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How can I prevent a user from erasing the URL history of sites visited?

How can I prevent a Win XP desktop user from erasing the URL history of sites visited? Also, can you recommend an easy and low-cost way of keeping a log of sites visited by each desktop in a small LAN of five users on a Win2k server?

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There are a couple of ways to prevent a user from erasing the URL history. The first is to use a policy to disable access to Internet Explorer's controls, which can be found in the Group Policy manager under Administrator Templates | Windows Components | Internet Explorer | Internet Control Panel. Another approach, which is more granular (i.e., precise), is to edit the Registry directly on the machine(s) in question to keep the history from being editable. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftInternet ExplorerControl Panel and add or edit a DWORD value named History; set it to 1

The second problem, logging sites visited, is something best done through a firewall or network appliance that supports logging of user actions. Microsoft ISA Server, for instance, can log user activity to a database.

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This was first published in November 2004

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