There are countless circumstances where using a Windows 7 installation in a full desktop capacity is totally inappropriate. Basically it just doesn’t make a lick of sense and should be avoided at all costs. This leaves us with the option of not offering Windows availability due to fear of potential problems with abuse or finding a way to lock things down in such a way as not to allow for any “surprises” with public use of a PC.

One of the most common ways of doing this is through something called Windows 7 Kiosk Mode. Not something to be setup without first backing up your computer’s registry, it’s actually not too intensive once you get past the fact that a registry edit is one of the common methods used. With that, here are the steps needed.

1) Open up your regedit tool.

2) With registry editor open, you’re going to browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon

3) From this point, go ahead and create a new string with this sequence. Edit > New > String Value then add IgnoreShiftOverride

4) At this stage, you’ll double click the new value, adding 1 and then hitting OK. Doing this basically adds some security and prevents folks from bypassing the automatic login.

5) Still in the same place, next you’re going to add a DWORD to the mix. Edit > New > DWORD (32-bit) Value then name the new value ForceAutoLogon

6) Now double click this new value, type 1 (like before) and again, click OK. This will ensure the PC logs itself back in automagically even if the users tries to log it out. Like magic!

From here, just end your registry editor session and you should be good. Try to logout to test things.

Locking down the computer

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Kai Hendry

To lock things down, you’ll want to take a gander at the Group Policy tool. While a bit overly complicated, this will give you the tools you need to restrict how the Windows 7 install is setup. If this is too much for you, try installing Ubuntu instead and have the entire thing locked down in less than 1o minutes.