Have you ever lent your laptop to a friend or one of your children and then worried that they might open some of your personal documents, browse your web links or worse, remove an application or otherwise damage your Windows setup?

There is a way you can loan your laptop to others for shorter periods of time secure in the knowledge that no damage can be done to your PC and none of your personal files rummaged through. Guest mode creates a temporary profile that won’t let a user tinker with any of your files, folders and applications. And better still the account is wiped clean when the user logs out.

The Guest Mode gives access to applications and internet like a normal account does, but the user won't be able to make any changes to the system or mess things up like your bookmarks and settings.

When the guest logs out anything they have done will be removed from the hard disk so documents created must be saved to something like a USB flash memory stick or emailed to ensure that any work isn't lost.

It's easy to set up Guest Mode in Windows 7. Go to Control Panel > User Accounts >Manage another account. Click on the guest account and then, in the next window Turn On. To log in to the guest account simply go to Start and click on the arrow next to Shut down and select Switch user. Click on the Guest account to launch.

The guest user account is limited, but not so much that the PC is hobbled. It's a great balance of usability and security. To your guest the account will perform just like a normal Windows computer and you don’t risk any of your documents or settings. 

Visit the Dell Tech Zone for more advice on family computing.