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Guide to setting up a computer for Grandma & Grandpa

Updated on December 30, 2010

Putting together a computer for my Grandparents

I'm a bit of a nerd and have always loved computers. In this guide, I point out the important steps in putting together a computer for an older person. Many grandparents want to use a computer, whether it is to download music for their MP3 player, play some games, write email, surf the web, or just about anything else.

Since no Grandparent is the same, the key is to think about what interest your Grandpa or Grandma enjoys and how they can use the computer for that.

Although this guide is tailored to grandparents, most of these steps could be followed to set up a computer for any first time computer user or beginner. I've set up computers for my parents and mother-in-law as well.

(Photo Credit: Thank you wordcat57 for this image.)

Let's take a vote - tell me about your grandparents, parents, or in-laws

Do the older people in your family use the computer? (Count them if they are over 70 years old)

See results

Hints on Setting up a Computer for Grandma and Grandpa

get it ready for them

Setting up an older computer is OK, but try to at least get one running Windows XP or newer for the most compatibility. You might have an older computer sitting around the house that you can already use, or you can buy a complete used one on ebay for under $200, or a brand spanking new one for under $500. See some suggestions below.

My To-Do List

-- Increase the font size and icon size to make the screen easier to see

(Instructions for Windows XP, Windows 7, and Internet Explorer.)

-- Install games and programs, and put shortcuts on the desktop

-- Put a family picture or other beautiful picture on the desktop

-- Set up a fun screensaver

Using the Computer is a Fun Family Activity!

Using the Computer is a Fun Family Activity!
Using the Computer is a Fun Family Activity!
Email Me Button
Email Me Button

Email for Grandma & Grandpa

They will love staying in touch!

To get your grandparent started with email, I recommend that you help them set up a free email account. I would try Yahoo Mail or Google Mail.

Once you have the account set up, sign in, and hopefully your browser will ask if you want to save the password. If you say Yes, then they won't have to remember the password! The other option is to write it down for them.

You can also put a shortcut onto the desktop that goes directly to the email website.

Netbook for Grandma and Grandpa - if they are going to be mostly using email and surfing the internet, a netbook might be the most affordable option

Change this reality by getting them some more games!!

Change this reality by getting them some more games!!
Change this reality by getting them some more games!!

Make things look bigger on their computer

Increase font size, icon size, and customize colors and settings for greatest accessibility.

Here's some instructions for Windows XP, Windows 7, and Internet Explorer.

I'd love to hear from everyone who visits.

Tell me about how your grandparents use the computer - or just say hi!

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      @anonymous: No, you would NOT want a server edition. You need to disable automatic updates, and then you can just update it for her every once and a while. just google it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Grandma is 95. Her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are scattered around the country. Skype is the ONLY thing she wants to do with a computer, and really the only thing she COULD do. The problem is setting a computer up so that Skype is the ONLY desktop icon she has to deal with. But Windows XX always pops up WARNINGS in the tray and/or security updates she can't read or respond to. Do I have to buy/install a "server edition" to get a system that just runs 24/7?? (Maybe that's the answer, but it's an expensive one...)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm deighted to find this Lens, I'm adding a link to it on my Computers for Seniors Lens, perfect! Thank you for sharing!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I would love to get my Mom online, but she's afraid on computers. She does visit some of my lenses though when she's at my sister's visiting, with her daughter

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 

      8 years ago

      Great idea for grandparents- it's something I suggested when my grandfather was in a care home.

    • rwoman profile image


      8 years ago

      Oh dear, my parents do OK (perhaps because they are under 70) but my in-laws make us crazy because they don't know how to do anything and frequently get themselves into trouble.


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