UPDATED JUNE 14, 2012
The executable created by the Visual Studio Express’ C# compiler is available. The zip file is available at Security1. It should be fairly straightforward to use.
It should work in all versions of Windows starting from Windows XP that can execute the net user command on the command line.
It should work without any need to download any additional Microsoft libraries. Although, this is the first program that I have ever created using any Visual Studio tools.
A brief explanation of how this program works:
- The list of users will be extracted from your Windows computer. Therefore, you only need to choose the user to restrict the time for. Fortunately, Windows has a command that extracts this information for you. Any user with a $ sign in front of it is a group. DO NOT change the times for any group unless you know EXACTLY what the group is!!!
- Clicking on show user will show the current time restrictions.
- Restrict all will ban the user from the computer at all times and restrict none will make the computer available 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
- GO will create the time restrictions based on the times you have chosen in the up/down number boxes.
- The actual command executed on the command line will be shown at the bottom of the dialog box for debugging purposes.
I have to admit. It was fun to work with C#. Furthermore, the program is quite simple to make. It is only a matter of figuring out what you want to do and finding help online from various programming websites. Mainly MSDN.
Remember to scan this file for viruses. Microsoft Security Essentials (free) is available. Every file, even from a trusted source, must be scanned. I cannot guarantee that this file did not get modified by some unknown user.
I scan every program I download whether it is from CNET or Microsoft. It is a force of habit for me.
UPDATED June 7, 2012
I am in the process of creating a Windows graphical version to restrict user times. This will work in Windows 7 and possibly Vista and XP. The Visual C# distributable may have to be installed to run the program since it is going to be created in C# in Visual Studio Express, http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/en-us/products/2010-editions/express, which is free. It will take some time for me to learn the C# language.
This graphical version will execute all commands on the command line. Furthermore, all output will be shown to the user in a Windows dialog box. Therefore, there will be no need to open the command prompt. This program will do all the command line executions.
The current GUI will look like the picture below. There maybe some additional functionality added once I get the actual functions working.
I have gotten a “System error 5 has occurred. Access is denied.” error message” in Windows 7. The following video solved the problem. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkEYDnSP1uQ
It maybe possible that you will have to suppress all messages related to doing administrative changes to your computer. Therefore, going to user accounts -> Change user account control settings -> Never notify may solve the problem with “Unable to make changes to parental control settings. If problem persists, see your system administrator“.
Unfortunately, I do not recommend leaving the settings at never notify. Therefore, if it works, use never notify to make the changes to parental controls and then go back to the default. This will ensure that the Windows security measures remain intact.
For Windows Vista users, turning User Account Control off should work.
When it comes to Windows 7 and Windows Vista, people seem to have problems with parental controls not working in Windows at times. The exact error message is, “Unable to make changes to parental control settings. If problem persists, see your system administrator“. Fortunately, there is a partial solution that can be used.
I have provided a tutorial for Windows XP that restricts the users time. Fortunately, Windows Vista and Windows 7 both use the net user command. Therefore, the following can be used. http://asecurepc.com/Restrict%20Times.html. For Windows 7 and Windows Vista, you will have to right click on the command prompt icon and click on Run as administrator to get the commands to work.
For other commands that can be useful, http://asecurepc.com/TOC%20Restrict%20Computer%20Usage.html will help. I have my Windows Vista and Windows 7 computers setup for automatic shutdown at certain times.
Until we can figure out what is causing the problem, the above tutorial will have to do.
Microsoft seems to have put parental controls under the Windows Live collection of programs. Therefore, downloading and installing Windows Live maybe an option. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/Protecting-your-kids-with-Family-Safety