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Chapter 5: A Restricted User Experience

Published: September 16, 2005

Although the tools in the Microsoft® Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows® XP are primarily used by shared computer operators, the main purpose of the tools is to enhance and simplify the user experience.

On This Page

A Typical Restricted Desktop
How to Test Restricted User Profiles
Online Resources for Using Public Computers
The Accessibility Tool

A Typical Restricted Desktop

If you create, configure, and restrict user profiles, you can provide a controlled, consistent experience for users. The following figure shows the Start menu for a user profile that has been restricted to show only selected program shortcuts.

Figure 5.1 A restricted Start menu

Figure 5.1 A restricted Start menu

How to Test Restricted User Profiles

Before you turn on Windows Disk Protection, you should take the time to test each user account and profile to make sure that the configurations and restrictions work properly. To test a user account, log on to the computer with the user account and verify that:

  • Start menus appear correctly.

  • Shortcuts on the Start menu and Desktop work correctly.

  • No license agreements or other first-time setup screens are offered.

  • Programs to which users should not have access do not appear on the Start menu.

  • User restrictions that you have configured for the desktop, Start menu, and Internet Explorer work properly.

  • Any session timers that you have applied work properly.

  • The Accessibility tool is located directly on the Start menu so that it is available to users who may need it.

  • The Online Resources for Using Public Computers link is located directly on the Start menu so that it is available to all users.

  • Ensure that no script-blocking or similar third party security warnings appear.

The problems that you discover when you test a user account can usually be resolved with one of the following approaches:

  • Select additional restrictions in the User Restrictions tool to prevent unintended access to system resources. This can be performed by the Toolkit administrator on a user profile that is restricted and locked.

  • Clear restrictions in the User Restrictions tool if some programs cannot run because of the restrictions. This can be performed by the Toolkit administrator on a user profile that is restricted and locked.

  • Add or delete program icons from the user’s Start menu and the All Users Start menu if the user’s Start menu icons are incorrect. This can be performed using Windows Explorer from an administrative account, even if the profile is restricted and locked.

  • Change the settings of a user profile while you are logged on as the user. This can only be performed on a user profile that is unrestricted and unlocked.

Some settings can only be configured when you are logged on as the user. The following procedure describes how to modify these settings after a user profile has been restricted and locked.

To change user profile settings that require you to log on as the user

  1. Log on as the Toolkit administrator, the administrative account with which you installed the Toolkit.

  2. Start the User Restrictions tool. Choose the user profile that you want to change.

  3. Make a note of the restrictions so that you can re-apply them later.

  4. Click the Select Drives to Restrict button. In the Select Drives to Restrict dialog box, ensure that all drives appear in the Listed column and that the Restricted column is empty.

  5. Clear the Lock this profile check box, the Restart at Logoff check box, and the Recommended Restrictions for Shared Accounts check box.

  6. Click OK to apply these changes and close the User Restrictions tool.

  7. Log off and then log on as the user account. Make the required configuration settings.

  8. Log off and then log on again using the Toolkit administrator account.

  9. Start the User Restrictions tool to lock the user profile (if it was locked before) and configure the same restrictions that you had before.

  10. Log off and then log on again as the user and test the profile again.

  11. Repeat steps 1 to 6 as required until you correct the issue.

  12. If Windows Disk Protection has been on previously (this should not be the case yet if this is your first time using the tools), open it and select the option to Save changes with next restart, click OK, then click Yes to restart the computer.

After you test each user account to ensure it works correctly with the restrictions configured, you are ready to turn on Windows Disk Protection by following the steps in the next chapter.

Online Resources for Using Public Computers

For users who are new to computers or to Windows XP, or new to using computers in public places, the Online Resources for Using Public Computers Web page provides a list of online resources with information about how to use Windows and to increase security and privacy. The page also features resources specifically for teenagers and young children.

To access this page, users can click the Online Resources for Using Public Computers shortcut on their Start menu.

Note Note  
A shortcut to the Online Resources for Using Public Computers page is installed into the Start menu folder in the All Users profile.

The Accessibility Tool

Windows XP provides a number of Accessibility options and utilities for users who have special needs—options that make the desktop easier to see and that make such input devices as the keyboard and mouse easier to use.

The Toolkit provides easy access to certain Accessibility options so that users of a restricted account can still customize their Windows environment. When a user logs on, the user can simply click Start, and then click Accessibility to access the Accessibility window shown in the following figure. If a profile is not locked, settings made in the Accessibility window are saved to the user’s profile so that the user will have the same experience when they next use the computer.

Figure 5.2 The main screen of the Accessibility tool

Figure 5.2 The main screen of the Accessibility tool

Users can configure the following options in the Accessibility window:

  • Visuals. The options in this section include the following:

    • Extra Large Pointer increases the size of the Windows pointer.

    • Magnifier reserves the top of the screen to provide a magnified view of the area surrounding the Windows pointer.

  • Sound. The options in this section include the following:

    • Narrator works with some programs by using a synthesized voice to read aloud text from the screen.

    • SoundSentry causes Windows to generate visual warnings when the system makes a sound, which is useful for users who are deaf or hard of hearing. You can have Windows flash the caption bar at the top of a window or dialog box, flash the active window itself, or flash the entire desktop.

    • ShowSound causes Windows to display an icon or a text note to indicate the particular sound that Windows makes.

  • High Contrast. A selection of contrast options make high contrast desktop color schemes available, which improve readability for people who have impaired vision.

  • Keyboard and Mouse. The options in this section include the following:

    • StickyKeys allows a user to use key combinations (such as CTRL+ESC) by pressing one key at a time instead of having to press the keys simultaneously. StickyKeys works for the CTRL, ALT, and DEL keys, in addition to the Windows logo key. When a user presses one of these keys, Windows registers the key as “pressed” until the user completes the key combination.

    • FilterKeys causes Windows to ignore repeated keystrokes, which is useful for people who have involuntary hand movements that cause them to press keys in rapid succession or hold a key longer than they intend to.

    • MouseKeys allows a user to use the numeric keypad on the keyboard to control pointer movements instead of (or in addition to) using a mouse.

    • On-Screen Keyboard opens a software-based keyboard in an on-screen window. Users can press the keys on the keyboard by clicking them with their mouse or other pointing device.

To use the Accessibility tool

  1. Click Start and then click Accessibility.

  2. In the Accessibility tool, either select a check box or press ALT plus the underlined letter key that corresponds to each option you want.

  3. Select as many options as you want to apply and then click OK.

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