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Most users only use a small percentage of the
features on their computers; they never touch many of the items in
the Start menu, on the Desktop, or in other aspects of the user
interface. By removing items that don’t get used, you simplify the
user’s computing experience. You can also remove access to items
the user shouldn’t be able to access, helping them avoid potential
user-inflicted problems.

One of the easiest ways to remove interface
items is through group policy settings. In a domain environment,
you can configure these policies at a domain or organizational unit
level to control GUI properties across the network. On smaller
networks or individual computers in a workgroup, you can use local

Go to Start | Run, and enter GPEDIT.MSC to open the
Group Policy console focused on the local computer. The User
Configuration | Administrative Templates policy branch contains
several policies that affect Windows’ appearance. For example, the
Windows Explorer branch enables you to hide drives in My Computer,
change the items that display in Network Places, and make many
other changes.

Likewise, the Start Menu and Taskbar branch
offer many policies that let you control the appearance of the
Start menu and the Taskbar. For example, you can force the addition
or removal of items from the Start menu, prevent logon from the
Start menu, disable drag-and-drop for the Start menu, and make many
other changes.

If you want to control the user interface for
novice or problem users, take some time to explore the policies in
the User Configuration | Administrative Tools branch. You’ll find a
wealth of policies to put you back in control.