Download the beta Shared Computer Toolkit and get powerful new software tools for shared computers in classrooms, school computer labs, libraries, and public places. Managing shared computers can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Without restrictions, users can change the desktop appearance, reconfigure system settings, and introduce spyware, viruses, and other harmful programs. Repairing damaged shared computers costs significant time and effort. User privacy is also an issue. Shared computers often use shared accounts that make Internet history, saved files, and cached Web pages available to subsequent users.If you are in a large IT org with AD, you can use group policy to “lock down” user desktops and solve some of these problems.
For those IT Pros without AD , the Shared Computer Toolkit provides a simple and effective way to defend shared computers from untrusted users and malicious software, safeguard system resources, and enhance and simplify the user experience. The Toolkit runs on genuine copies of Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Though you must install it on each machine manually, doing so will save you (and your users) hours of time in problems avoided.
For example, though it is not the intended purpose of the toolkit, you can use the tools to restrict the actions of children on family computers with the Windows Restrictions tool. You can use it to:Prevent a child from using Internet Explorer or Windows Messenger.
You could also use the Windows Disk Protection tool to ensure that children can't make permanent changes to the Windows configuration. In addition, Windows Disk Protection can prevent children from installing spyware or malware (whether the installation is accidental or intentional) or other unapproved programs.
You can use the Disk Protection tool to help safely test software. When enabled and left in its default mode, the tool does not allow changes to be permanently made to the Windows partition. When the computer restarts, changes (such as the installation of new programs) are discarded.
If the tool is enabled when you test a new program, you can be sure any problems the program causes won't become permanent. Of course, if you decide that you want to keep the program, you can allow the tool to commit the changes to the hard disk. You can also retain the changes while testing software throughout multiple computer restarts, and then decide whether to discard or commit the changes to the hard disk.