe with space for gaming.


I should have, didn’t realize he was loaded! He had a laptop but couldn’t get onto the hospital network, I had a Sprint Data card in my laptop.

I don’t mind if I know the person. Thinking about it, I have one or two friends whom I’d only allow if I set up a guest account because they’re not protective of others’ things, but everyone else would ask before downloading anything, and none of them would want to use the computer as an activity (as compared to checking e-mail or looking something up). I would not let a stranger use my computer for the reasons others have given and because I don’t want someone to run of with it.

I’ll let them use my games PC, but not my workstation.

I generally point people to my kid’s ancient laptop, as it’s pretty much a spare. I also have a netbook downstairs people can use.

I don’t mind people looking at my personal computer when I’m in the room, but I have a guest account that I activate when I’m going to leave people unattended with my personal machine. I did that when I had Thanksgiving at my house, as I preferred my teenage cousins didn’t go through my porn or bookmarks and stuff.