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How do I "lock-down" Excel, Word and Outlook from User Changes

Posted on 2004-04-27
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
I am building an application that will be accessible from inside and outside the firm.  Apps will be running under Terminal Services.  I want to lock down the three apps so users cannot make changes.  They will have to stay in their own directories and not see any other directories, AND not be able to change settings within the app to provide themselves access to other information.

Thanks...

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Question by:rayva
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5 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Steiner
ID: 10935743
I guess this can't be done. I've seen lots of people spending months on that problem, trying so "secure" those apps, but there are still enough way around that "security", so I think it's not worth the time.

But if you still want to give it a try, a good point to start from is the command replacement using VBA (it works at least in Office97). There you have the possibility to replace the integrated commands (like FileOpen) with your own code.
To do that, go to the VBA-Editor, create a new module and insert a sub like that:

Sub DateiÖffnen ()
msgbox "Won't work!"
End Sub

Replace DateiÖffnen with the menu and command name of your Word Version (eg. FileOpen). Now Word should execute your code when the user clicks on File open (even works with Shortcuts). Now you'll have to go through each "dangerous" command and replace it with tha functionality you want it to have.
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Author Comment

by:rayva
ID: 10939571
Steiner,

Thanks for your reponse even though it wasn't the news I wanted to hear.  

Given that I just want to keep each user in his or her own directory and hide all other directories from view, do you still feel this is not worth the time that it will take?

R
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LVL 11

Accepted Solution

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Steiner earned 1000 total points
ID: 10946125
It depends on your goals and your users I think. If you just want to GUIDE the users so they don't use the wrong directory I think it should be just enough to replace the FileOpen and FileSaveAs commands by your own dialog. Therefore you should create a userform (eventually even an InputBox should be enough) where the user can enter a filename. Your programm then just adds a given path (next problem: where to get that from??) and saves the file right away.

But if you want to PROHIBIT access to other directorys, you'll have to think about many other problems: Disabling the VBA-Editor (that's complicated enough because there are many way to activate it), disabling all file-boxes where the user can enter a path directly, cutting down the windows explorer (because the user could just create a .doc using the explorer, double click on it, edit it and save it right away, remember that the Explorer can be started by the context menu of most file-dialogs). Then of course you have to assure that the user has no possibility to start Word without your modifications and a lot more to think of...

I think it would be far easier (and more secure!!) to use system permissions (NTFS, user privileges etc) to cut down access to the directories rather than trying to hide them using Word / Excel.
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Author Comment

by:rayva
ID: 11008427
Sorry for the delay in responding.

Points are yours.

After doing some "menu cruisin'" I have to agree with you.  It would be next to impossible to block all the avenues of escape from a lock down.  

NTFS permissions is the route I'll try.

Thanks,
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:Steiner
ID: 11012142
Sorry I could not give a better answer... but thanks for points and grade anyway!

I've seen people here trying to lock down Office for quite a while now. After they started it became kind of a sport for the users to go around all measures our people could come up with. So far it stands about 15:0 for the users ;-((. One problem is, if you lock down too many features you could use Notepad as well...
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