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Vista Time Limit Controls

Vista Time Limit Controls

There wasn’t a whole lot on the security horizon this week, so I thought I would pull a security tip from Windows’ new operating system of Vista. Windows Vista introduces a slew of new features, that’s for sure! And in the area of security is where you’ll find a lot of them. So, from here on out, you may see me introducing a new or modified feature of the Windows Vista system from time to time. This should help get people up to speed a little on the capabilities of the new operating system and how to manage those capabilities.

I thought I would start our Vista series of security tips by describing the time limits for Vista accounts. This feature allows an account with Administrative rights to set time restrictions on a standard (limited) account. This is a really good idea for anyone that can’t always be there to supervise his or her kids (or grandkids) on the PC. This feature doesn’t control the content, but rather, it limits the hours out of the week that a certain user account can log on to the computer. Let’s say, for instance, that you have a young teenage child that is home by themselves for a couple of hours before you get home from work. You don’t really want them on the PC when you’re not there, for whatever reasons (for example, homework, grounded, etc.), but you don’t know how to do this unless you start locking the PC in your bedroom. Well, with the Vista timed controls, you can simply set the controls to only allow this user account to log in between certain hours or whatever you need to give your child the time they truly need on the computer.

Before you get started, there is one thing you should do first and that is to password protect any and all accounts that have Administrative rights. It does no good to create a time frame of use if the user can simply log on using another account that is not password protected.

To password protect your Administrative accounts, go to Start, Control Panel and then select Users, Accounts and Family.

From there, click on the option to Change Windows Password and fill in the appropriate password in the field provided.

Now, for the fun stuff! In order to set a time restriction on a user account, the procedure is actually quite simple.

Go to Start, Control Panel, Users and Family.

Under the heading of Parental Control, click on the link labeled “Set up PC for any user.”

Click OK on the Windows pop up warning

You should now be at the Parental Controls window, which has a number of settings. The first one is an option to turn on Parental Controls. Choose “On to enforce current settings” and to enable the other settings.

After you do this, go down toward the bottom of the window and choose Time Limits from the list.

This will take you to a screen with a table that has days down the left side and 24 hours across the top. This table, in case you didn’t guess, represents a week and all the cells within the table represent the hours within that week.

In order to set time limits for a user, all you have to do is figure out what the hours should be that you would like to allow access to the PC and select the hours that correspond on the table. In order to highlight the cells in the table, take your mouse pointer and hover over the squares you want. Then click and drag the mouse pointer over the cells you want. This will turn the cells from white to blue, indicating that the hour is restricted and off limits to this user.

That’s it! Easy, huh?! The time limits will also give the user a 15 minute and a one minute warning to let them know that their available session is about the shut down.

Until next week, stay safe out there!

~ Chad Stelnicki