Secure Family Computers with Kiosk Mode

Like most families out there, you’re likely working within either a Windows or OS X world. And why not? Much of what both platforms offer can be incredibly cool. But more often than not, families overdo things with the latest and greatest, which oftentimes translates into young and old alike installing malware without even being aware of it. You would be amazed at how often users are running as administrators, foolishly trusting that some security suite is going to keep them safe.

Sometimes setting up a kiosk just makes sense. There’s just too little value in trying to salvage a dying horse. The really good news is that you don’t have to fork over some insane cost to do this, either. Thanks to the different Linux options out there, a usable kiosk solution can be set up for free.

Family Computers In Kiosk Mode
CC licensed Flickr photo shared by Kai Hendry


While certainly a bit overkill in many circumstances, if there is one main PC in the house used for the Internet only, then going with a kiosk solution from Webconverger makes a whole lot of sense. Designed to be more browser than OS, Webconverger provides a very solid solution for those who honestly just use the computer to handle email and Web stuff like Facebook and Twitter. That said, it may be too limited for most people.

This brings us to our next solution. Being less heavy handed and sometimes simply opting for a locked down system approach can do wonders. In short, take an existing OS and make it a limited-user, account-only type of deal. Clearly, you as the admin will be the one to allow them to install vetted software and games. But this, alone, will cut down on the level of stupid which which you were previously being confronted.

Limited user account Windows 7

In my opinion, if users would simply use Limited User accounts for daily Web based stuff, like on Windows, life would be a whole lot simpler. The best part is setting this up is brain dead simple.

While logged in as the admin, do the following:

  1. Click on the Windows “Start” icon.

  2. Click on Control panel.
  3. Add or remove user accounts under “User Accounts and Family Safety.”
  4. Create the new account, give it a name and select standard user.
  5. Click on the Create Account button. You’re all done.

Either of the options above will work. The first solution is best suited for the small business environment when offering users free access to the Web and so on. The second is likely to be the best option for the home user. In both cases, no one is running wild with admin privileges.

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