Perhaps you have small children in your home or perhaps you will soon be hosting visitors? Whatever the circumstance, there may be a time when you wish to limit access to your computer or certain applications on your computer. The good news is that Windows 7 includes very granular controls which allows you to do just that.
Parental Controls as it’s called in Windows 7 allows you to limit everything from what times the computer can be used to which applications or games are available for each account. Like I said, things are very granular and SIMPLE to setup when it comes to the Parental Controls of Windows 7!
To use Parental Controls, you first need to create a new windows account you wish to apply the Parental Controls / restrictions to. By default the first account is an Administrator account and for obvious reasons, you cannot assign Parental Controls on Administrator accounts. It should also be noted that Parental Controls by default cannot be managed on computers which are Domain attached. Most people using Windows 7 at home will never need to worry about this but I will provide a How-To for domain attached systems at a later time. With that said, let’s get right into it!
How To Enable Parental Controls To Limit Access Or Completely Block Programs In Windows 7
1. Click your Windows 7 Start Orb and type Parental into the search box. Click Parental Controls from the Search Results Menu.
2. Click the User you would like to enforce parental controls upon.
3. Click the On, enforce current settings option. Then Click Allow and block specific programs.
4. Before you can adjust the settings, you have to Click [Username] can only use the programs I allow. Be advised as the program list loads, it might take a minute or two. By default all of the programs will be Unchecked which means they are disabled / blocked.
Chances are, you probably only want to block a few specific programs. The easiest way to do this is by first Clicking the Check All button to allow access to all applications. Next uncheck the applications you want to block / don’t want used. Click OK to save changes and finish.
Parental Controls are in place!
The screenshot below will be displayed when an application you block is launched (by an account with the restriction).
At the bottom of the Parental Controls block pop-up, there is a button to Ask an administrator for permission. If the user Clicks that button then they will be prompted with another pop-up requesting an administrator password. When the administrator password is entered, the user will then have full access to that particular program.
Friends have told me this is very handy when locking down the internet browser while they are away from the house.
Although I didn’t touch on it, additional controls (see screenshot #3) can be enabled such as enabling Time Limits for certain accounts. Feel free to play around with it and comment on your experience/thoughts/questions!
Happy blocking! (poor kids…) 🙂