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WinU

 

Product Overview

What is WinU? What does it do?
What are the differences between WinU, Full Control, and Full Control Internet?
What kinds of protection does WinU provide?
What are the advantages of replacing the user interface?
What sort of organizations can benefit from WinU?
Does WinU include remote administration capabilities?
What activities can WinU monitor?
Does WinU run on the server or the client machine?
What are WinU's main features?
What are WinU's system requirements?
What is WinU's price and availability?

 

Configuration and Troubleshooting

What is a desk? How do I add a new desk?
Can users each have their own desk?
What is a managed button?
How do I add managed program buttons to a desk?
Can I add more than one managed program button at a time?
What is a non-managed ("non-button") program?
What are Allowed Applications (Applications Allowed To Run)?
How do I add things that aren't real files or folders to a WinU desktop? For example Control Panel, Dial-Up Networking, or a printer?
How do I add Microsoft's Internet Mail or Internet News to a WinU desktop?
The desk buttons change colors. What do the colors mean?
How can I control which users can log on?
How do I set time limits for a desk?
How do I set time limits for a program?
How do I password-protect a WinU button? How can I require biometric authentication?
How can I prevent infections by malware, spyware, adware, and Trojans?
How do I lock USB ports and writable CD and DVD drives etc. to prevent data theft, and limit exposure to viruses and malware?
How can I prevent users from using Ctrl+Alt+Del?
How can I prevent users from using Safe Mode?
How can I prevent users from starting the computer in DOS?
How do I clone a WinU computer's entire configuration onto another machine?
Can I use a clone data file to copy settings while installing?
How do I install WinU from a network server?
After installing, how do I use a clone data file to dynamically update all my site's networked computers?
After doing a clone update, what settings remain from the previous configuration?
On the Remote Management tab, what's the difference between Look for clone updates and Always update?
How do I monitor World Wide Web usage?
Can I give times of day when no program can be run?
How do I allow a program to continue running after desk logoff?
Can the user get to the regular Windows interface while WinU is providing security?
When a program runs out of time, how do I prevent the user from just starting it again?
How do I track system usage? How do I know who ran what program? How can I see reports?
A program is running and it's covering the WinU desktop. How do I get to the buttons?
Can I run programs in a way that prevent the user from getting to them?
What is Kiosk Mode and how does it enhance security and usability?
I used the Kiosk Mode switch to hide WinU's menu bar. Without the menu bar, how do I modify settings?
How long do WinU's message screens stay visible?
How do I prevent people from using Windows "common dialogs" as little Explorer windows?
How do I change the desk background image?
How do I add sounds to WinU events?
What are DeskLink, PrevDesk, Exit, and Shutdown buttons?
How do I change a button's icon or customize the way it looks?
Can I allow users to restart the computer from WinU?
What is a Launch Tracking Pause and when do I use one?
How can I prevent users from using System Info to get to other programs?
When I run WinU my computer acts funny, or crashes, or won't run a program from a button, or won't do what it's supposed to do in some other way. How do I fix this?
When I try to run a program's Help screen, WinU closes the Help window. How do I fix this?
My computer doesn't shut down properly. What should I do?
I rebooted after an abnormal shutdown and now nothing will run. What should I do?
When I click a program's WinU button, the program starts up but is immediately shut down by WinU. What should I do?
I added a Launch Tracking Pause but my program (often a CD-based program) is still immediately shut down by WinU. What should I do?
My program still doesn't come up right. Is there anything else I can do?
What is the issue regarding January 1 2010? Why do I need to upgrade older versions before that date?

 


Product Overview

What is WinU? What does it do?

WinU is a complete Windows security access control system which also includes a Simplified Replacement User Interface. WinU's replacement user interface is intuitive and obvious. It consists of labeled buttons on a simplified desktop. This is much more straightforward than the regular Windows interface and makes the computer very easy to use, even for novices. It also provides a clear indication of what programs and activities are allowed and available on this computer, implementing the policies and procedures specified by the system administrator.

At the same time, WinU provides comprehensive management and security, making it easy for system administrators to oversee and control computers remotely. It allows users full access to authorized software, yet prevents accidental or malicious system modifications. It features Intrusion Control and System Stabilization that can stop malware, spyware, adware, Trojans, and browser hijacks. It can oversee USB ports, CD burners, and similar drives to prevent both malicious intrusions and data theft. It includes software access management, time limits, logging, web-browser tracking, remote administration, and many flexible configuration options. It provides reliable access control, even in Safe Mode, while still providing its simplified replacement desktop. Each desk can have individual security and oversight settings. These include desktop appearance, password/biometric protected programs, time limits, and many other options and restrictions. The administrator can set the maximum allowed time for each program, and for the individual user.

