Why should you prevent others from changing your windows custom settings? Reasons are simple and many. We customize our Windows PC as per our requirement and choice. We chose our favorite wallpapers, install needed applications, and organize our files so that we can find it quickly, whenever we need them. But situations don’t remain same all the time. We often share our PC with our family members or friends. Sometimes, they change our customized settings as per their requirement and forget to restore them which gets quite vexing to us.
Yet we can get free of this state of affairs by putting some restriction on Windows to refrain other users from changing our custom settings. I will walk you through the various features of Windows that can be refrained for other users. We will modify or add some Windows Registry value to put these restrictions. It is always a good practice to take a backup of your Registry data so that if anything unexpected happens, it could be restored.
Basic Idea of Windows Registry
As all, we know Registry act as the brain of Windows Operating System. All processes are controlled by the Registry. It is a hierarchical database and at the top, there is “Computer” which have five Root Keys “HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT”, “HKEY_CURRENT_USER”, “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE”, “HKEY_USERS” and “HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG”. All of them contain numerous keys and sub-keys. All these keys and sub-keys hold data in the form of Value for specific operations. So, unwise editing of registry may harm your computer.
Windows registry contains 6 kinds of values. Like, “String Value”, “Binary Value”, “DWORD(32bit) Value”, “QWORD(64 bit) Value”, “Multi-String Value” and “Expandable String Value”. Different values hold different kinds of information. So, be careful before editing the Registry.
How to back up the Registry
First, open the Run (Windows logo key +R) dialog box and type “regedit”. Then, hit the enter key to open the Registry Editing Tool. Now, at the left side pane collapse all 4 keys under “Computer” and move to the “File” menu then “Export”. Select the location and give a name of your backup registry file and click the “Save” button.
How to Edit Registry
It may seem difficult to edit Windows Registry but, actually it is not. But, a serious attention is necessary. Firstly, open the Run (Windows logo key +R) dialog box and type “regedit”. Then, strike the enter key to open the Registry Editing Tool. To move through keys and subkeys, simply, double-click on the keys. If you want to add any value or key, just go to the Edit menu and select New option. Subsequently, select the respective key or value. Now, give it a name and set its value. In the Windows Registry, all these key paths are denoted like the Windows directory structure and followed by the back-slash(\).
Secure your Confidential Data from other users by Hiding any Drive
We can hide some of our drives or all of them from other users through some Registry tweaks. Follow this key-path “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Current Version\Policies\Explorer”. Now at the right pane create a DWORD Value of name “NoViewOnDrive”(Without Quote) and the value as per the following chart.
There lies a simple formula for determining the value of hiding various Drives. Just multiply the value of previous Drives value by 2 to get the next Drives value. The Drive letter starts from A and the value for A: is 1. So, by applying the formula we get B:=2, C:=4, D:=8 and so on.
However, you can hide multiple drives by entering the added value of those Drives. For instance, if you want to hide A: and C: then enter 5 (4+1), similarly enter 7 (1+2+4) to hide A:, B: and C:.
Lock Control Panel
Control Panel is the settings page of the Windows Operating System. Disabling this will prevent other users from modifying your custom settings. Follow this key path, “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Current Version\Policies\Explorer” and create a DWORD Value with the name of “NoControlPanel”(Without Quote) and set the value equal to 1.
Lock taskbar properties
To use this trick follow this key path “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Current Version\Policies\Explorer” and create a DWORD Value with the name of “NoSetTaskbar”(Without Quote) and set the value to 1.
Restrict any desired program
You can restrict any number of programs from other users of your computer. To apply this trick, move to this key path “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Current Version\Policies\Explorer”. Under the “Explorer” key makes a key value with the name of “DisallowRun”(Without Quote). Now, under “DisallowRun” key create a String Value for every program with any name and at the value field type the program name with the .exe extension. For example, if you desire to disable the ms-config program, make the string value with the name 1 and type “msconfig.exe” under ‘value’.
After completing this step move to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Current Version\Policies\Explorer” and create a DWORD Value with the name “DisallowRun”(Without Quote) and set its value 1. By this method, you can lock Command Prompt (cmd.exe) and many other applications.
To disable the autorun feature of any drives follow through this key “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Current Version\Policies\Explorer” and create a DWORD Value with the name of “NoDriveTypeAutoRun”(Without Quote) and set its value from the following list as per your requirement.
FF= Disable autorun of all drives, 20= Disable autorun on CD ROM Drives, 4=Disable autorun on removable Drives, 1= Disable autorun on unknown Drives.
Lock Windows Task Manager
Windows Task Manager is a cracking application, yet you may limit this application for other users to prevent unauthorized program ending. To disable it locate this key “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Current Version\Policies\System”. If you can’t find “System” key just create it. Create a DWORD Value inside the “System” key with the name “DisableTaskMgr”(Without Quote) and set its value to 1.
Restrict Windows Run program
You can disable the Run dialog box by this small tweak. Just follow this key “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Current Version\Policies\Explorer” and create a DWORD Value with the name “NoRun”(Without Quote) and set its value to 1.
Disable Windows Shutdown, Restart, Hibernate and Sleep command
You can forbid other users from shutting down, restart or hibernate your computer with this Registry tweak. Get this key “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Current Version\Policies\Explorer” and create a DWORD Value with the name “NoClose”(Without Quote) and set its value 1.
Disable the Registry Editor
If you desired to prevent another user to change the Registry value you may apply this trick. Stick with this key “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Current Version\Policies\System” and create a DWORD Value with the name “DisableRegistryTool”(Without Quote) and set its value 1 (if 1 does not work try 2).
After disabling the Registry Editing Tool, everyone, including you, will not be allowed to remove those restrictions, therefore you have to enable the Registry Editing Tool first. Open the Windows search program and find the “gpedit.msc” file. There at the left pane under “User Template” click on “Administrative Template”. Under this option open “System” sub-option. Now at the right pane, you will find “prevent access to registry editing tool”. At once open this and click on the “Not Configured” option on the left side to enable the Registry Editing Tool.
Hopefully, this article will help you to refrain other users of your PC from changing your customized settings. Try this, and if you find more, options feel free to share it with us.