Windows 7 has built in parental controls that allow you to control certain aspects of your computer. This is ideal if you don’t want your children accessing certain programs or more importantly don’t want them to access to computer as certain times, such as at night when the computer is in their room.
It is also worth double checking that the account you want to set the controls up on is a standard account and not an administrator account as parental controls can only be set on standard accounts. This limits what can be installed and run on the computer regardless of parental control settings too and is generally considered safer for regular daily use.
Windows 7 Parental Controls are easy to setup and they also allow you to add additional controls such as third party web filtering and activity monitoring tools.
So let’s look at how you can setup Windows 7 Parental Controls.
To start with you need to be sure that you are logged in as an administrator and that all administrator accounts on the computer are password protected.
Open the control panel and select the parental controls icon. If your screen does not look like ours you can go to the top of the control panel page where it says View by: and change it to large icons.
Next select the account that you want to setup parental controls on. In our screenshot we have selected Test User. Remember that the account has to be a standard account and not an administrator account.
The next screen is the setting screen where you can set the windows 7 parental controls. You will see that on the right hand side there are currently no parental controls set. The first thing you need to do is make sure the blue dot under parental controls is in “On enforce current settings”
The first part we will look at is Time Limits. Click time limits.
Once you have clicked on time limits you are presented with a grid with days and times as in the image below. This grid allows you to select when access will be allowed or blocked to the account.
Blue = Blocked
White = Allowed
You can see in our screenshot below we have restricted access between the hours of 8PM and 6AM Mon – Fri but let our children have a couple more hours at the weekend by restricting between the hours of 10PM and 6AM. To add a block area just click and hold down the left mouse button and then drag it. Ones set as you want click Ok to take you back to the previous screen.
The next section is Games. This section allows you to control the games that are played by this user. This comes in useful if you have age related games like Guild Wars 2 Or Max Payne 3 which are rated for a mature audience and you may want to keep them away from but allow them to play other installed games like The Sims 3.
You can do this by using the block or allow specific games link near the bottom. You can also set games via their rating although this tends to not be as effective. Once you have done select OK.
The final option allows you to set the programs a user can use. By default they are allowed to use all programs but my manually selecting you can limit what programs can be used. For example you may not want them using a P2P program that is installed. It is difficult to go into deep explanations with this filter as all computers run different programs. When you have finished press OK to return to the main window.
That’s it. The user account is now configured to use Windows 7 Parental Controls. To modify or change these settings the user will need to know the administrator password to change settings.
==== About the Author ====
Craig runs a computer repair business and also writes for and owns www.computerlearnhow.com which offers tutorials, guides, and general help such as Hard drive failure – repair and recover data and other great articles.