WinU monitors every user logon and every running program. If you have set up a particular application as a managed program, WinU will impose the time limits, password/biometric protection, and other control you have specified for it. Non-managed programs can be completely disallowed if desired, so they won't run. WinU can also restrict access to interface elements such as desktop icons, Start Menu entries, Control Panel, Explorer, and web browsers. WinU's interface can be divided into different virtual desktops, and most restrictions can be "per-desk" with different settings for each desk.

The system administrator sets up and maintains the system. Unlike a regular user, this person has access to many system administration features that allow the administrator to set up and change the system, monitor it through usage reports and logs, and remotely control and configure WinU computers over a network.

What are the differences between WinU, Full Control, and Full Control Internet?

All Bardon products provide comparable security access control, but do this in different ways. Each product has its own advantages. To learn more about which product will best meet your needs, click here.

What kinds of protection does WinU provide?

WinU allows users full access to authorized software, yet prevents accidental or malicious system modifications. It features Intrusion Control and System Stabilization that can stop malware, spyware, adware, and Trojans. It can oversee USB ports, CD burners, and similar drives to prevent both malicious intrusions and data theft. It manages all running programs and lets the administrator specify the amount of time that each program can be used while allowing a warning "grace period," with customizable length and warning message, before terminating a running application. WinU can monitor all World Wide Web browser activity, logging all accessed websites and the amount of time at each site. It can make files or folders read-only or invisible to prevent access to unauthorized data. It can monitor and control any window, such as Windows Explorer, File Open, or Save As dialogs, with which the user might access the file system. In addition, WinU can deny or password-protect Ctrl+Alt+Del, the Delete key and right-mouse context menus in Explorer and World Wide Web browsers, and keyboard Windows and Apps keys. WinU can disable the keyboard at startup to prevent users from bypassing Windows, and it can lock the CD-ROM drive door to prevent the removal of valuable CDs. In doing all this, it also provides an audit trail so all user activity is logged.

What are the advantages of replacing the user interface?

WinU gains many advantages by providing a replacement user interface. First, WinU's interface is much easier to use than the standard Windows screen. Everybody knows what to do with a button: you press it. Next, since WinU has complete control over all programs, it is a reliable way to allow and deny program access. No "back door" is possible. Finally, if you need to group applications into categories, WinU's linked desktops are much easier for novices to understand than the standard DOS/Windows hierarchical directory structure. WinU desktops provide all the advantages of a hierarchical directory structure while avoiding its confusion.

What sort of organizations can benefit from WinU?

WinU is ideal for any organization that wants to provide a simple and obvious PC user interface, while also protecting the computer from unintended or undesired actions. WinU makes it easy for users to do what they are supposed to do, and hard for them to do what they are not supposed to do. It is used by businesses that want to let employees use only authorized applications, by schools and public institutions that need to give patrons access to specific programs yet safeguard the computer against tampering, and by parents who want to restrict their children's usage of the family PC. The user has full access to authorized software, but can't change the computer's setup or delete important files. WinU is easy to set up, and it prevents users from modifying the computer's configuration. These qualities make it especially useful for small to medium sized organizations that would rather not hire a full-time technical administrator to maintain the system and fix problems caused by unauthorized user modifications. However, WinU can be considered in any situation in which users need access to software without the option of reconfiguring the computer.

Does WinU include remote administration capabilities?

Yes. WinU will take full advantage of a network if one is present. WinU's system administration capabilities can maintain any size setup, from a single home PC to large networked installations. The administrator can dynamically oversee and control all managed computers enterprise-wide from one central location. This includes the ability to see real-time information and audit-trail activity reports, update, logoff, shut down, reboot or reconfigure any or all WinU stations remotely, send popup text messages to individual WinU stations or broadcast them to all WinU computers on the network. Passwords can be managed from a central location.

What activities can WinU monitor?

WinU's built-in audit trail activity logging can track exactly when each program was run, by whom, and for how long. In addition, WinU can track attempts to access locked files or folders, attempted password hacking, World Wide Web browser usage, malware, spyware, Trojans, and more. WinU's built-in reports and graphs can analyze this information, or the data can be exported to any database or spreadsheet.

