How would you set-up internet computers for public commercial use?
March 27, 2009 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Software solutions for setting up an internet cafe/kiosk computers?

To set-up a network of 2-4 computers, as well as a entirely separate one of 7-10.

They both must be Windows-based and low-maintenance.

(I saw there was previously this on the subject here, but that thread is over three years old, and imaginably there are new/better solutions.)

Suggestions? Recommendations?
posted by humannaire to Technology (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I used a piece of software called Site Kiosk ten years ago to setup some internet terminals used by students at UCLA in a public space and in six months of running it, we never had a student bypass the security. They still make the software and I would say it's worth every penny.
posted by mathowie at 9:57 AM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

There are a few threads about this kind of thing already. Some are worth reading.

The minimum would be this:

1. Create a user account (this account is not an admin nor a power user, just a user) Make sure to put a strong password on the Administrator account.
2. Configure their profile.
3. Use gpedit.msc and remove whatever UI items you want to hide from them. Look under User Config > Admin Templates > Desktop and also under Control Panel. Id hide a lot of UI stuff, hide the control panel, etc. Definitely hide the Run command and disable task manager.
4. Put an AV on there. AVG is free.
5. Set automatic updates to run at 2am or so, so it can reboot and install updates.
6. Disable the server service, computer browser service, remote registry service, and messenger service. All these here are safe to disable.
7. Set the firewall to disallow file and print sharing. By default it allows it for your lan subnet. Remote assistance should be blocked too.
8. Make an image of your installs just in case you need to reimage them. Or use Windows Steady State.

Thats should give you a pretty secure little machine. It will at least stop casual abuse.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:17 AM on March 27, 2009

I am with odinsdream. I am a network admin of a library and I also use deepfreeze. Much better and easier then windows steady state.

We have all our public computers with deep freeze they shutdown at 9pm come back on at 3 am unfrozen install updates via wsus and reboot frozen at 830am.

Use group policy to lockdown the computers. use a free virus scan and you should be set.

With deepfreeze once you freeze the machine and somebody screws it up all it takes is a reboot.
posted by majortom1981 at 1:14 PM on March 27, 2009

3rd'ing DeepFreeze. I worked in a K-12 school district and used it in computer labs from Kindergarten to High School and it worked amazingly well.

If you can't afford the price, you might also look at Microsofts "Steady State" (although I've never used it personally, it purports to accomplish the same thing, and I believe its free)
posted by jmnugent at 1:42 PM on March 27, 2009

Two words: Windows Steadystate
posted by karizma at 5:34 PM on March 27, 2009

Response by poster: Windows Steadystate looks interesting, but what I am looking for is something which will charge out for minutes. Something like Antamedia's Internet Cafe but friendlier.

Is there something like Internet Cafe for businesses but simpler and smarter?
posted by humannaire at 9:16 AM on March 29, 2009

Response by poster: The use is for a resort giftshop.
posted by humannaire at 9:17 AM on March 29, 2009

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