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Dated: May. 14, 2012

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Windows Vista
Windows 7

Overview of Restricting Applications

In Microsoft Windows Vista and above operating systems by default all users are allowed to access almost every application that is installed on the computers. That is, no application restriction is applied even for non-administrator user accounts except for the applications for which elevated privileges are mandatory. In home computers this configuration works perfectly well and does not require any alterations anyhow, but in production environments administrators might want to restrict users from using certain applications which they think might not be appropriate when used by standard user accounts. In pre-Windows Vista operating systems, for example Windows XP, administrators could restrict users from using applications only through group policies. With the release of Microsoft Windows Vista and above, with the help of Parental Controls feature administrators can now allow or restrict users to use applications installed on the computers with just a few simple clicks.

To make things easier for the administrators, Parental Control interface in Windows Vista and Windows 7 provides a list of installed applications. Applications added in the list can be checked or unchecked to allow or deny their accessibilities. If the application is not available in the list, administrators can browse for and locate the desired application and then they can manage its accessibility.

User Accounts and Parental Control Application Restrictions

While restricting applications in Parental Controls administrators must keep in mind that the application restriction process must be configured on per user basis. This means that application restriction must be configured for every user individually. User accounts on which Parental Controls have not been configured are allowed to access all applications installed on the computer irrespective of the privileges (administrative or non-administrative) the account may have.

Apart from configuring application restrictions using Parental Controls, administrators can also restrict the accessibility of the applications through group policies. However Microsoft recommends that in homes Parental Controls must be used to restrict applications in order to accomplish the task with least administrative overhead.

One of the most important thing that administrators must keep in mind while applying application restrictions using Parental Controls is that Parental Controls cannot be applied on the accounts that hold administrative privileges. Parental Controls can be applied only to standard user accounts.

Allow or Restrict Applications Using Parental Controls

Which Programs Can Test User Use?

In order to allow or restrict applications using Parental Controls feature in Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows 7, administrators must follow the steps given as below:

  1. Log on to Windows 7 computer with administrator account.
  2. Click Start and from the menu click Control Panel.
  3. On the opened window click User Accounts and Family Safety category and from next window the click Parental Controls.
  4. On Choose a user and set up Parental Controls window select the user account that does not have administrative rights and on the next window under Parental Controls section click to select On, enforce current settings radio button.
  5. Under Windows Settings section click Allow and block specific programs and on the next window click to select <User Name> can only use the programs I allow radio button.
  6. From the list displayed under Check the programs that can be used section check the checkboxes representing the programs that must become accessible to the selected user account. Alternatively, Check All or Uncheck All buttons can also be clicked to select or deselect all the appeared applications with a single click respectively.
  7. Once done, click OK button to save the changes. 

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