How can I prevent someone from installing random stuff?

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My nonagenarian father loves his Windows 7, 64-bit computer. As he slows down and finds it harder to get out and about, his PC and its connectivity are  his portal to the larger world. The problem is that he’s tempted by every pop-up and/or free application he encounters especially for those that promise to speed up his machine, repair his registry, electrify your internet connection and dramatically improve your system’s performance, so not only is his hard drive full of crapware, but I worry about the security threats that his curiosity invites on to his machine.

I visit him frequently and we spend a lot of time cleaning out these programs. But sure enough, he’s reinstalled the same programs between visits. I’ve lectured him but these explanations have about as much impact on him as his lectures did on me 50-odd years ago. Now, I suppose I could lock down user account control so that he couldn’t install anything, but I think that would be an unacceptable affront to his explorations and his dignity. So, do you have any potential solutions? Ideally, I’d like to remotely manage his system so that he can explore the net and software and I can learn of and correct his frequent misadventures.

I love hearing about people in your father’s situation who have discovered the ways that the internet and technology can open their world. That he’s in his nineties is just awesome.

That being said, I can certainly understand that a little restraint on his part might be appreciated. Let’s talk about some ideas.

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Why Is My Machine Slowing Down?

Slow machines represent one of the largest sources of questions to Ask Leo!

Perhaps when you purchased it, your computer ran like a champ and quickly did everything you needed. Now … well, not so much. Perhaps it takes forever to boot. Or starting applications is slower than molasses. Or maybe the machine just acts sluggish when you try to use it for just about anything.

Regardless of the specifics, the underlying theme is simple: it’s slow.

There are many, many reasons that a machine could slow down.

I’ll list a few of the most common reasons here, along with some advice on what steps to take.

Read moreWhy Is My Machine Slowing Down?