Home Computer Help & Tech Support Topics

This material is archived primarily from Email tips distributed to my own home computer friends here in Ocala, dated 2015-2017. Updates to this material are scheduled for CY 2018.

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Getting Passwords Organized

Getting Passwords Organized – Keeping It Simple

Following are some guidelines that might be helpful if you're working on getting things better organized in your workspace and on your computer.

One of the most important types of information to keep well organized is your password, PIN and security Q/A data. Keeping good track of your passwords is one of the best practices you can employ as a computer and internet user.

There is no single "right way" to keep track of your passwords. How you do it depends a lot on your personal work style and computer skills level. If you have a system in place, I generally say "stick with what works for you". Some of us keep lists in a notebook or in a computer file. Some of us rely on our computers to remember passwords, but keeping a separate list still is a good idea. Even sticky-notes or work-area labels can work if your home is secure, but little pieces of paper have a way of getting lost.

There are many computer software programs - including the "premium" versions of popular security software programs - that offer to keep track of such information. Personally I don't rely on them, but I know PC users in the area who’ve got a favorite app for password management.

If keeping track of passwords is becoming a burden, these are the general guidelines I suggest:

First, gather what password notes you already have, and get set to START A FRESH LIST

- Write down your primary passwords - for example, your password or PIN for logging into your computer, and your email password(s).

- Write down the other websites you access with passwords - for example, Facebook, golf club website, financial or shopping sites.

There are many handy "template" layouts available online to help making your list. For example, click on the following link - http://www.simpleorganizedliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Email-and-Internet.jpg - and you can download and print a good sample layout for this purpose.

Second, IDENTIFY which online web accounts for which you may have lost or forgotten the password

Recovering or resetting a password will involved either

- Contacting the company involved by phone - If you need a tech helper or spouse or offspring to help with this due to hearing problems, by all means do so;


- Going to the website online then clicking on the "Forgot Password" link (available on most Sign-In pages) then following the instructions or prompts that follow.

Usually your main email address (whichever email address you most frequently use) is the contact point for resetting a password.

(Many websites nowadays also allow you to your password to a phone number for resetting by phone call or text message. This can be a very convenient feature if you ever need to recover or reset your password from a new device or location.)

(Many websites nowadays also allow you to use an Alternate Email address, to reset passwords or to confirm changes in your account. This can be very helpful in unforeseen circumstances also.)

Third, WRITE down on paper any new password or security question & answer that you set up. Write it down before typing it in online.

If your screen tells you to add caps, numerals or special characters, write down the modified password first before clicking online to submit it.

Fourth, use HELP and SETTINGS if you want the convenience of having your computer or browser remember certain passwords for you.

Computer SETTINGS and OPTIONS for this purpose vary widely depending on your system and setup.

If you are using Windows 10, you can use the Web Credentials feature if you're using a passworded ID to log into Windows. Most other computers rely upon the browser software to remember passwords.

Continue to keep your main passwords list (computer file or hardcopy) up-to-date, in case the computer OS ever gets corrupted.

Fifth, draft whatever EMERGENCY instructions necessary for your spouse or primary helper.

This is a whole topic in itself, but suffice to say it's wise to jot down instructions in advance for the person most likely to be helping you with your email or computer stuff - before you're actually in a pickle. Make sure in advance that they have the information or instructions so they can help you with password-controlled access to your computer or websites in the event of unforeseen circumstances.