Does WinU run on the server or the client machine?

WinU includes a server component that will take advantage of a network if one is available. However, WinU is designed to self-manage on each individual client machine even when its server component is unavailable. Not all computers are always connected to a network. For example, consider an account rep who carries a laptop containing sensitive information. Even when it's not connected to the network, it still needs to be secure, managed, and protected against malware. Also, servers and networks can go down. When that happens, you don't want your security going down with it. WinU will protect the client machine so long as that machine can run.

What are WinU's main features?

• System Stabilization prevents unauthorized software installation or changes
• Intrusion Control prevents malware, spyware, adware, Trojans, and browser hijacks
• Prevents data theft from USB ports, writable CD or DVD drives, and similar
• Network-based central administration (optional: no network required)
• Allow time per session, time per day, time per week
• World Wide Web browser monitor
• Prevents Web browser from accessing files on local hard disk
• Read-only or invisible files and folders
• Define blockout periods, during which nothing is available
• Ctrl+Alt+Del blocking
• Windows/Apps keys blocking
• Internet and Dial-Up Networking control
• CD-ROM door locking
• Individual time limits and security settings for each application
• Individual time limits and security settings for each desk
• Password protected Safe Mode
• Waiting periods before an application is allowed to restart
• Window Monitor can manipulate or close any window when it appears
• Set Open/Save dialogs to that user's proper directory
• Configure one WinU computer, then distribute copies enterprise-wide
• Diagnostic tools to aid in helpdesk support
• Audit trail log monitors all user and program activity
• Built-in reports and graphs, or export data to any database or spreadsheet
• Kiosk Mode to handle the most demanding public access situations

What are WinU's system requirements?

WinU runs under Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 (32 bit x86). Running under Windows 8 requires disabling the new-style Windows overlay. WinU includes a thorough Windows-standard uninstaller. Its files take up 1 to 2 MB of hard disk space, depending on the options selected.

What is WinU's price and availability?

WinU is shipping now. Price is $59.95 single copy, and quantity discounts are available. Discounts are also offered for educational institutions, VARs/resellers, and current user upgrades. A "test-drive" evaluation version can be obtained from Bardon Data Systems.

 


Configuration and Troubleshooting

What is a desk? How do I add a new desk?

WinU completely replaces the regular Windows interface (taskbar, Start button, desktop icons, etc.) with a Simplified Replacement User Interface, which we call ... a desk. Actually there can be hundreds of desks, linked together in various ways to allow the user to navigate between them in whatever ways you (the administrator) have allowed.

Each desk consists of a background image, security options, and of course the program-launch buttons that are on that desk. To add a desk, bring up the Choose Desk screen and click the New Desk button. After giving the administrator setup password, a new desk will be created with default settings and no buttons, ready for you to modify as needed.

Can users each have their own desk?

Yes. You can set up per-user default desks. When users log on to Windows in the usual way, WinU can tell which default desk should be displayed to that user. Of course, each user's desk can link to other desks to allow the user to navigate between them in whatever ways you (the administrator) have allowed. So each user can have not only a specific default desk, but also a specific group of accessible desks. Also, more than one user can have the same default desk. This makes per-user default desks very easy to set up.

When using this technique, you may also want to use the Kiosk Mode settings to limit the user's ability to go to other desks. These settings are on the Screen Options tab.

What is a managed button?

A managed program button is one that is listed on a group's Managed Buttons tab. It can have password/biometric restrictions, time limits, restart control, and other settings. WinU can terminate managed programs when the desk runs out of time. Different desks will have different lists of Managed Buttons.

How do I add managed program buttons to a desk?

Start WinU, log on to the target desk, and go into Setup mode. The easiest way to add a new button is to drag-and-drop that button's file from Explorer onto the WinU desktop. This file can be an executable program, a Shortcut, a batch file, or any file with a registered file extension, that is, those which Windows knows how to run directly when you click on the file in Explorer. When you drag-and-drop the file from Explorer onto the WinU desk, a button will be added and you will be asked if you wish to set the new button's properties. Click on Yes to set properties or No to use the default settings. Another way to add new buttons is to open WinU's Desk Setup dialog, flip to the Buttons tab, enter the Button Text, the File To Run, and any other settings you want, then click the Add button at the bottom of that tab.

