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Using Parental Controls in Vista

(Quick links)

As long as your computer is not attached to a domain, you have plenty of flexibility with parental controls. You can limit the amount of time your kids use the computer, allow only the games you feel appropriate, restrict certain web sites and keep your children from running certain programs. Below, I will break down each of these parental controls to discuss them in more depth and show you how to set up the control.

<>Limit the time your kids use the computer:

If you would like to set a parameter for your kids to use the computer. If your kids are logged on when the time limit elapses, they will automatically be logged off. You can use this control to allow only certain times of the day or even what days you will allow. Also available is a report to see who is using the computer the most. Here's how to set this up:

  1. Go to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select User Accounts
  4. Select "Set up Parental Controls" (you may receive a prompt asking for an administrative password)
  5. Select the user account that you would like to apply a time limit for
  6. Under the Parental Controls category, select "On"
  7. Select Time Limits
  8. Select the hours that you would like this user to be able to use the computer

<>Allow games by content or age rating levels:

You can control your kids gaming activities to allow them to use only games with a certain age rating or content rating level, or allow/block only certain games. Here's how to set this up:

  1. Go to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select User Accounts
  4. Select "Set up Parental Controls" (you may receive a prompt asking for an administrative password)
  5. Select the user account that you would like to apply the control to
  6. Under the Parental Controls category, select "On"
  7. Select Games

From here, if you would like to block all games, Click "No" under the "Can <user name> play games?"

Or, from here, you can block games by age rating or content rating. Following the steps 1-7 above, now select "Yes" under "Can <user name> play games?" Then, select "Set games ratings" under "Block (or allow) games by rating and content types". From here, you can either select "Block these types of content" and set the content level or select "Which ratings are ok for <user name> to play?" and set the rating level.

<>Block specific games:

You can select from a list of installed games which of these you would like to block. Here's how to set that up:

  1. Go to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select User Accounts
  4. Select "Set up Parental Controls" (you may receive a prompt asking for an administrative password)
  5. Select the user account that you would like to apply the control to
  6. Under the Parental Controls category, select "On"
  7. Select Games
  8. Select "Yes" under "Can <user name> play games?"
  9. Select "Block or allow specific games" under "Block (or allow) any game on your computer by name"
  10. You will be shown an alphabetical listing of your installed games. Select which games you would like to block and then click "Always block". All other games will be allowed to run.

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