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Like most kids, my kids love computers, and if I let them, they'd camp out on it every waking hour Facebooking and playing video games. So we have an app that limits their time each day (trying to introduce balance into their lives).

However, homework needs to be done on the computer, and it shouldn't count against their fun time.

Is there a way to create a 'homework' account that can:

  • only run limited programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Internet Explorer)
  • can only go to a limited number of websites (school site, Wikipedia, NYTimes, etc.)
  • without affecting other accounts on the computer

Then the homework account could have unlimited time and they could spend as much time as they wanted studying/learning.

I suspect Group Policy or Local Policy is the answer, but I'm not sure how to do it. I'm geeky enough that the home computers are part of an Active Directory domain.

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Sure. The management policies for that account would include white listing the executables to run and proxying the browser to a non existent host and white listing URLs for sites they can visit.

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Any hints where in Group Policy to white list apps and URLs? – DougN Dec 10 '11 at 22:31
I'm revisiting this problem again and wondering if you can point me to where this is in Group Policy? I tried a few things to white list URLs but it ended up blocking websites for all accounts which wasn't the goal :( Can you give my any pointers where these settings are? – DougN Oct 9 '12 at 18:05
When you say you have a "Home Domain", do you mean you have a system running Windows Server running Active Directory with your other PCs joined to the domain as domain PCs, or something else? – afrazier Oct 10 '12 at 19:18
Yes, exactly that - Active Directory on a server, PCs on Windows 7 Ultimate. – DougN Oct 11 '12 at 11:54
Please consider expanding your answer. Merely stating the feasibility of the OP's request has little value. – Dmitry Grigoryev May 25 '15 at 2:07

If you're using XP, download MS SteadyState and set up a 'Homework' user account.You can tweak it pretty much to what you need

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Someone geeky enough to have a home domain is probably not running XP. :-) – afrazier Dec 10 '11 at 19:21
lol - afrazier, you are correct :) – DougN Dec 14 '11 at 20:27

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