Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

11 May 2007, 9:11 a.m.

Free Mother's Day Copilot, and IE7/Vista Ponderings

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2007 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

My boss has decided that on Mother's and Father's Days, Fog Creek Copilot shall be free! Free for all! he waved his scepter. It's an easy-to-use desktop sharing tool that Fog Creek developed to make customer support easier. When I was doing tech support it was a boon. I can only imagine how much of a relief it is for the geeks who constantly have to help friends and family.

Joel suggests that you take this opportunity to kill the malware and toolbar crud and install Firefox. (Yes, just as most computer users use Windows, most parents use Windows.) An old Lifehacker guide says you should also install a firewall, do a Windows Update, uninstall unnecessary programs, and run a defrag. Another holiday guide reminds us to do backups and organize files.

Those are old, pre-Vista, pre-IE7 guides. And lots of help-needing parents must be using one or both of those. For a while it was impossible to get a new Dell computer without Vista on it (they've retreated because of customer demand, so now you can get Windows XP again), so surely a few have to remotely support relatives on Vista. I waited several months after IE7's October 2006 release, and got the "yeah, it's safe to upgrade now" nod several weeks ago when I sought it from the Fog Creek systems administrator.

I've sought a checklist of "here's how you harden Vista and/or IE7 and make them easy for neophytes to use," and haven't found it. Is it possible for such an animal to exist?