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Preventing desktop changes in Windows 98?





Traveller
Digging up some dinosaurs here, but when Windows 98 was current, I was strictly a UNIX admin. Now that I'm helping orphanages and schools in a third-world country with computers that were donated to them, I'm working with almost nothing but Windows 98 (sometimes SE, sometimes not), and where changing to Linux or to a newer version of Windows is not a real option.

Given the environment in which these computers are used, it is not unusual for the kids to play around by changing wallpaper, screensavers, mouse pointers, etc., and for other volunteers to try to install things that only wind up causing problems later.

What I would like to do is to apply some kind of administrative lock so that only authorized users with the proper password would be allowed to change such things. Windows 98 was never really designed with that in mind, but I know there used to be programs one could install that would accomplish this.

Any recommendations?
Thanks!
thiamshui
Disable the display control panel.. Windows 98 has a tool called System Policy Editor (poledit).. You can try Start>Run and type in poledit, n see whether a tool comes out.. if it doesn't, it is not installed..

Refer to the tutorial here to install the Policy Editor: http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/polediti.html

Afterwhich, i guess the options there are quite straight-forward to do.. Children won't get around the tool easily..

Well, alternatively, if you want to undo changes kids and other ppl do to the computer, you should acquire a software called "Norton Goback", which has an "AutoBack" feature.. This will undo all changes everytime the computer restarts.. For legitimate changes, you have the option to disable AutoBack temporarily before you boot into Windows..

Check Norton Goback's product page here: http://www.symantec.com/home_homeoffice/products/backup_recovery/ngb40/index.html
Traveller
Thanks! I will try poledit the next time I am working on those systems.

For now, I'll steer clear of Norton. I've already greatly enhanced the performance and stability of at least a dozen systems belonging to friends and relatives by uninstalling any traces of ANYthing by Norton, then running AVG, ZoneAlarm, AdAware, and Spybot, instead. My aunt resisted the change for several months after I recommended it, but finally got tired of waiting for her system. After she uninstalled Norton, she said her system was like a rocket!
thiamshui
you are welcome.. good luck!

well, i used Norton Goback before, and i would say i liked it.. it is not as bad as you think.. the feature that undos the computer everytime your computer restarts is good for places like schools and cybercafes..
bgbg
I would recommend "magic card":
http://www.rogev.com/products/info.htm
This is a network card that you plug in into a computer, perform a very easy setup and there you are: you C drive is absolutely untouchable: the user can erase files, install programs, even format the disk. All you have to do in order to restore the system is to reboot it.
We had hundreds of such computers in the computer room at my university and everything worked OK. I even bought a computer with Magic Card to my father to prevent him from accidentally destroying the system :-)
grantmaster
Policy editor is OK but you have to visit each station to keep it updated.

Using group policy and a NT server you can set up mandatory group profiles.

The users can change the desktop and wallpaper (or not) yet when the system is restarted, the desktop loads from the server and is a back to normal.

I have this set up on a couple of labs that still use 98 and it works great.

There is another program out there called "deep freeze" that takes a picture of the system, and restores is if necessary...
Traveller
grantmaster wrote:
Using group policy and a NT server you can set up mandatory group profiles
....
I have this set up on a couple of labs that still use 98 and it works great.

There is another program out there called "deep freeze" that takes a picture of the system, and restores is if necessary...

That presumes the existence of an NT server - a luxury these people don't have. In fact, were they able to have such a luxury, I wouldn't use anything windows-based as a server, since Linux is so much more stable. In this case, it is just a small room with a number of win98 machines - no NT, and no network.

I'll take a look at "Deep Freeze," though, and see if it might help.

It will still be at least a week before I'll have the chance to go out on-site to try poledit.
dynamics
Thank you! POLEDIT should work on my school's computers so that students cannot corrupt them. I should try it soon...
tamilchild
Poledit is one of the best policy editing tool in windows 98 Computers. This will help good security in Win98 Systems.
---- Smile
internetjobs
Poledit is good one, but the windows 2000 have built in function... like management console, and security policy...
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