XP "Time Quota"...

Discussion in 'Windows Desktop Systems' started by scriptasylum, Mar 14, 2003.

  1. scriptasylum

    scriptasylum Moderator

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    Is there a built-in feature (or perhaps a third party app) that will apply a time quota to the users of an XP box?

    This is my story:
    I have 4 kids who share the same PC. The problem is they are always fighting because "sibling1 has been on for 3 hours", or "sibling2 has been on twice and I haven't used it yet", etc etc.

    It's getting to be a pain in the butt to hear this all the time and I want a way for the computer to be the "bad guy" and tell them to log off instead of "evil dad". :)

    What I would like to do is allocate a maximum of, say, 3 hours of login time per person. When that time is reached, it simply logs the user off and doesn't allow them to log in again until the next day (or an admin changes the time limit). It would also be sorta nice if there would be a warning message about 5 minutes before the logoff time.

    There is a drive space quota but I cannot find anything about a time quota. I even browsed through the policy settings but couldn't find anything there either. A google search turns up nothing too.
     
  2. muzikool

    muzikool Act your wage. Political User

    I've never heard of such a thing, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. That would turn out to be a pretty handy tool though, so I hope that someone can give you more help than I can.

    Another solution: Buy 3 more computers. :D
     
  3. scriptasylum

    scriptasylum Moderator

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    I already have 3 computers: One for me, one for the wife, and one for the kids. The wife got her own when she was using mine too much for playing Pogo online :rolleyes:, and the kids got their own because they are kids and somehow find ways to destroy stuff. :)
     
  4. Kevin Ar18

    Kevin Ar18 OSNN Senior Addict

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    Hmm, I heard about something like this built into Windows XP.... Not sure where I read about it.

    Basically the way it works is that it set certain times of the day ou could use that account... or was it the internet? :) Maybe it limited the internet. :) Sorry, can't remember.
     
  5. Kevin Ar18

    Kevin Ar18 OSNN Senior Addict

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  6. JohnnyGreb

    JohnnyGreb Guest

    I'm pretty sure it's in the group policy.
    Start --> Run... gpedit.msc

    Be careful though as it's possible to lock yourself out of the computer (along with all other users).

    I've also heard at one point that is it supposedly not possible to auto logout a user, but you can prevent the user from logging in during certain times of day. I remember that applying to NT4, so not sure about XP.

    Hoepfully that's a start, but I'm no expert, and I can't stress enough to be careful. I was playing around with group policies on Win98 a couple years ago, I fubar'd my computer so I had to do a clean re-install. A third party program might be better in this case.

    -Ryandor
     
  7. Kevin Ar18

    Kevin Ar18 OSNN Senior Addict

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    If they do not know much about Windows XP, you could set up a series of scheduled tasks to peform what you need.

    The only problem is that it would limit them to a specific time of the day and not a certain number of hours at whatever time of their choosing during the day.



    Here's how you might do it:

    Go to scheduled tasks and add the following to each account:

    [[1]] Go through the wizard and pick anything you want to. You are gonna customize it later. Just keep hitting next.
    Now find the one you just created
    1. Rename it to "Logoff Warning"
    2. Go into the properties and change the following:
    Run: Put in the following: net send "Your computer time will end in 3 minutes!"
    Start in: just delete that
    Run as: make sure this is set to the following format: COMPUTERNAME\Login_Name
    Beside "Run as: click on set password and enter the password for that username. You must have a password set for the usernames or it won't run.
    3. Go to the "Schedule" tab
    4. Set to Daily
    5. Set the Start Time to 3 minutes before you want them to log off
    6. Set it to every 1 day
    7. Go to the "Settings" tab
    8. You can probably uncheck everything in there.

    There's your message.

    [[2]]Add another Scheduled task, same way as before - select anything and just keep hitting next.
    1. Rename it to "Logoff"
    2. Go into the properties and change the following:
    Run: Click on "browse..." and look for logoff.exe in the \WINDOWS\system32\ folder. You can probably manually ender the following: C:\WINDOWS\system32\logoff.exe
    Start in: just delete that
    Run as: make sure this is set to the following format: COMPUTERNAME\Login_Name
    Beside "Run as: click on set password and enter the password for that username if there is one - otherwise it won't run
    3. Go to the "Schedule" tab
    4. Set the task to "Daily"
    5. For the Start time: set it to whenever you want that person's computer time to end. -- this should be three minutes or whatever amount you choose after the warning.
    6. Click on the "Advanced..." button.
    7. Check the option to "Repeat task"
    8. Set it to Every: 1 minutes
    9. Untile (select "Duration:"). Now here's the tricky part. How many hours do you want them to use the computer? Say you want to allow them to use it betwen 5pm and 8pm. that means earlier you set the Start Time to 8pm, however you don't want to allow them to get on until 5pm tomorrow. So, how many hours away is that? 21 hours (24-3hrs), so you would set the duration to 21 hours
    10. Click OK
    11. Make sure it repeats every 1 day
    12. Go to the "Settings" tab.
    13. Uncheck everything.
    Hit OK.



