Microsoft

Decision Support: School district wants to restrict NT/XP Shut Down options

Read about one IT Pros dilemma about limiting user options in a school environment.


When supporting open environments such as computer labs, training rooms, and public computer kiosks, tightly controlling how end users interact with workstations can significantly reduce support calls. Such control often includes removing the user's ability to access or change OS settings, eliminating the user's ability to install software, preventing the user from accessing a command console, and even restricting if and how a user can shut down the workstation. Such is the dilemma for TechRepublic member Tandmres who turned to our Technical Q&A for help.

"We are in a school setting and are trying to configure Windows XP so the Stand By option is not available in the Shut Down menu. Does anyone know how to do this?" Tandmres asked.

The real story
Tandmres works in a Canadian K-12 school district for network administrator Paul Melrose-Wyatt. When we contacted Melrose-Wyatt for more information about the problem, he said that less tech-savvy end users often believe a computer to be broken when running in Stand By or Hibernation mode.

Because he supports several different schools, Melrose-Wyatt said it often takes him quite some time to get to a "broken" computer. When he does, and the machine is not actually broken, but only in Stand By mode, he's wasted a trip and the kids have lost time they could have spent on that computer.

"I have found out how to remove the Hibernation mode, but so far I haven't been able to remove the Stand By option," Melrose-Wyatt said. To get this problem, he has considered removing all Shut Down options for students, in which case if the computer needed rebooting, the students would have to press the power button.

"In Windows XP I can set the computer to do the Shut Down sequence when the power button is pressed. This will solve the problem in XP, but I run a mixed environment of Windows XP and Windows NT workstations," Melrose-Wyatt said.

"To my knowledge, I can't [change] the power settings in Windows NT to perform a graceful shutdown when the power button is pressed."

So Melrose-Wyatt has two questions:
  • How do you remove Stand By options in XP?
  • How do you make NT workstations go through the proper Shut Down sequence when the power button is pushed?

Microsoft Knowledge Base offers no help
In response to Tandmres Technical Q&A post, TechRepublic member Lizzy suggested the Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q292504, "Policy Settings for the Start Menu in Windows XP." This article describes several ways to customize the Windows XP Start menu, including how to:
  • Disable the simple Start menu.
  • Remove the pinned programs list from the Start menu.
  • Remove the frequent programs list.
  • Remove common program groups.
  • Gray installer program shortcuts in the Start menu.
  • Disable and remove Windows Update links.
  • Remove user folders from the menu.
  • Remove Recent Documents item.
  • Clear Recent Documents history on exit.
  • Remove Network Places from the Start menu.
  • Remove the Run item from the menu.
  • Disable Logoff in the Start menu.
  • Disable and remove Turn Off Computer.
  • Disable and remove the Undock PC button.

With these and several other ways to customize the Windows Start Menu, you would think disabling the Stand By option would be discussed. But it's not. So to solve this problem we're turning to you.

Solve the problem and win a TechRepublic coffee mug
If you know how to solve either or both of Tandmres and Melrose-Wyatt's problems, a TechRepublic coffee mug could be yours. Just post your solution in the discussion below. The two solutions that Melrose-Wyatt says best meet his requirements will win. If more than one person submits the same or significantly similar correct answers, the first answer received will win.

In the event that no one is able to solve these puzzles, TechRepublic will send Tandmres and Melrose-Wyatt each a coffee mug. They're probably going to need all the caffeine they can get to support those "broken" machines.

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