New public beta: Microsoft Shared Computer Toolkit
Microsoft has released a public *BETA* of a utility called the "Shared Computer Toolkit":
This is a very cool tool that can be installed on Windows XP SP2 systems by those who want to lock down their PCs but don't know how, and don't have a tame IT Department to help them out.
We have an amazing array of options to choose from when configuring the security of a shared system, including:
Numerous Start Menu restrictions including hiding Control Panel, Printer and Network Settings; removing the Run and Search options; hiding various folders; and even removing the Shut Down Button...
General settings including restricting access to the Command Prompt, Task Manager and Registry Editor, hiding the Recycle Bin, disabling right click, restricting access to Microsoft Management Console Utilities and preventing password changes...
Some very useful software restriction policies including 'block any software outside of program files and the Winodws path from running', 'block default system tools from running' and 'block windows management tools that an admin could use to bypass toolkit security.
We can block internet access completely, prevent Internet Explorer from running, prevent Windows Messenger from running and prevent Microsoft Office programs from running. VBA can be locked out. There is even a session timer that forces a user to log off after a certain number of minutes, or if the system is idle.
Access to hard drives can be locked out.
The above list of features is not comprehensive, simply the ones that I have found most useful.
The restrictions are set per user, therefore you can have different restriction levels for different people who use the PC.
Shared Computer toolkit is a very powerful utility and should used with extreme care. Do NOT go locking everything down for all users willy nilly, and if you are unsure, get expert advice from the support forum microsoft.public.windows.sharedaccess:
Be warned - the ever popular PC game “Halo” won't run if 'block any software outside of program files and the Windows path from running' is enabled (as my teenage son discovered to his disgust after I locked down his PC). This is because Halo decrypts a stub file off the CD and places it within the users profile, where it is run to start the game. Any other game that uses the same anti-piracy protocol will face the same problem.