Helping Your Parents Personalize Their PC

By Pamela Portin

I recently helped my mom choose a new PC and set it up for her. Once your parents have set up their PC, there are lots of features in Windows that can help make their PC easier to see, hear, and use. Taking a few minutes to help your parents customize their PC will help make their PC just right for them.

photo of couple looking at a laptop computer You can get started by providing an introduction to computers and explaining the basic parts of a computer if your parents are new to computers.

There are many features that can help make the computer more comfortable by simply adjusting font sizes, sounds, screen colors, and other settings. Help your parents look forward to using their PC and enjoying time spent computing and online.

Here are a few ideas to consider when helping your parents set-up their new PC.

Turning the Power On and Off

Let your mom or dad turn on their PC—push the power button on for the first time—helping to make the machine a new friend. As you set up the PC, walk through the welcome screens, connect the PC to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and set-up their email accounts. Also, explain to your parents the importance of turning off their computer properly.

Share in the delight as the monitor comes alive with colorful icons. Have your parents curl their hands around the mouse, let their fingertips play on the keyboard. Help your parents feel comfortable sitting in front of their new computer set-up. Help them choose a comfortable chair and pleasant surroundings.

Personalizing Their Computer

cartoon of a man so close to computer screen his nose pokes through the other side Now that you've completed the initial set-up of your parent's PC, it's time to choose settings and features to personalize it for them. In the Windows Control Panel there are a variety of settings available to help make your parents PC more comfortable and easier for them to see, hear, and use. Windows lets you personalize your PC in a variety of ways, such as changing colors, sounds, desktop background, and font size.

You'll also want to show your parents how to make webpages on the Internet display in larger text. In Internet Explorer, you can select Page on the top right side, select Zoom, and then select Text Size to help make viewing webpages on the Internet even easier and more comfortable

Leave Behind Printed Instructions

You may want to leave behind some printed instructions for your parents to review later. And, plan to serve as a friendly technical support person. Over time, your parents might be asking you for suggestions of websites to visit, puzzles to try, and articles to read.

Share the Excitement

Encourage your parents to use their PC to communicate with you, their grandkids, and other family and friends; play games online; and research where they want to take their next trip. Encourage them to create photo albums and videos and share them. My mom now shares with me websites that she has discovered, and loves getting photos from her grandkids taken on their mobile phones. Enjoy sharing the excitement as your parents discover the fun and wonder of using their PC and the Internet as a part of their everyday lives.


photo of Pam PortinPamela Portin is an aging computer user who loves using technology. When she is not texting, emailing, networking, mapping, Internet surfing, downloading music and movies, and talking on her mobile phone, she is helping fellow aging computer users enjoy technology easily and safely. If you've recently bought and set up a PC for your parents, let Pamela know what worked well for your parents, so we can share it with our readers.