Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I have an 85 year old relation who uses an HP netbook while he is away in warmer climes during the winter to stay in touch using Skype and email. He also wants to browse the web and write poetry using MS Word. The problem is, his memory is not what it used to be and he has a bad habit of clicking furiously at anything and everything when things don't go the way he thinks they should. As a result he will have lots of browser tabs open, as well as Skype, email (Thunderbird), MS Word (and anything else he can click his mouse on) running on this underpowered netbook, resulting in slowdowns and crashes.

    I need to "cripple" his machine to the point where the start button doesn't give him access to programs. I would also remove all desktop icons. I would like to restrict it so no more than one app can be running at a time (he has to exit Word before he can run Thunderbird, etc.), limit the browser to one (or only a few) tabs and finally, I'd like him to be unable to log out of Skype because he is forever forgetting his signon ID and password (I know Skype remembers it and he need never log out, but he DOES!).

    Finally, I need a simple menu system that will autorun on startup presenting him with a small list (ideally icons or buttons) of applications that he can choose from.

    Not an easy task, but I'm confident someone out there knows how to do it. Please help me. I am exhausted from all the tech support calls on an almost daily basis! I have set up Teamviewer (remote desktop) to be able to do remote support but even that only helps after the "damage" has been done.

    It would seem that "Windows SteadyState" might be part of the solution but I feel my needs go beyond what that offers.

    Help? Anyone?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    California & Arizona
    Posts
    6,121
    Thanks
    160
    Thanked 609 Times in 557 Posts
    I would go with a combination of configurations, and most importantly, user education too.
    Check out: Use access control to restrict who can use your files

    Look into placing shortcuts of all the needed programs he will be using right on the desktop so that he will be able to see and recognize
    the programs he will want to use. Then restrict access to the root programs folder. I would also use this in combination with Windows Steady State and other folders.

    Other helpful tips/configurations:
    Windows Explorer and Desktop Restrictions
    Purchased Solutions: Desktop Authority Tech.-Tips
    How to Restrict Web Browsing Using Internet Explorer
    Windows® XP Security Console
    How do I… Apply local Windows XP restrictions with the Group Policy Console
    Windows XP - User Account Permissions and Restrictions XP
    Microsoft Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP Handbook Chapter 4: User Restrictions
    place restrictions on users in XP

    Some registry options:
    change the permissions in the registry under:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID
    change the permission to Administrator only and "users" only have read ability but no write or modify permissions and it should keep AIM from being installed as well as a host of others.
    Additionally change the:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE
    key to the same permissions as stated above and it should prevent installing any programs.
    The above registry change should be looked at and considered carefully. A full backup of the system with an imaging program should be utilized in any event.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    737
    Thanks
    23
    Thanked 64 Times in 52 Posts
    For an easy icon driven menu try Object Dock. The free version should be more than sufficient for your needs and there are enough config options to make it visually easy to use.
    Chuck

  4. #4
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck De La Rosa View Post
    For an easy icon driven menu try Object Dock. The free version should be more than sufficient for your needs and there are enough config options to make it visually easy to use.
    Chuck, thank you so much for this idea! I have already converted him to an iMac at home (he has been unable to bring the Mac to its knees in over a year and a half!) so he will be very familiar with the dock concept. Excellent suggestion.

  5. #5
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Clint Rossmere View Post
    I would go with a combination of configurations, and most importantly, user education too.
    Check out: Use access control to restrict who can use your files

    Look into placing shortcuts of all the needed programs he will be using right on the desktop so that he will be able to see and recognize
    the programs he will want to use. Then restrict access to the root programs folder. I would also use this in combination with Windows Steady State and other folders.

    Other helpful tips/configurations:
    Windows Explorer and Desktop Restrictions
    Purchased Solutions: Desktop Authority Tech.-Tips
    How to Restrict Web Browsing Using Internet Explorer
    Windows® XP Security Console
    How do I… Apply local Windows XP restrictions with the Group Policy Console
    Windows XP - User Account Permissions and Restrictions XP
    Microsoft Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP Handbook Chapter 4: User Restrictions
    place restrictions on users in XP

    Some registry options:

    The above registry change should be looked at and considered carefully. A full backup of the system with an imaging program should be utilized in any event.

    Thank you for the suggestions. Unfortunately the netbook uses XP Home so the Policy Editor is not included and this restricts your ability to create restrictions ;-) I will try out your links and explore further.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    California & Arizona
    Posts
    6,121
    Thanks
    160
    Thanked 609 Times in 557 Posts
    Tweak UI 2.10

    Microsoft Releases New TweakUI 2.10 for Windows XP and Server 2003
    • July 17, 2003 •
    Microsoft has released a new version of TweakUI for Windows XP and Server 2003. TweakUI, one of Microsoft's Windows XP Powertoys has been updated to build 2.10.0.0 (The previous version was 2.00.1.0). There are some noticeable improvements in this release, I have a summary below.

    Windows Server 2003 compatibility support has also been implemented, as well as reducing the file size of the installer by 417 KB.


    New In TweakUI 2.10.0.0


    •General:
    ◦Optimize Hard Disk when idle - allows Windows to rearrange files on the hard disk to improve performance when the disk is not in use.
    ◦Alt+Tab - control the size of the window that appears when you press Alt+Tab.


