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Restrict users to specific applications

I want to set up a Terminal Services environment. However, I wish to restrict users to only be able to see and run their specific applications. For example, users should only see icons for Word, Excel and Outlook on their desktops. They should not have access to anything else including Start, Control Panel, etc. Is this possible?

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If you're using Active Directory you can lock down a terminal session fairly well by applying the group policies descriibed here: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;278295&Product=win2000. If you're using Windows Server 2003, you can also take advantage of Software Restriction Policies to prevent applications from executing without permission. For a simpler solution independent of the operating system and domain structure, there are also third-party products such as triCerat's Simplify Lockdown that hide applications unless you've explicitly enabled them to run in a session and prevent users from exploiting back doors to run unauthorized applications.

This was first published in January 2004

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