Can I add more than one managed program button at a time?

Yes. In Explorer, highlight all the programs or files you want to add. Drag-and-drop the entire group of highlighted files from Explorer onto the WinU desktop. When you drag-and-drop the files from Explorer onto the WinU desk, a button will be added for each new file, and you will be asked if you wish to set the properties for the new buttons. Click on Yes to set properties or No to use the default settings. If you click Yes, the Desk Setup dialog will open onto the last new button in the group.

What is a non-managed ("non-button") program?

A non-managed ("non-button") program is any application which is not listed on a group's Managed Buttons tab. Some programs can be launched, not by WinU from a button, but by other programs. We call these non-button programs. These are programs that were launched after WinU started, but were not launched by WinU. WinU can track (and keep visible to the user) these non-button windows. So, if your launched-from-WinU app itself launches another program, the "non-button" program will be tracked too.

Non-managed programs are subject to Intrusion Control, Window Control, and File Control, and are logged when they start and end, but no other time control is imposed. WinU can terminate non-managed programs when the desk runs out of time.

If you do not allow non-button programs to run on a particular desk, only programs actually on WinU buttons (and those on your list of non-button exceptions) can be launched. Exceptions can be listed by window title or by filename on the desk's Access tab.

What are Allowed Applications (Applications Allowed To Run)?

WinU can restrict the programs which can be run by a user. Naturally, applications listed as Managed Buttons are always allowed to run, subject to their individual time and password restrictions. As for other programs, if the Access tab's restrictions have been activated, other ("non-button") programs can be run only if they are listed on the Access tab as Applications Allowed To Run. See the discussion of that tab's features for more options when setting up Applications Allowed To Run.

How do I add things that aren't real files or folders to a WinU desktop? For example Control Panel, Dial-Up Networking, or a printer?

You can directly drag-and-drop almost anything onto the WinU desktop to create a button. But there are a few exceptions that first require an extra step, such as Control Panel, a printer, a Dial-Up Networking object, or the desktop Recycle Bin. In all these cases, you must first create a shortcut to the object, then drag-and-drop the new shortcut onto the WinU desktop.

For example, here is how to set up WinU to run Control Panel. Start WinU and go into Setup Mode. Double-click on My Computer. Right-click on the Control Panel item and a menu will appear. Choose the Create Shortcut entry and a new shortcut will appear on your Windows desktop. You can move this shortcut to another location if you prefer. Drag-and-drop this shortcut onto a WinU desktop and a new button will appear. Or if you prefer, you can drag-and-drop this shortcut into the Managed Buttons tab and add it that way. You may be prompted to set a two-second launch pause (most shortcuts need this). If so, click OK.

How do I add Microsoft's Internet Mail or Internet News to a WinU desktop?

These are odd because they call CLSIDs ("Class IDs") in the Registry, not actual executable programs. To run them, create a WinU button that will run your existing shortcut to Mail or News. To do this, start WinU and go into Setup Mode. Open Windows Explorer (available in the Setup pull-down menu if you have not hidden the WinU menu bar with a Kiosk Mode option). In your Windows directory, change to the Start Menu directory. Change to the Programs directory which is under the Start Menu directory. In the Programs directory there should be a shortcut to Internet News or Internet Mail. You can drag-and-drop this shortcut onto any WinU desktop and a new button will appear. Or if you prefer, you can drag-and-drop this shortcut into the Buttons tab of WinU's Desk Setup dialog and add it that way. Or you can look at the shortcut's Properties to see what it's running and set that as WinU's File To Run and Parameters.

The desk buttons change colors. What do the colors mean?

When a button's program is launching, that button is red. When the program is running, that button is yellow ("lit up"). The active-focus button is white. When a running-program button has the active focus, that button is light yellow. To bring back a still-running iconized program, click its (yellow) button again.

How can I control which users can log on?

Use the logon validation options on the first tab of the System Setup screen. You can set this to allow access only to users known to Windows, or to rely on your network-based logon validation.

You might also want to look at the WinU Logon Manager. This companion program can provide detailed logon validation at a level that Windows does not offer. It is part of WinU's free Extended Administration Kit, and is available from Bardon Data Systems.

How do I set time limits for a desk?

