Sunday, October 26, 2008

How to limit user hours on Windows XP

A co-worker asked me how to limit her sons internet usage on her home PC. Having 4 sons of my own, two of which use a Windows XP machine (supervised) in my house this is something I have put in place a long time ago and never thought of how many people out there might want to have this ability. Windows XP is probably one of the easiest OS to lock down and put limitations on. I say one of as I hear people talking about the new Vista systems regulations and abilities. I hear them complain about Vista more than anything else but they do speak of how it can have user accounts locked down easily.

Here are a few simple steps to lock down a specific users internet abilities. You can only lock them down to an hour and not fragments there of but here are the steps to activate user based internet use limitations:

1. Click on the Start Menu
2. Click Run
3. Type CMD in the Open textbox and click OK
4. In the command window type:

net user accountname/times:M-F,8am-8pm;Sa,8am-5pm;Su,8am-1pm

Replace “accountname” with the name of the account you wish to limit.If you have to set up an account for the user you want to limit you should exit the CMD prompt (just type exit and click enter) and set up the user account now.

The time command can be a bit tricky. Use the example above and replace the values shown with the appropriate values you wish to put in place.

A little further information regarding the break down of the format for the time command:

Time is limited to 1-hour increments.

For the day values, you can spell out the day or simply use abbreviations (abbreviations would be: M,T,W,Th,F,Sa,Su).

You can use either the standard 12-hour or 24-hour notation for setting the limitation hours. If you use 12-hour notation, use AM and PM, or A.M. and P.M.

The value all means a user can always log on. In other words if you want a user to be able to log on all day on Saturday you would edit the full line of code like this:

net user accountname/times:M-F,8am-8pm;Sa,all;Su,8am-1pm

(Keep in mind this user would then be able to log in from 12:00:00 AM on Saturday morning and stay logged on until 11:59:59 PM on Saturday night)

A null value (blank) means a user can never log on. If you wanted Saturday as a non internet usage day you would do the following:

net user accountname/times:M-F,8am-8pm;Sa, ;Su,8am-1pm

Separate day and time with commas, and units of day and time with semicolons.

(for example, M,4AM-5PM;T,1PM-3PM).

Do not use spaces when designating times. It will read the space as a null entry and block the whole day or ignore the entire statement as a bad entry.

To turn off limitations on the user

Here are the steps to turn off limitations:
1. Click on the Start Menu
2. Click Run
3. Type CMD in the Open textbox and click OK
4. In the command window type:

net user accountname /times:all

Again replace “accountname”with the name of the account you wish to lift any limitations for internet use from.

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