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I'm interested in locking down my PC so that only a few programs can be used.

For example, when I'm writing a paper I only want to be able to use Word. No Firefox or DVD player because I will be distracted.

I want to have various modes (one for writing a paper, another for doing taxes) that will prevent me from using any program except for the ones I need to perform a task.

Is there a program that will do that? Can be free or commercial.

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In interesting extra details, do you want to prevent whole browser, or will you need it, while working? Because there are ways to lock down "distracting" websites, to focus on work, like you can find at this other question:… – Gnoupi Mar 4 '10 at 13:34
I want to prevent the entire browser from running, not just restrict a few web sites. – user1413 Mar 4 '10 at 15:34
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Found this:

Clean Slate security goes beyond just clearing unwanted changes. You can also block programs from running. Clean Slate reads and lists all the programs in your start menu. While in the Clean Slate configuration screen, simply select the programs you want blocked. Once configured, the programs can not be accessed. Not only will Clean Slate block the execution of any presently installed programs but also unknown programs from the Internet and removable media (USB drives, CD ROM, network shares, floppy disks, etc.).

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To avoid distractions from open applications you can remove them from the taskbar and the task switcher (ALT + TAB) by using Process Manager for Windows.

When it is running you can hide an application by right-clicking in the task bar and select "Hide Me".

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If you are using Windows XP or Vista you can lock it down using Windows Steady State. It works really well. It is free.

If you want to have different profiles you could set different users with different privileges.

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