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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    Locking Windows settings

    I'm tired of setting up friends' PCs 'just so' and having them alter settings accidentally. Is there a way of 'locking' the system so they can't easily change things, install new screensavers that crash, uninstall programs, etc? I seem to recall things like 'system policies' or whatever, in networked PCs, and while I maintain a small NT network, I've not had cause to want to do this sort of thing (our office PCs are low security and our users are very responsible).

    But the standalone PCs of my family and friends - ah, that's another matter! How do I lock down their PCs so they can't tweak them idly, and thus get them out of kilter?

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Locking Windows settings

    Depends on the OS. On 9x boxes, you'd need to install POLEDIT - the system policy editor - for the easiest lockdown.

    For NT based machines, including XP, you could use user profiles - making them limited privilege users.

    Think about it though - by locking someone out of their own PC, you're inviting a support nightmare for yourself. Personally, I wouldn't do this for a home user unless they explicitly asked for such a thing. I love my pop, and I just accept that he's gonna screw up his box once in a while. Perhaps a better policy would be "I fix it once, the next one, you pay for, because I don't have time to do this for everyone"?
    -Mark

  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger
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    Re: Locking Windows settings

    Try REGWACKER if the systems are Win95/98SE or even NT. Install it on a floppy or on a file server to add a little deterance.

  4. #4
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Locking Windows settings

    I think this is sound advice. However, it would probably be difficult to collect from mom and dad!

    It depends on exactly what you want to lock down. You can use Poledit to make Win9x as tight as a drum. But likely you will be getting phone calls non-stop asking, "Why can't I do this or that?"

    You might want to use some parts of Poledit to limit some functionality -- but I don't think it will prevent them from installing new software unless you:

    1) eliminate the Run... box
    2) eliminate the default Start|Programs folder and use a custom one
    3) eliminate access to Windows Exporer
    4) eliminate access to the Desktop
    5) eliminate downloads from the Internet

    I am not sure most of your friends would agree to this type of chastity belt...

  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Locking Windows settings

    Instead of locking down their systems, you could install Go-Back when you setup their systems and then correct anything they do to the system after-the-fact (as long as the problem is detected soon enough). Or you could set them up and then image their HD with Norton's Ghost or a similar utility. Then it would be a simple matter to restore things to their previous pristine condition. <img src=/S/crossfingers.gif border=0 alt=crossfingers width=17 height=16> <img src=/S/compute.gif border=0 alt=compute width=40 height=20>
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/DocWatson_sig.gif>

  6. #6
    Bronze Lounger
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    Re: Locking Windows settings

    ...which is exactly what XP System Restore will do. Never mind stopping users making permanent screws-up, I use it mainly to correct the intricate and massive tangles I make for myself without the benefit of any external assistance whatever...

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