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My kids have been messing around with my wife's computer. Changing icon file names, removing icons, duplicating icons, removing widgets, deleting bookmarks, etc.

I can't seem to find some sort of software to protect and secure the desktop without being destroyed by my highly active kids.

Your help is appreciated.

EDIT: I have Windows 7 on all machines, mainly for the new Homegroup network feature for reliable file sharing.

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Windows, I assume? –  John T Feb 16 '10 at 1:43
    
oh yes, sorry I should have mentioned this in the post. Windows 7 to be exact. –  Havoc-X Feb 16 '10 at 2:05

4 Answers 4

I would suggest a couple possible applications, paired with a limited account:

Toddler Keys Kid-Key-Lock

I agree that the DeepFreeze and SteadyState options are quite viable solutions too.

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Windows Steady State, After reboot goes back to its "original" state, kept my younger siblings' pc running for years.

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this software is great and free! –  studiohack Sep 30 '10 at 7:46
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"After December 31, 2010, Windows SteadyState will no longer be available for download. Microsoft will continue to provide support for Windows SteadyState until June 30, 2011." support.microsoft.com/kb/2390706 plus as John T stated, Windows 7 was never supported anyway: social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowssteadystate/… –  Kez Mar 31 '11 at 18:51

Create user accounts with limited rights for the kids so they can't do any damage (like uninstalling programs, deleting files, etc.) and make sure accounts with administrative rights are password protected.

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+1 Yes you can use some sort of state-restoring method, however this is exactly the sort of problem that user accounts solve. –  scuzzy-delta Feb 16 '10 at 1:49
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I tried that obviously but it didn't stop from deleting or renaming the desktop icons and removing windows widgets :( –  Havoc-X Feb 16 '10 at 1:57
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I can see your dilemma, however, if you want to deepfreeze the machine, keep in mind that this is extremely restrictive measure and will add great inconvenience for a regular computer user, it requires a partitioned drive so work can be saved on a partition that isn't locked by deepfreeze, it requires scheduled thawed boots to run OS and securirty suite updates, etc. ... not exactly the best solution for a multi-user computer. if this machine is just for the kids to mess around with, then DeepFreeze is ideal. better tighten the kids' accounts through group policy. –  Molly7244 Feb 16 '10 at 2:39
    
Group policy eh? I digging some info about that but I got overwhelmed due to the amount of options. Wish there was an app to simplify :( –  Havoc-X Feb 16 '10 at 2:59
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@Havoc-X - I'm not familiar with your personal situation, but let me tell you this: shared 'family computers' are techie's nightmare :) consider setting up an older computer just for the kids (ghost it or lock it down with deepfreeze), i suppose they don't need the latest core i7 power. these machines are called PC for a reason: PERSONAL computer! :) –  Molly7244 Feb 16 '10 at 3:06

You probably don't want to totally block them from other aspects of the computer, and limit them to a browser. It sounds like you need a program that can restore any changes made to the system very easily.

For this purpose, I'd highly recommend Faronics DeepFreeze. DeepFreeze can monitor any changes made to the computer, and revert them all with a simple reboot. There is also a free solution from Microsoft called SteadyState which works on XP and Vista.

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I do like to lock them down and limit them to a few games because they're still very young (5 year olds) but this SteadyState solution might do the trick if it works on Win 7 which i'm going to try now. Thanks for the info! –  Havoc-X Feb 16 '10 at 1:56
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SteadyState is not compatible with Windows 7. –  John T Feb 16 '10 at 2:08

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