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Screen saver/ wall paper policy

By tech06 ·
We're in the process of upgrading all Win98 machines to WinXP and our IT dept is thinking about imposing user policy on those machines by restricting changing of the screen saver and wallpaper that users brought from home. At the same time we'll implement a policy but not sure to what extend the rules have to be. We're a small/medium business with about 70 LAN users. Could someone please shed their experience in dealing with restricting screensaver on work computers? Do you disallow ALL screen savers or just the ones from outside the company?
Thanks for all input:)

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A happy worker is a productive worker

by jdmercha In reply to Screen saver/ wall paper ...

I hate restricting my users. Sometimes I have to, but I prefer to educate rahter than restrict.

My users are restricted from installing any software, but they are free to make any changes to their desktop and screensaver, that don't require software installation.

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sounds about right

by Tink! In reply to A happy worker is a produ ...

Being I've never had more than 15 users, and currently only have 5, I've never actually implemented a formal policy. But once did have to install a customized company screensaver on all machines because the President didn't like one employee's scantily clad Christina Aguilera screensaver.

Restriction of outside screensavers sounds about right. Allowing employees to customize their computers using only the pre-loaded options is good. It allows them some freedom of choice but within controlled boundaries.

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installing screensavers from web

by Dr Dij In reply to A happy worker is a produ ...

brings spyware. add siteadvisor plugin then goto google and search for screensavers

you'll see a large# bring activex spyware onto your system (the red checked sites).

one problem we have is that users endlessly change their PCs settings. I suppose if it makes them happy.

I'd restrict ability to install new ones tho because of spyware. the OS selection is pretty limited tho. maybe you can give them an approved sites list.

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Screen Saver Advocate

by donaldcoe In reply to installing screensavers f ...

I have read many of these blogs, which saddens me to think why the problems with workstation maintenance are in such a state of confusion.

First I want to say, ?That I am a Screen Saver Advocate? and for desktop wallpapers that show good taste and that do not harm the workspace public. Being in the IT business since before it was an IT business and or when no one really cared since they had nothing to look at anyway and when the first VGA monitors use to show that burned in look of screen images be they text or organizational logos. From a maintenance point of view it was pure good sense to activate some form of screen saver. No one seems to notice that every version of Windows since version 3.1 screensaver assortments were offered freely by Microsoft with the operating system installation including a select few of background images.

I now work in an environment that promotes locking down workstations that user?s cannot even perform simple maintenance optimization tweaks such as ?hard drive defragmentation?. To me, we should be concerned about maintaining the operational performances thus the overall longevity of the PC not how best to keep a job.

I have learned that No One likes a Plan John or Jane, just take a look in the parking lot how many of the same style-color-cardboard boxes do you see. It is my bet you don?t see more than two.

Cut with the spyware claims because we all know that's BULL.

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Try this:

by Dr Dij In reply to Screen Saver Advocate

Get the siteadvisor plugin. (mcafee - siteadvisor.com)
search for screensavers on google.
you'll see about 60% ARE infected with spyware.

why should users be performing defrags? they are not in IT and not equipped to diagnose problems. sure they are generally good. Kind of like a driver saying 'I hear a noise from transmission, why don't I change the air filter'

sure we should be concerned with keeping PCs alive. but that's not the end users concern, and spyware reduces that life.

And you're right on with the last comment. My horror is that everyone will start thinking the same. we'll all drive the same cars, go home to the same houses... I don't know if you read CS Lewis sci fi where they went to a planet where exactly this was happening.

But at work, PCs owned by the company are not the place for personalization since it's been demonstrated to 1) waste endless time of end users constantly changing wallpaper and screensavers, 2) LOTS of screensavers, i.e. whole websites are dedicated to installing spyware. maybe not keyloggers but definitely registry and performance destroying pop-up ad spyware.

Kind of like letting your kids go where ever they want, so that they can feel like un-restricted free spirits, but not telling them to keep out of seedy neighborhoods where they get robbed.

edited to show actual google results, search for 'screensavers':
sponsored hits (two)
worldwildlife.org/wallpaper - green
screensavers.com - many spyware downloads
top hits (in order)
screensavers.com - still a spyware site
screensaver.com - at least one spyware download
freesaver.com - links to spyware sites
screensavershot.com - links to spyware sites
reallyslick.com - apparently no spyware
elitesavers.com - links to spyware sites
aaascreensavers.com - at least 10 spyware downloads
nytimes.com/partners/screensavers - spyware free
g4tv.com - spyware free
screensavers.zdarma.sk - spyware free

- this was just the first page and more than HALF had spyware.

you really didn't know, did you?

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Grinch

by tekwar007 In reply to Try this:

Inappropriate material is one thing, but if someone wants to put an appropriate picture of their family on their desktop, so be it. Why does a user do a defrag? That's got to be one of the dumbest questions I've seen from an IT related person!! You obviously believe everyone but an IT person is an idiot. And just how dangerous is doing a defrag? I haven't seen one yet that caused the end of the world. Wake up - ease up, let people have lives!!

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no dumb questions, just dumb users

by Dr Dij In reply to Grinch

we even had an IT guy whose answer to everything is to do a defrag even if they have an unrelated problem; and who's being a grinch with 'dumbest question' stuff? IT should schedule defraggers to run automatically after people leave, not to slow them down. dumb or smart, end users are not responsible for their PC.

I could do an oil change but should I on a company car? should the maintenance dept think I'm dumb because company policy won't let me change the oil in a company car?

and as someone else mentioned in this thread, 'appropriate' picture of their family quickly turns into 'appropriate' swimsuit model or naked centerfold.

they can put a picture of their loved one on their desk. no reason for it on the COMPANY owned PC. PCs get moved about and swapped. sometimes someone has to come in and work on another persons PC for a while. should everything be hard to see because of background pix, for the other person?

if they were smart, companies could allow personalization not to the PC but via the login to network. then whatever PC the person was working on would show up with their settings, and not for temp workers or for someone else logged into their PC.

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How many users WANT to do a defrag?

by Tink! In reply to Grinch

I agree with Dr. Dij in that users should not be doing defrags. The IT department should schedule these outside of work hours.

Besides 90% of end users, including those who know HOW to defrag, don't WANT that responsibility, or the to take the time to do it. And the company certainly doesn't want them to be losing productivity to do defrags.

As for personal pics on the computer, I agree in a larger company with many computers, one should NOT put personal items on the computer. You just never know when something will happen to your computer and that personal stuff gets put into someone else's hands.

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I agree...

by tech06 In reply to How many users WANT to do ...

If I'm not mistaken, administrator's right is required in order to defrag (at least on Windows 2000/XP machine). If we let the users defrag, doesn't that mean they'll have the admin authority and who knows what else can happen if they abused the power...??

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Depends on location of PC

by thefrown In reply to Screen saver/ wall paper ...

We will use a standard wallpaper and blank screensaver on PCs that are in public-facing areas. Otherwise, we let give our users a certain amount of freedom with wallpaper (however in Local Government our users have to abide by a "Dignity at Work" policy so nudity/violence/religious/racist etc stuff that may offend a colleague is out). We also restrict screen savers to those supplied with Windows; as we don't allow our users to install their own software or update the OS.

We consider locking the machine with a password protected screen saver after 15 minutes of inactivity to be more important, so all machines will lock after 15 minutes inactivity, 5 minutes for machines in public areas. Whilst this is a poor substitute for good training, it does offer an individual some degree of protection against someone using their logon should they be called away from their desk in a hurry.

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