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Hey, I'm in a youth facility that has a small open internet cafe (12 PCs with Windows XP). They got a lawsuit after someone downloaded copyrighted content. We are now searching for solutions to prevent this from happening again. There is one computer for an overseer, so he could use monitoring software to control the use of programs.

Can you recommend any free or cheap software to monitor the use of programs and / or block known filesharing software from being run or from accessing the internet?

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Install a firewall on each computer that monitors outgoing as well as incoming traffic. XP's firewall only monitors incoming traffic.

Then set it's rules to only allow your web browsers access to the internet and lock it down son that no one else can alter the rules. I'm assuming that the accounts used on the 12 PCs are User accounts rather than Admin accounts.

That way if someone tries to use a Torrent client it will be blocked.

However, this doesn't stop them using the web browser to download copyright content.

Another alternative is to install a proxy server which all the PC's must use to access the internet. You should be able to set rules as to which sites are visible. You can then block URLs that host pirated material. This will require constant monitoring and updating though as new sites spring up all the time.

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Can I just use any firewall software? How would the lockdown be achieved? – The C Jul 19 '10 at 13:29
@The C - virtually any firewall. [Avast]( is a well respected one. You'd have to check the help and/or support pages for the particular one you chose as each will be different. – ChrisF Jul 19 '10 at 13:56

Set up a router or a PC to filter everything except HTTP. That's all. You can let out MSN port and such, there is a "common applications" in the router's web interface. I'd go this way. Installing them on all machine is kinda like a hassle.

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You could use a Kiosk version of XP or a stripped down Linux to prevent starting of a filesharing application in the first place.

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You could use a software like Handy cafe to share internet to clients while filtering websites. It allows you to filter sites by content or address. You could monitor clients desktop & also reboot/shutdown it.

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