Log on to the desk for which you wish to set a time limit, and right-click on the desktop. Or alternatively, choose Desk Setup from the Setup menu. Enter your Setup password and choose the Time Control tab. In the Total Minutes Allowed box enter the number of minutes allowed on this desk. In the Current Minutes Used box enter the number of minutes currently used up on this desk (you will generally set this to zero). In the Grace Period box enter the number of minutes before timeout at which WinU will show its warning screen and play its warning sound. Both the warning screen and the warning sound can be disabled from any program's Advanced screen, which is helpful if that program cannot tolerate sounds or popup messages from other applications. Choose how often the maximum time will be reinitialized. Every day at midnight? Every week at Sunday midnight? Every time the user logs on to the desk? Never? Up to you.

How do I set time limits for a program?

Log on to the desk that contains the program for which you wish to set a time limit, and right-click on the button for which you wish to set a time limit. Or alternatively, choose Desk Setup from the Setup menu, then choose the Buttons tab and select the application for which you wish to set a time limit In the Minutes Until Warning box enter the number of minutes WinU should wait before a time-out warning is issued. In the Minutes Until Termination box enter the number of minutes you would like the application to run. This number must be higher than the Minutes Until Warning. If you want the application to be inaccessible for a period of time after termination you can set the Minutes Until Restart Permitted. Click the Change button, then after the change is completed click OK.

How do I password-protect a WinU button? How can I require biometric authentication?

Any WinU button can be set up to require password or biometric authentication. To set up a button so it is inaccessible unless the user gives its password, provide a password on the Managed Buttons tab. If you like, you can also require biometric validation to run this button. Set this on the Advanced screen for this program.

How can I prevent infections by malware, spyware, adware, and Trojans?

Computers that connect to the Internet run the risk of infection by a variety of threats. Traditional antivirus or firewall software leaves holes that can be exploited by such malware. WinU includes Intrusion Control that can protect against these threats.

To activate the Malware Monitor feature, go to the Intrusion Control tab and check the "monitor for changes" box. Next, should the Malware Monitor automatically fix problems when they are discovered? Ask the user what to do? Or take different specific actions for different specific threats? Select the option that meets your needs. If you want to take specific actions for specific threats, click the What To Monitor button to indicate your choices on that screen.

There is also a box you can check if you want the Malware Monitor to display a screen showing what it did. It'd be distracting to use this option in production situations, but it can be very useful when you are initially setting up your computers, because it will tell you exactly what the Malware Monitor found. This can help you fine-tune your initial configuration, especially if you are using the "specific action" option.

How do I lock USB ports and writable CD and DVD drives etc. to prevent data theft, and limit exposure to viruses and malware?

WinU includes Intrusion Control that can oversee data flow to and from USB ports and similar external sources, such as read/write CD and DVD drives. Today, tiny USB drives can easily hold thousands of pages of confidential data that could critically harm businesses if it fell into the wrong hands. Writable CD and DVD drives can also create this problem. The Intrusion Control features can remove the threat of unauthorized data leaving the computer (data theft) as well as preventing unwanted data entering the computer (spyware, malware, adware, Trojans, and similar nasties).

To activate this feature, go to the Intrusion Control tab. At the top of the tab, choose the option that meets your needs. WinU can protect all unused USB ports and drives at startup, or you can list the specific ports and drives you want WinU to lock down. WinU can write-protect these drives so no data can be saved to them, or it can remove them completely (read-protect plus write-protect) so they cannot be used at all. This second option is a good way to eliminate these drives as an entryway for viruses or malware.

How can I prevent users from using Ctrl+Alt+Del?

WinU can completely disable Ctrl+Alt+Del, or password-protect it. To set this up, go to the desk on which you want to add this protection. On the Input Control tab, check the box to disable Ctrl+Alt+Del. If you don't give a password, when the user presses Ctrl+Alt+Del nothing will happen. If you do give a password, when the user presses Ctrl+Alt+Del the password box is displayed. If the user gives the Ctrl+Alt+Del password, the regular option appears (Task Manager, Close Programs box, or Windows options screen).

How can I prevent users from using Safe Mode?

WinU can password-protect Safe Mode. Safe Mode disables many of the usual Windows protections, so many administrators prefer to limit access to this mode. To password-protect Safe Mode, go to the Security Settings tab of the System Setup screen. Check the box which controls Safe Mode protection. With this in place, the WinU setup password is required to use Safe Mode.

How can I prevent users from starting the computer in DOS?