    If you want to, you can remove the "Scheduled Tasks" from the Start Menu, but there are always ways to get to it.
     
  8. scriptasylum

    scriptasylum Moderator

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    Location:
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    Thanks everyone for the responses. The "TooMuchPC" seems like a winner. It has all the features I am looking for (on paper at least). I'm gonna try the trial and see how it goes...

    I know the kids won't like this one bit! :cool:
     
  9. XP Abuser

    XP Abuser Guest

    ok script asylum i got just the thing for you hope its what you want

    run cmd. type shutdown add the parameters required easy peezy plus uses less resources
    :cool:
     
  10. scriptasylum

    scriptasylum Moderator

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    Thanks! :rolleyes:

    I know, I'll just tell the kids to do that when their time is up. :rolleyes: :cool:
     
  11. Mr. Ass

    Mr. Ass Guest

    longhorn 4008 has that feature built in
     
  12. scriptasylum

    scriptasylum Moderator

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    Location:
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    Too bad longhorn is a ways off.

    Well, I tried that program "TooMuchPC" and found it has issues. First of all, it won't let the kids sign off... sometimes. It's kinda weird. Sometimes it will let them log out, and sometimes it just returns them to the desktop when they try. I have to kill the process for the program when that happens. :confused:

    Then, sometimes, XP will not boot. It will stay on the blue scrolling bar forever until I reset. Weird. After I uninstalled the program everything returned to normal.

    I really wish it would have worked though because it looks like it had all the features I wanted! I will email the author, maybe he has some ideas.
     
  13. Kevin Ar18

    Kevin Ar18 OSNN Senior Addict

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    Can you set it to specific times of the day or does it need to be a certain amount of time per day anytime?
     
  14. scriptasylum

    scriptasylum Moderator

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    Location:
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    Well, ideally, I'd like it to keep track of the cumulative time each of them has been on the PC, no matter when they log on. Setting a certain time for each child would work I guess, but if they happen to not be available during that time, then they would lose their turn. I don't want to be a d**k about it either, I just want everyone to have their fair share of time without having to set my stopwatch.

    No matter how long one kid have been on the PC, I always hear: "But I just got on...". :rolleyes:

    I downloaded the trial copy of PCTimeCop which seems to do what I want (so far). Currently, the time limit is set for 3 hours but that will probably be reduced to 2 hours each since I have 4 kids.
     
  15. XP Abuser

    XP Abuser Guest

    just wire the chair up to a timer that when the time is up releases the mains voltage into their ass. trust me theyll be off there an hour early:blink:
     
  16. scriptasylum

    scriptasylum Moderator

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    hehe, that sounds like something I would do, but I think the missus might object, not to mention some little technicality called "the law". :D
     
  17. Kevin Ar18

    Kevin Ar18 OSNN Senior Addict

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    Since you are having problems with that other program, here's something that you might like even better:

    http://www.akrontech.com/wgpage1.html

    I did a google search for "limit time on computer" and got this on the second page.
     
  18. scriptasylum

    scriptasylum Moderator

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Thanks!

    Although that program seems to focus on limiting time on a specific program. In my case, I just want to limit their total time on the PC, no matter what they are doing. They do not have online access yet, so filtering is not a concern. Even when I do get broadband, I most probably will not allow them access to the internet. There just seems to be too much crap out there for them to get into trouble. Plus I don't want them downloading everything under the sun just because they can.

    So far, the PCTimeCop program I've tried seems to do the trick. It also has the ability to limit access to certain programs, but I could do that myself with XP's built-in access tools if I wanted to. All the programs on their PC is usable by all 4 kids and each has their own login/password (I even put a pic of each kid on the welcome screen to make it easy).

    Anyway, PCTimeCop is easy to set up and use. Here's the link in case anyone is interested: http://www.pctimecop.com/pc_timecop_with_watchdog_compu.html

    Thanks everyone for their input!

    It would be really nice if Windows had this feature built-in. It seems like it would be a logical addition for the "home" edition of XP considering its target audience.
     
  19. bigtwix

    bigtwix Guest

    LOGIN QUOTAS

    you could setup a domain controller, using win2k with active directory, which would control ur other pc's in ur home. that would allow u to set when a username could or couldnot login, dunno if thats a good idea for you, but its a idea
     
  20. Kevin Ar18

    Kevin Ar18 OSNN Senior Addict

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    Locking you out of a program is just one of their options. They also allow you to set a general overal time limit for their session on the computer. It has so many more customizable options that you may find useful in the future. Also, because that other program was giving you problems, then you might not want to use a program that has problems and instead try another.