April 21, 2006

Your Computer and Your Untimely Demise

Filed under: Uncategorized — Brian @ 7:26 pm

A lesson to share, from recent experience:

Write your passwords down. I know everyone tells you never to do that, but do it. Put the sheet of paper where someone you love will find it if you go belly-up without warning. Better yet, tell them where to find it ahead of time. Mail them a letter to open upon your death. All it needs to say is, “look inside the pair of green socks in my dresser,” and put a list of your usernames and passwords there. That way you can keep it updated without bothering anyone.

We’re having trouble getting into Dave’s computer. The workaround I found to erase the password appears not to be working. And if it does, it will also erase any saved website passwords – not an issue with Dave, who wouldn’t have used such a feature – but maybe you do.

If the people you leave behind can access your account and banking records through your web browser, they can pay bills and cancel services quickly and easily, under the authority of your username. If they have to call someone or write a letter, they either have to risk fraud charges by lying about who they are, or jump through legal hoops – or wait for the courts to get involved – before they can start cleaning up your finances.

If they have to break into your computer, it’s harder than if they don’t.

Dave’s got another friend – well, several – local to him and his parents, and they’ll be trying more things this weekend. I’m sure it’ll work out fine with his stuff. But not everyone has multiple computer expert friends all itching to help out.

Write down your passwords. Make sure someone knows where to find them and has authority to go there to get them.



  1. Good advice. I think about this from time to time, because I not only keep track of my own passwords, but those for almost a hundred clients, most of whom don’t know or care how their websites are accessed for maintenance purposes. I’ve got all those passwords (and usernames) entered into an app built for that purpose (Passwords Plus, to be exact) and need only provide someone with the master password in order to open it for access for everything else.

    Uh…now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I’ve never done that. Hmm…

    Comment by Eric — April 22, 2006 @ 5:18 pm

  2. Yeah, I haven’t done it either…

    But I do think it’s a very good idea. It’s actually on the list of things to do, for real, now.

    Comment by Brian — April 23, 2006 @ 7:29 pm

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