I have an 8 year old daughter and I realized the importance of protecting my computer from children! As soon as I turn around, she runs to my desk, jumps into a chair and starts banging on the keys.
If the computer was already on, she figured out how to open a web browser and start playing games. It’s a lot of fun for her, but for me it’s a big headache.
A couple of years ago she couldn’t do anything, but now she can send emails, browse the web, download anything, install programs, etc.
In this article, I’ll share a few ways to keep your computer safe from kids and hopefully relieve yourself of grief. If your kids are older, I’ll give you some tips too!
First method – lock your computer
This simple solution solved most of my problems with my daughter. If the computer was off and she tapped the keys, it turned on, but remained on the locked screen. Fortunately, it is still too small to enter a password!
Before my computer goes to sleep, the screen saver usually comes on. I also included a password for the screensaver, in case she receives one before the computer goes to sleep. My computer sleeps after about an hour, so it often happens that the screen saver is on.
Method Two – Use a Limited Account or UAC
The first method only works with very young children, not children over 3 years old. By this age, they are likely to scream and scream until you let them use the computer. At this point, you need to give them access to the computer so that they can play games or do whatever, but also make sure they cannot do anything else.
One way to do this is to use a locked out user account. You can use a guest account on Windows, which has limited user rights on the system. The standard user account still has many permissions and can do a lot.
Guest account is disabled by default, but you can enable it and this will prevent the user from installing software, changing settings, etc.
Another Windows feature is UAC (User Account Control). You can set the maximum value and any standard user account will need to enter a password to complete the task.
UAC appears quite often if you have the highest setting, so these users won’t be able to change most of the settings on the computer.
The third method – parental controls
Windows 7 and Windows 10 have built-in parental controls that allow you to restrict programs that can be run on your computer, the amount of time you use your computer, and even filter websites that a user can visit.
You can google how to enable parental controls and it may suit your needs. It is not complete protection, but it can help you control what you can do on your computer. If you are worried about data deletion or virus infection, this method will not work.
Windows 7/8/10 (but not the home version) also has a feature called AppLocker that prevents programs from starting. You can basically choose which programs you want to allow to run and the user will only be able to open those programs. You can learn about AppLocker here.
Be sure to read my post on third-party parental control software you can use to block websites, track computer usage, and more
Fourth method – Group Policy
Parental controls are great, but if you want to access more rules and restrictions, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with Group Policy. You can restrict access to drives, restrict access to Control Panel, remove tabs from the IE Options dialog box, restrict access to the registry, command prompt, or Task Manager, prevent users from deleting their browsing history, and more. P>
Group Policy can control all aspects of Windows, so you can really lock down your hardcore computer using it. To go to Local Group Policy for PC, just type gpedit.msc when you click the Start button.
If you are using Windows 7/10 Home or Starter, you will not be able to use local Group Policy settings. Unfortunately, it only works on Windows 7/10 Pro, Ultimate and Enterprise. If you have any of these versions, it is very useful for locking your PC. There are tons of articles on the internet explaining how to use local group policy, so have fun!
Fifth method – encryption
If you are looking for a way to keep your data safe, you might want to create a secure encrypted container on your system. You can do this with the VeraCrypt program. This is a free program that has been around for a long time and does an excellent job.
If you have important files that you do not want anyone to gain access to or accidentally delete them, you can create an encrypted container that you can connect to the system only when you need to use it.
Otherwise, it won’t even appear on the system. I wrote an article on how to use VeraCrypt to encrypt your flash drive, but you can also use it to encrypt your hard drive
Sixth method – deep freezing
There is a great program for IT professionals called Deep Freeze that costs about $ 35, but this is something that many parents will love. You might not care about setting up parental controls, learning about Group Policy, encrypting hard drives, etc., etc.
What if you could let your kids do whatever they want with your computer â€” delete files, change settings, install malware, download viruses, and more â€” and then magically reset everything to its original state with a reboot?
Deep Freeze does just that. It’s just amazing. Many companies and educational institutions use this software because you can customize your system the way you want, let users wreak havoc, and then simply restart your computer to restore it to its original state.
They can literally delete system files and it doesn’t matter. If you need something like that, then buy this program. I’ve used it myself and it works great. Read more about this on their website.
Method 7 – install another OS
One of the methods I use to make sure that guests who come to my house won’t access my personal files and mess up my system is to install another copy of Windows on the same computer. You probably have an old computer with version 7 or something, so just install a dual boot system with your main OS and a secondary OS that you can boot from for other users.
I have a Windows 10 machine that also has Windows 7 installed along with Deep Freeze First, there are no personal files or programs on 7 other than the base one.
Even if someone does something or installs a program, etc., I just restart it and go back to my clean install of Windows 7. Of course, you need to get another copy of Windows, but if you don’t have one, then just use Linux!
I also have Ubuntu installed and it’s completely free. You can even download a specific version of Ubuntu that matches the Windows style so that users won’t be disoriented if they’ve never seen Linux before.
These are seven simple tips I’ve used in the past to keep my computers safe from kids, nosy people, and everyone else. How can I protect my computer from children? Let us know in the comments. Enjoy!