Question Can win7 be configured to make user changes temporary?

AllanGH

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My father is VP at the local Senior's Center, wherein they have 4 general use, unnetworked, public computers with win7 loaded on them...central printer, Internet access, anyone can use them with a published login and password....blah-blah-blah.

Their problem is that people come in and stake a claim to a particular machine because they have saved their bookmarks, put their favorite pretty wallpaper on the desktop, or made other user configuration changes that fit their own personal preferences.

Some of these changes cause problems for other users, or in terms of system operation.

He asked me if there is any way to break this cycle (probably because these people have nothing better to do than to stake a claim on a machine and defend it), but I have no win7 machine to experiment on. So, I thought that I might ask those of you who have direct knowledge of this....

Can windows 7 be configured to force a non-administrative users changes to be deleted once that user has logged out, returning that user account to a known, predetermined state?
 
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Mandark

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That’s funny because my college used to do what you want to do but I’m not sure what they used maybe you can run Windows 7 in kiosk mode. As soon as another user reboot the machine it’s back to the way it was originally

 

AllanGH

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I appreciate the answers thus far....

Kiosk mode wouldn't be appropriate, since they want these people to shut down the machine when they are done with them, and they really don't care what programs they run when they use the machine. They just don't want people downloading and installing new programs.

Faronics looks good--potentially what they need--but this center is seriously cash strapped. There is no way I am going to convince them that they need to pay yearly licensing for each of those machines, just to maintain a non-customized desktop environment.

The core problem, as I understand it to be (and I need to go over there on Tuesday to gather more information) is that Senior's Center members use the machines to do their online shopping or banking, because they don't have a machine of their own--or no Internet access--and they leave their login details and bookmarks saved in the browsers.

Additionally, they configure the desktop settings to their own tastes, which renders things unreadable for some who have vision problems. Then there are browser extensions that get installed, and people authorize push notifications on just about every website they visit.

I'm currently reading about how the win7 Guest account might mitigate some of this, and am thinking that, if windows is able to run a batch file at boot time; I can hammer-out a template Guest account, save it to a secured directory, and have it written-over the active Guest account directory--wholesale--every time the machine is booted.

Anyway, that would be a good approximation of what they want to happen.....again, if I am understanding them properly.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
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You can configure many things for a kiosk mode. You can allow access to the start menu shutdown options for example and maybe a few other things like printer settings, but remove rights to everything else. Group policy is what you need to read up on. Just make sure you are applying the policy to the right thing, I have seen people mess up the system totally by applying some restrictive policy to every account so even the admin account had no access.
 

AllanGH

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Interesting timing....I went in there yesterday and talked to the center director (who has the final call on what's done with the computers). About the time I got around to mentioning kiosk mode, I could see her eyes almost rolling back in her head.

I think that it was almost out of desperation that she said to just delete all user accounts, re-password the Administrator account, and go with enabling the Guest user account.

On the up-side, she also told me to remove all subscription and regular licensing renewal software and replace everything with Open Source equivalents--for the public use machines AND the office machines.

Before I left, she showed me that they were paying $120.00/month just to license MSO for the machines, which will save them $1440/year; so she definitely wasn't unhappy.
 

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