Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm administrating a "public" computer, that is the computer at our local church. We use it to record the services in Ableton Live, show lyrics with Easy Worship and so on.. On it we have Moonscape Protection which is a software that takes a snapshot of the computer and allows me to restore it on prompt or schedule it.

Often sommeone needs to install something, so they need an administrator account. (Windows XP) The problem is that every other month someone, and I don't know who, manages to install/get a virus. This leads to full chaos and a unusable computer at several services, and when I take away their administrator privilegies, they complain about not being able to install stuff they need.

I have thought about a program which generates codes you can only use one time to gain administrator privilegies to install a program, so that if anyone needs to install anything they have to call me to get a one-time code to install what they need, if I think the program they intend to install is safe.

Do you know about any programs which will help me? Thank you!

share|improve this question
Establish a time, once a week, when you will be there to install stuff for them. Then no exceptions outside that time. – Daniel R Hicks Jan 8 '12 at 14:50
@DanielBeck No, because they need both EasyWorship (lyrics) and the "stupid shit" at the same time... – Friend of Kim Jan 8 '12 at 14:58
@DanH The problem is that they need the admin rights on the day of the meeting.. – Friend of Kim Jan 8 '12 at 14:59
@50ndr33 Just wondering, what kind of software needs to be installed during service? – Daniel Beck Jan 8 '12 at 15:10
2 computers, ask someone to donate another one, keep one for the pro stuff, locked up physically even. let the other one fall to the wolves – Psycogeek Jan 8 '12 at 19:20
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Set up a system where you can remote login to the machine. Give them an IM client with which to get in touch with you. If you are available at the time, remote login and install it for them. If you are not available, have them put the installer for the desired software in a preset folder and you'll get to it next time you check in.

I think keeping the admin password from the users is a good idea.

share|improve this answer

For Windows XP you can use Windows SteadyState and its "Windows Disk Protection" so that users can install whatever they like, but in order for those changes to be permanent they need an extra password (I would see you as the only person who would have this password).

There is a nice guide on it at HowtoGeek

Judging by their guide you can specify users who can make permanent changes and users that cannot, I would suggest you create two users, one for yourself and one for everyone else and make yourself the only person able to make permanent changes. It also has a lot of features to prevent users from doing certain things.

It used to be available on the Microsoft website but it appears to have been taken down. You can still get it from Softonic though.

It is not supported on Windows 7 or later Vista service packs.

share|improve this answer

If you allow them to install programs, then you are implicitly allowing them to install viruses. One cannot be exclusive from the other.

It's like asking how can you allow someone to have a master key to the church but restrict them from bringing friends into the building without you knowing.

You should rethink the set of software that is on the computer, or how worship services are conducted. Asking users to plan ahead or make a dry run an hour before hand is quite a reasonable request.

Or find the Control freak in the group and give them the password.

share|improve this answer
Umm, I meant that if I can give them a temporary password to install, which only works one time. So, if they need admin rights, they call me and tell me what they need it for, and get the temporary password. – Friend of Kim Jan 8 '12 at 15:01

Why not just someone to donate an old XP computer for "general" use so that you can keep the current computer for its primary purpose and virus free?

share|improve this answer
So, we have two computers with a hardware switch when we need to switch between the virus-free computer and the "trouble computer". Hmm, yupp, that's another good solution too. :) – Friend of Kim Jan 8 '12 at 15:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .