Lock down workstations so they can only use the icon that is on their desktop.

I had to install 3 XP Pro Workstations for chaueffeurs to key in their tolls and milage at the end of a shift.  I want them to use the icon placed on the desktop that launces the application they are to use.  That is all I want them to have available to them.. Nothing else.  Is there way of locking these workstations down so they use the application on the desktop and only that.  I don't want them opening up a dos prompt, internet browser, Windows Explorer, etc etc.  Please advise.  We are running Windows XP Pro SP3 on a windows Network.  
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You can use a program called Tweak UI to do this.  You can even have it open the program you want them to use when they login so that they don't even need to open it.  It can automatically open when they login and it can also hid the start menu and the desktop.
Sorry, I forgot the download link for Tweak UI.

Microsoft used to make a great software called SteadyState but it is discontinued.  You can download an old copy at the link below.

The software is great, you can lock down everything so they don't even see My Computer, Control Panel, Internet Explorer, etc.  You can also blacklist every application except the one you want them to use.

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Microsoft created Windows SteadyState that worked on XP for creating a locked-down login. It prevented users from using key combinations like Crtl-Alt-Del for calling up Task Manager and other methods of trying to "break out" of the limited desktop, and lets you configure specifically what programs can and can't be used, and appropriately hides all but only the usable ones from the Start Menu.

Microsoft no longer offers it for download, but you can find it on other sites still. MS does still provide the Handbook for it:

Instead of upgrading SteadyState for Windows 7 and/or 64-bit Windows, MS provides documentation for manually making the changes SteadyState offered an easy UI for:


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If you really want only 1 application to run, I would suggest making your app Window's custom shell

A custom shell replaces Windows Explorer, so the taskbar, desktop etc are not loaded (these are all spawned from the first instance of Explorer) - the only thing your staff will see is your own custom app

The simple way is just a registry key change...

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Open in new window

Change Shell from "explorer.exe" to the path/filename of your app e.g C:\Progra~1\MyCorpsApps\CorporateApp.exe
jvanderwAuthor Commented:
This looks too good to be true.  Will this work even if my application loads via a batch file.  I keep the batch file on the file server.  I guess I could put the batch file on the local drive, or have it point to the executable file the batch file points to.  Thanks.  I will get back to you ASAP.
Yes, that's a common way of doing it - setting your Default Shell to be a batch file, and have the batch file open your custom app
Replacing the default shell is a nifty idea. However, users will still be able to hit CRTL-ALT-DEL and open up Task Manager, which they can use to launch other programs. If you do decide to use an alternate default shell, be sure to disable Task Manager as well.

jvanderwAuthor Commented:
I realized I am going to have a problem... this looks like it might work for me except for one thing and I don't know a away around this.  Right now I am lauching this application (which is  an msdos program, running in full screen ) from an icon on a desktop.  I create the shortcut that points to the batch file which points to the application.  The problem is on the desktop shortcut I can tell windows to launch this in full screen and I can also tell in properties the window size and buffer size.  I don't know how to acomplish this using the option you gave me (which seems almost perfect for my needs)  Any ideas on how I might overcome this?  Thanks much.  -John
Ok..... So you currently have a shortcut, which uses the parameters within the shortcut to open a batch file, which opens a 16-bit DOS app running within a cmd prompt?

So, basically I take it that you need to simply say "open this app in a cmd shell, full screen"?

from a cmd prompt type "start /max cmd.exe" and see if that opens it full screen - take it from there  :-)
start /max cmd.exe /k edit

Open in new window

here opens Edit (the old DOS version of notepad) in full screen mode, so just replace Edit with your 16-bit app
Hang on a minute.... All you're running is 1x DOS app on the workstation? So bin Windows and install MS-DOS 6.22, and put your DOS app into autoexec.bat

Your workstations would run like lightning!  :-D
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