Troubleshooting Your Parent’s PC

Troubleshooting Your Parent’s PC

Your parents will need to embrace these philosophies if they are going to allow you to manage their computer remotely. .–PC Pitstop.

By Dave for

Inevitably, there will come a time in your life when you have to manage your parent’s computer remotely. There’s nothing more frustrating for both parties than trying to explain what to do over the phone. The best way to manage a parent’s computer remotely is to setup a remote desktop client and configure the computer so you can access it to perform updates and fix anything that goes wrong.

There are computing philosophies they will need to embrace to accomplish this:

1. They will no longer run as admins on their computer.
2. They are no longer going to use their ISPs email.
3. They are going to have to get into the habit of storing data in the cloud.

The main objective is to help keep your parent’s computer secure and running in your absence, and if that fails, be able to get the machine back to a known good state so they can resume using the PC.

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7 thoughts on “Troubleshooting Your Parent’s PC”

  1. Dave From PCTechBytes,

    I, for one, did not read any inference into your article suggesting that elderly users are in any way stupid or inferior, far from it. The truth of the matter is; many have joined the PC user fraternity late in life and, having not grown up with it, tend to struggle with the technology – and they are people who do not tend to visit tech related sites, whereas the more tech savvy elderly users do.

    I’m nearing 70 and an advanced user and I reckon most of your article is spot on. I would, however, tend to disagree on the simplicity of reimaging remotely and/or over the phone, specifically relating to disaster recovery – which is often the reason for reimaging.

    Of course, if the operating system won’t load, remote access is impossible.

    Also,considering the tone of your article suggests we are dealing with non tech savvy users, if boot preferences need to be altered via BIOS in order to boot the recovery media, this would be a tricky concept to get across to many over the phone.

    My parents have passed but I know for a fact that trying to explain how to change settings in BIOS over the phone would be nigh on mission impossible with the vast majority of my elderly clientele.

    I utilize a slightly different approach, which also encompasses disaster recovery. I urge all my clientele to maintain critical personal data on external media. I then create an image of the operating system in a known good state and keep that labeled accordingly and safely tucked away on my own external hard drive.

    Seems to work pretty well. Of course, there is often a fair bit of updating needs to be done after the reimaging but it’s a heck of a lot better than having to start all over again from scratch. Plus, provided the system remains in good working order, images can easily be added or updated from time to time.

    Cheers… Jim

  2. I totally 200% agree with the last “oldies” comments – as a 62 year old I too cut my teeth on 6502 chips [the for runner to the MAC 6510], machine and assembly code, MS-DOS, BASIC, computer memories of 12K, video as old B&W TVs and permanent memory of 5.25 90K floppy disks and yet I could do a lot with it – databasing, buble, sorts, etc, etc. – THAT was real computing and I have used and installed every Windows version written and still actively fix, built servers and write in VBA, VB.NET – Yes we invented the flaming things Bro!!!! and our bodies might be a little AGED but our brain AINT

  3. What some of you youngsters seem to forget is that computers have been around for a long time and therefore maybe your parents or even grandparents maybe the ones having to fix YOUR PC!! I'm 65 and cut my teeth on MS-DOS, machine code, assembler, etc. and have been programming since the late 1970's. It really bugs me (excuse the pun) when I see articles about helping the elderly to understand computers. We 'elderly people' INVENTED the dam things!!!

    1. Well said Dave, but while you were in your warm work place playing with computers, there were some underground digging coal to provide heat for your electricity to run your PC and keep you warm.

    2. @Dave March: What a ridiculous article! Patronizing in the extreme, dubious content…How does the author think his procedures are likely to help if the problem with the parent’s computer include inability to connect to the Internet?…

      It’s well known that an up to date verified disc image is a fine thing to have together with a method of accessing it, so that in the event of being unable to boot into Windows the system can be reimaged…….though it can be a tricky thing to do remotely using something like Team Viewer…

      I think Dave March summed things up well with his excellent response

      1. Dave From PCTechBytes


        Wow! As the author of this article I am shocked at the negative feedback.

        While I obviously hit a sore spot with the article, it was not my intention.

        I often get my article ideas from things in the news or from those people around me. I don’t sit around all day thinking of ways to alienate people.

        Recently, a friend of mine took a job in another state. He jokingly mentioned he wasn’t sure how his father was going to get by without him being around to help him with his computer. While his father certainly isn’t an idiot, computers just aren’t his thing. He’d become accustomed to doing things a certain way, but if he still wanted help from his son it was apparent he was going to have to change the way he used his computer.

        While many TechTalk readers have spent the last forty years building computers and scripting in VB.NET, many many many other people from that generation were not, I can assure you.

        And Swap, c’mon, reimaging a computer is quite trivial and can be done in a couple simple steps over TeamViewer or via the telephone provided the image has already been created. Sure, I suppose if the house was on fire and the Internet was down things can be a bit tricky. The concept of having a clean image ready to go isn’t such a bad thing, is it?

        So, this article wasn’t meant to be an attack on the elderly. It was meant to help those that needed it. That’s all.

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