David_Bennett

I am on the Windows Vista Parental controls team, working on the next version of windows and specifically the parental controls aspects of it. I worked on the web filter, and many other aspects of the system from the control panel up.

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  • Blog Post: Parental Controls on a Domain

    It is possible to turn on parental controls if your machine is on a domain, but default it is disabled. It is not possible to turn on parental controls for Business skews of Vista since parental controls is not present on the machine at all in these skews of the operating system. If you are using Windows...
  • Blog Post: Different exclusion lists

    There are 4 different exclusion lists in Windows Parental Controls that are used to control which programs and which urls are allowed to be connected to. The two main lists are the HttpExemptionList and the UrlExemptionList, these are modifiable lists than can be added to by installation programs to...
  • Blog Post: Overwhelmingness of Parental Controls?

    There have been some comments about various aspects of Parental Controls being overwhelming, specifically in this post . It is true that some of the existing parental control companies will not be so keen on some features, however there is a lot of area for new features and things that are missing from...
  • Blog Post: How to log a crimson event to the custom log (for parental controls)

    Now that you have setup a custom event using WMI, you can log to it. Remember that you need to be elevated to register a custom event, but you do not need to be elevated to log to the channel. The Windows Parental Controls channel is write only for limited users and only readable when logged in as an...
  • Blog Post: Making a Game marked as run in Parental Controls

    For a game to show up in Parental Controls as being run a few things need to happen. First the game must have a GDF file so it will be properly registered with the Game Explorer. Once the game is correctly registered with the Game Explorer it will show up in the Games folder under the Vista start menu...
  • Blog Post: Summary of Vista Parental Controls Features

    Short summary of Windows parental control features: Game Restrictions – ability to restrict games based on ratings and on descriptors associated with the game. These are based on ESRB ratings, and other rating systems from other countries. Application Restrictions – ability to disable all programs...
  • Blog Post: Adding a URL Exemption in c#

    The system contains a list of applications which are exempted from parental controls. This list can be accessed via WMI and it should be modified in the install process for any application that requires free Internet access. The way to do this is to access the class via WMI and add the specified program...
  • Blog Post: .net Binding for WPC Events

    The WPC event system logs a series of events to the WPC crimson channel. The channel contents is viewable inside the log viewer and it has a path of: Microsoft-Windows-ParentalControls/Operational. The events are logged with a variety of different parameters, mostly you can see what they are from inside...
  • Blog Post: Windows Parental Controls

    I have not blogged for a while, I just recently moved teams and now I am working on WIndows Parental Controls in C++ rather than c#. I will continue to post .net things, since I do use .net for my home projects. Recently I have been working on a layered socket protocol tool with winsock, this is using...
  • Blog Post: Opening up the WPC Control Panel from the command line

    It is possible to open up the windows parental controls control panel from the command line, well any control panel. You pass in the name of the control panel to open up and it opens it up. Nice and easy. For the parental controls panel the syntax is: Control.exe /name Microsoft.ParentalControls
  • Blog Post: Parental Controls and Press Coverage

    We have had a lot of good press coverage from Parental Controls over the past few days, which has been great. Bill Gates and various other people have been pressing it as one of the main reasons to upgrade to Vista, I think it is a very good reason to upgrade if you are worried about your children's...
  • Blog Post: GDF Xml file format

    The GDF file is an xml file associated with games in vista. The file gives information about the various ratings associated with the game along with the name of the game. The XML file format is fairly simple and is as follows: <GameDefinitionFile> <GameDefinition> <Version> <VersionNumber...
  • Blog Post: Showing the Windows Parental Controls system settings.

    There are a few elements of information you can get out of the system settings for WPC, allowing you to see how various aspects of the parental controls system is setup. It is easy enough to read these settings using WMI and some javascript so we can see/use these settings in other places. This will...
  • Blog Post: Apple (uk) ad targeting Parental Controls

    Just wandering around on you tube and discovered an apple (uk) ad targeting parental controls, with the 'naughty step'. The Mac says something about blocking items being "isn't that what kids want to do?". The idea behind parental controls is to block good kids from running into bad stuff, I don't really...
  • Blog Post: Log Viewer, behind the scenes

    The log viewer in Parental Controls reads in the public available system logs and turns them into the data you can see in the control panel. The logs are brought in from a couple of places, the System logs, the Application logs and the Parental controls log itself. These logs are manipulated in various...
  • Blog Post: HTTP Extension for Windows Parental Controls

    To make Windows Parental Controls work better with browsers and other programs that support http, the filter in vista sends back a custom error number when the page is blocked. This number is 450, an app can recognise this error code and display a blocked message or allow for overrides to be done based...
  • Blog Post: Using RatingSystem WMI in Parental Controls

    Windows Parental Controls exposes a RatingSystem class that can be used to find all the rating systems on the system as well as the name and all the ratings used inside the system. This is what is used inside Windows Parental Controls to show the pretty pages where you select the rating system you want...
  • Blog Post: Hidden blocked items in Windows Parental Controls

    When you install parental controls on vista there are a few hidden items that are not displayed in the control panel. These are exemption lists for the applications and for specific web sites. Specific applications might want to be able to have free access to the web, and they set this when they are...
  • Blog Post: Using Custom Events in Windows Parental Controls

    Any extension you add to Parental can log custom events, well any application can log custom events. These events will show up in the activity viewer in the control panel. To log a custom event you must first register the custom event using WMI and then log to the parental controls channel using crimson...
  • Blog Post: Reading WPC logs in C#

    Here is a conversion of the WPCEvents.h file that is used with the vista SDK to get the parts of the various crimson events converted into c#. I have written about this file before and how the parts are connected together and how all the numbers work. This is useful if you want to write c# code to read...
  • Blog Post: Parental Controls used by everyone

    Looks like Bill Gates is using parental controls for his children these days, nice to see that people within the company are buying off and using the technology as well. We have had a surprisingly small amount of negative press on the parental controls issues so far. Seems to be one of the things that...