• Windows 7 has an option to demand a password on each wakeup
  • Mac has delayed computer lock options
  • Registry editors and cleaners can interfere with software

Question: The computer keeps shutting down on me when I leave it alone for a minute. How do I fix that?

Answer. This question came from a relative I recently visited, which allowed me to see the problem firsthand — and re-learn two useful lessons.

One is that in computing, we don’t all speak the same language. The laptop in question wasn’t shutting down, but it was locking the screen and displaying the login-and-password prompt that you would get at the end of each startup sequence.

If you’re laughing at the silly person who doesn’t know the difference between bootup, wakeup and shutdown — please stop. Everyday users employ non-approved vocabulary for computing all the time, and effective tech support has to take account of that and figure out what people actually have in mind–being my extended family’s primary source of computing help has pounded that lesson home.