    •Explorer:
    ◦Show "Encrypt" on context menu - will add to option to encrypt/decrypt file(s)/folder(s) to the right-click menu.
    ◦Use intuitive filename sorting - when enabled, Explorer will sort files so that, for example, File 5 comes before File 10. Disabled, Explorer will use literal sorting, in which case File 10 will come before File 5, because 1 comes before 5 (literal sorting used to be Windows default behaviour before Windows XP).
    ◦Use Tab to navigate AutoComplete - when enabled, you can use the Tab key to move focus to the next item in an AutoComplete list, when such a list is displayed.
    ◦Customizations - explorer remembers only a limited number of folder customizations, you can increase that number.
    ◦Slide Show - here you can set the time each picture will remain on the screen when you play a slide show in Windows Picture and Fax viewer.


    •Common Dialogs:
    ◦Enable AutoComplete - enable/disable AutoComplete in the "File name" edit box.


    •Taskbar and Start menu:
    ◦Show name on Start menu - remove or show your name at the top of the Start menu.
    ◦Show taskbar notification icons - here you can hide all notification icons on the taskbar.


    •My Computer:
    Drives - show/hide drives in Explorer
    ◦Special Folders - relocate special Explorer folders (such as CD Burning, My Documents).
    ◦AutoPlay - customize AutoPlay options for drives, types, and choose/edit the "handler".
    ◦Drive Letters * - select how drive letters should appear in My Computer.


    •Internet Explorer:
    ◦Autocorrect backslashes to slashes - typing http:\\ will be corrected to http:// when enabled.
    ◦Include path search in address bar - when you type a string into the Address bar, the local system will also be searched for it.
    ◦Small Animation and Large Animation - lets you change the spinning animation in Internet Explorer.
    ◦Image Toolbar - set the minimum size an image has to be before the image toolbar will appear.

    •Logon:
    ◦Keep RAS connections after logoff - keep active RAS connections active when logging off.
    ◦Screen Saver - allows you to set a "grace period", which is the time that the screen saver will not prompt you for a password when dismissed.
    •Access Control:
    ◦Control various aspects of access permissions across the system and network.
    * this Drive Letters section is mixed up as follows:
    •Show all drive letters before the label is in fact Show network drive letters before the label, and show local drive letters after the label
    •Show network drive letters before the label, and show local drive letters after the label is in fact Never show drive letters
    •Never show drive letters is in fact Show all drive letters before the label.

    Supported Operating Systems:
    •Windows XP (Service Pack 1 and higher)
    •Windows Server 2003
    Check out Tweak UI and see if there are some features here that can be customized with steady state.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

  7. #7
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Clint Rossmere View Post
    I would go with a combination of configurations, and most importantly, user education too.


    Look into placing shortcuts of all the needed programs he will be using right on the desktop so that he will be able to see and recognize
    the programs he will want to use. Then restrict access to the root programs folder. I would also use this in combination with Windows Steady State and other folders.


    I think the suggestion of the Stardock (suggestion below) is great, because of his comfort with OSX and I will definitely implement that.

    On further reflection, I would like to point out that in this particular case, user education (as suggested above) is totally useless. I even convinced him that an iPad would be easier to use, so we bought one... alas, I was totally incapable of getting him to be able to use the iPad (how hard is that?) so I am stuck with continuing to try and simplify what he is already familiar with. Please bear in mind he often even forgets the name of apps he has used day in and day out. Skype might be "... that program that... errr... you know, the blue icon..." Scary isn't it, to think that we may be in that position in the furture. This is a highly educated professional, a physician we are talking about, with a long and successful career behind him!

  8. #8
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    California & Arizona
    Posts
    6,121
    Thanks
    160
    Thanked 609 Times in 557 Posts
    I think the use of Windows Steady State may be of most benefit here. If he has a problem and needs to call you, all you need to tell him is to restart the computer.
    You could place shortcuts of all the software he uses on the desktop thereby minimizing the need to go anywhere else. The only other thing you would have to concern
    yourself with is the times he wishes to keep/save word docs etc. A USB stick may solve that if he is capable of using it.
    As far as email goes you could set up a partition on the hard drive that Steady State would ignore, and for which he has no knowledge of, and configure the email client to store it's messages there. This should protect him from loss of email whenever the computer is booted or turned off.

    I'm not a user of Steady State so I don't know what the fine properties are in terms of setting up exclusions and so forth. It might be worth looking into
    whether it is capable of ignoring certain file types or folder locations.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

  9. #9
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    737
    Thanks
    23
    Thanked 64 Times in 52 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Alkalay View Post
    On further reflection, I would like to point out that in this particular case, user education (as suggested above) is totally useless. I even convinced him that an iPad would be easier to use, so we bought one... alas, I was totally incapable of getting him to be able to use the iPad (how hard is that?) so I am stuck with continuing to try and simplify what he is already familiar with. Please bear in mind he often even forgets the name of apps he has used day in and day out. Skype might be "... that program that... errr... you know, the blue icon..." Scary isn't it, to think that we may be in that position in the furture. This is a highly educated professional, a physician we are talking about, with a long and successful career behind him!
    Not scary, quite common in my experience. I worked for hospital system for a number of years. I've never been able to put my finger on why this is, but I've seen the most intelligent doctors and clinicians turned into blathering idiots when sitting in front of a computer.
    Chuck

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •