Force network signon?

Is there anyway to force the network to be active on a  Win PC?  I am in a school environment and there is lots of great administration software.  All of them require that the computer be connected to a network.  I would like to force the PC to connect to the network.  Otherwise, students could work with their network disabled and the management software would not know that they exist.

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Can you clarify a little for me?  You mention your in a school invironment, but what the network environment?  Are you on a domain or using netware?  What about the great admoin software?  Is this software thats on the network that you want to get to work, or software you would like to use in a future case?  Can you give an example of what you would like to get to work, or the scenario you would like to end up in?  Thanks, that information may help all of the experts and yourself included come up with some sort of working solution.

I assume that you are disabling or deleting any local users, and referring to users using their domain username with their network disconnected on a machine that they have logged into previously and authenticated with the domain controller.  If you havent done that already, you need to do so.  

If you are familiar with GPO's, try enabling:

Interactive logon: Number of previous logons to cache (in case domain controller is not available)
 located under Computer configuration -> Windows Settings -> Security Options.

Set this bad boy to 0 and you should be all set.  This will basically not allow a user to log onto a computer unless it connects to a domain controller, a la a network :).  You will want to make sure that the GPO that has this setting enabled has loopback processing enabled, otherwise it could be disabled in certain GPO configuration scenarios.  Also, if you do this to a laptop, they will have to be on your network to log in, so apply this with care (and I suggest only to desktop type workstations).  

You will probably also want to set another GPO to prevent a user from logging on, then disconnecting the network connection:

Interactive Logon: Require domain controller authentication to unlock workstation, located under Computer configuration -> Windows Settings -> Security Options.  

I hope this helps.

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From your question, its obvious that you dont want the students to disable the network connection.

Use the GPO to accomplish this. It will be easy if you are on a domain, but if you are in a workgroup , you will have to do this on each and every PC that you want to prevent students from disabling network

For workgroup
Start - Run - gpedit.msc
the below attached screen will open, browse to the highlighted key and enable/disable settings as per your requirement.
you will need to run gpupdate in the commandline to update the settings immediately, or simply restart the pc.


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Until they pull the network cable...
johnfaigAuthor Commented:

Can enforcing a connection to the domain controller be set on a time basis.  For example, students have a school laptop and would need to work at home (e.g., not connected) from 6pm until the next day.  At which time, I would force a network connection during the school day (e.g., 8AM to 3pm).  
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