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Your questions answered


How can I back up my files?

  • If your laptop breaks or gets stolen you might lose any documents, pictures or music files you have collected.
  • So that doesn’t happen, you will need to “backup” your files
  • School work – you can backup your school work by emailing it to your school email address and then saving a copy of your work onto your network area at school.
  • Pictures / Music / Other documents – you will need to copy these to a safe place
    • You can sign up for free online storage here very easily and that will give you a lot of free space to keep your files safe (make sure you sign up for the free space not the space you have to pay for!). Try to remember to copy your files there at least once a month for safekeeping.
    • Or you can copy your files to a memory stick and keep that somewhere safe.

How can I make a good password?

  • A good password should be easy to remember but must be difficult to guess:
  • Do not use your surname or any of your other names as a password.
  • Do not use the names of your boy or girlfriend, relative, dog, cat, budgie...
A good password could:
  • Be more than one word joined by punctuation (eg book+mug or cat!dog).
  • Use the initial letters of a memorable phrase.
  • Use numbers instead of some letters so all the ‘o’s could be zeros, and all the ‘L’s could be ones (1)  etc.  
  • Do not write your password down.
  • Do not tell anyone your password – except to your Carer or Case worker if they ask you.

How should I use my email address online

  • If you post your email address on a website, then strangers can copy it and contact you.
  • And you might get sent lots of spam (rubbish emails)
Here are some tips for staying safe with your email address online
  • Disguise your email address when you post
    eg “rob [at] gmail [dot] com” (instead of
    - this stops spammers copying your address
  • Use different free email addresses for different things
    • So your friends email you at but online you use another address like – and only give your personal email to your friends.

I am worried about a dodgy website or inappropriate online activity, who do we tell- and when?

You can report abuse online to CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection), a police team who specialise in investigating what happens online. Follow the instructions on the screen to make a report. You should report something if you have any concerns at all – better to be safe!

You can also visit

How can I prevent access to inappropriate sites?

The laptops come with “filtering” software included, this should prevent access to sites with inappropriate content such as gambling, adult content etc. You should also talk to the young person in your care and ask them to show you what they have been looking at. It will also help to keep an eye on when and where the laptops are being used, for example, only in a family area of the home.


Computer Viruses

Always use anti-virus software and make sure it regularly updates itself so that you are protected from viruses.

What is a virus?

A virus is a piece of computer code that can harm your computer or someone elses.   It is spread very easily over the internet, just like catching a real virus.

Where do you ‘catch’ them from?

By visiting an infected website (usually a dodgy one) or by opening an infected email.

How do I know if I have one?

  • Your antivirus software may give a warning
  • Your machine may start to behave strangely

What do I do?

  • Follow the instructions on your antivirus software
  • Ask a grown-up for help.

How can I stay safe?

  • Don’t visit dodgy websites – stick to the names you know – it is unlikely that a well known website would infect you.
  • Pay attention to any warnings that your antivirus software gives you
  • Don’t open any emails that have strange attachments, or come from someone you don’t know,
  • Only download music from legal download sites (MSN, iTunes, Napster etc)  – the illegal ones are more likely to give you a virus as well as that tune you were after!

I heard about a virus on the internet. Should I tell anyone or do anything?  

The laptops are installed with three years of anti-virus software. This updates automatically when the computer is online but not in use (sometimes you may need to “accept an update” when prompted). This should protect the laptop from any damage from viruses.



How do I set the laptop up?

The laptop comes with all software pre-installed. All you need to do it take it out of the box, plug it in and turn it on. If you have any problems, you should phone the helpline on 0871 2920150 (Mon-Fri 08:00-21:00; Sat-Sun 09:00-18:00).

The leaflet mentions that you may ask for the laptop back. Why?

Normally, this will be for essential maintenance and upgrades. You will also be told why we want to take the laptops back, and approximately how long before they will be returned. There may be rare occasions when they are taken away for other reasons, such as evidence of illegal activities. They will not be taken away if the young person is no longer deemed to be a child in care.

The lifespan of the laptop is deemed to be three years. What happens to the laptop after three years?

It is very unlikely that we will ever ask for the laptop back, except in cases of mis-use or where we need to make essential upgrades or repairs.

Can laptops be personalised?

Yes, if you want to. Note that if your laptop is called back for service or repair, you may not get the same laptop back though.


Insurance and Accidental Damage

What happens if the laptop is deliberately damaged?

The laptop is only covered for accidental damage. If it is deliberately damaged it will not be replaced.

For more information see the Terms and Conditions. Download Acrobat Reader to view this PDF 27kb

Who will pay for a new laptop if the laptop is stolen or accidentally damaged?

If the laptop is stolen or accidentally damaged, you will need to call the helpline 0871 2920150 (Mon-Fri 08:00-21:00; Sat-Sun 09:00-18:00) within 14 days and they will tell you what to do next. A new laptop can be issued in case of loss or damage, but this will only happen once.

For more information see the Terms and Conditions. Download Acrobat Reader to view this PDF 27kb

What can we do to keep the laptop safe?

The best advice is to exercise common sense about where and how the laptop is used. The laptop comes with a security cable, so it can be secured to beds, desks etc when not in use. Also, each laptop is marked as being property of Hampshire County Council and has a unique number which is recorded.


Software and Internet

Its hard to get Broadband where I live. What can you do to help?

A lot of research and planning went into selecting an internet device that would work across the widest area and with the least disruption. If you believe that you are having problems with internet access because of a problem with your “dongle”, please phone the helpline 0871 2920150 (Mon-Fri 08:00-21:00; Sat-Sun 09:00-18:00). and they will advise you. We are unable to offer alternative internet connection options.

What is a “dongle”?

A dongle is a plug in device which offers internet access without the need for wires or boxes to be installed in your home. Lots of different companies offer dongle access. Research shows that the dongles supplied with the laptop will offer the fastest and widest coverage across Hampshire.

Why did you choose Open Office software?

A lot of thought and consideration went into the decision about the software which should be installed on the laptops. Open Office is regularly updated and is improving all the time. The layout, options and commands are similar to MS Office, so it is not hard to use. Increasingly, more schools, colleges and workplaces are also using Open Office rather than MS Office.

Open Office is free, so we are also able to provide more young people with laptops by selecting this option. Free software also means that the laptops will always offer an up-to-date service, rather than needing expensive software upgrades in the future.



The printer comes with two print cartridges. What happens after they run out? Where do I get more? Who pays for them?

It is expected that replacement cartridges and stationery supplies will be provided by the carer out of the allowance provided for the care of the young person. The carer and young person may wish to make an agreement about how frequently the printer cartridges will be replaced.

We received one printer for each young person we care for but only really need/have space for one. What should we do?

If you have a young person on a long term placement, and they are not likely to move, please keep the printer cartridges and arrange to post the printer back to us. If you have a young person in short term placement or who may move, please keep the printer somewhere safe and give it to them when they move on.



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