There are two parts to preventing a user from starting the computer in DOS: 1) set up WinU to disable the keyboard at startup, and 2) change your computer's CMOS boot sequence to ensure it tries to boot from your hard disk before trying any other drive.

To disable the keyboard at startup, start WinU and go to the Security Settings tab. Make sure the option to Allow DOS start menu and function keys to be used at bootup is not checked. Click OK to save your settings. In Windows 9x, this will disable the keyboard until Windows is up; in NT/2K/XP/etc. it will immediately auto-select the default choice on the Boot Loader menu. While you're on this tab, you may also want to disable the DOS "breakout" keys so the user can't bypass the real-mode ("DOS") part of the Windows 9x boot process.

Changing the computer's CMOS boot sequence ensures that the computer can't be booted from a CD or floppy disk unless the normal hard disk is unavailable. The method for doing this is system-dependent. Accessing your CMOS is usually done by pressing the DELETE or F10 key during the boot-time system memory test (the first screen you see when your computer starts). This gets you into your computer's CMOS setup screen. Every PC hardware vendor's screen is a little different, but in general, you should look for a 'boot sequence' or 'boot order' setting. This specifies the order in which your drives are accessed at startup. You want to make sure that your regular hard disk is tested first. Let's say your boot sequence is set to A,C which tests the A: drive first, and if it can't boot from there it tests the C: drive. Change the boot sequence from A,C to C,A. This will cause a boot disk in the A drive to be ignored at boot-time unless there is no C drive. You should also password protect your CMOS to prevent anyone from changing these settings back. Be very careful when changing your CMOS settings. Doing the wrong thing can render your computer inoperable. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, you may want to contact your computer manufacturer or an experienced hardware service technician.

How do I clone a WinU computer's entire configuration onto another machine?

You can easily clone WinU installations. Set up WinU once, on one master computer, the way you want it with all desired settings and programs. Then use the clone feature to create a clone file with all the settings of the one master computer. On the Remote Management tab of the System Setup screen, click Export Clone File. After exiting the System Setup screen, the clone data file will be saved. A clone file can be copied to other machines in many ways. It can be automatically imported when first installing, automatically updated over the network later, broadcast to some or all of your computers by the administrator using the Remote Administration Manager, or imported manually into one machine locally by the administrator.

Can I use a clone data file to copy settings while installing?

Yes. Copy a clone data file named clone.bds to the shared network folder with the WinU install files, or the WinU install disk if installing from writable distribution media. Install WinU from the network server or disk. In an interactive manual install, if you have copied clone.bds to the same directory as the install program (install.exe), you will be asked during installation if you wish to copy the clone information to the new computer. In an automated unattended install, if the installer finds clone.bds in its same folder, the clone file will be used. In either case, after installation the new computer will have the same WinU settings as the master system.

How do I install WinU from a network server?

You want to run the WinU installer from a network directory which is visible on the target computer (the one you want to install onto). To do this, copy all the WinU files (from the install disk or download) to a network directory which is visible on the target computer. You can do a regular interactive install, or an automated "quiet" install. Either way, you'll launch install.exe on the target computer, using appropriate parameters if doing a "quiet" install. The installation process will begin. If you are doing an interactive install, you will be prompted for the target folder. You must choose a folder on the local computer, because WinU will not run if installed to a network folder. If you have also placed a clone data file named clone.bds into the same directory as the WinU installer program, its clone information can be automatically copied to the new computer.

After installing, how do I use a clone data file to dynamically update all my site's networked computers?

You want to make a clone data visible to all the target computers, and set up the target computers to update themselves when they see it. To do this, save the settings of the master computer (the one with the settings you want to copy) to a clone data file, as described above. Make sure the target computers (the computers to be updated) are monitoring a network folder for clone update files. To do this, on the Remote Management tab check the Look for clone updates box and give the data-source folder name. This computer will now monitor that folder for clone.bds files whenever you start WinU. If you want to use a datasource filename other than the default clone.bds, give a datasource filename with the folder name, and WinU will look for that specific file. You can also update the clone-location settings remotely using the Administration Manager.

After doing a clone update, what settings remain from the previous configuration?

A clone update replaces most settings, but not all. If a new AutoUpdate file/folder is not given in the clone information (or is given but doesn't exist), the old name is retained. This computer's PrevDesk list is retained so you can return to previous desks. Also, licensing information is generally carried over to the new computer in the clone file, but if desired the clone file can be set up so the target computer retains its existing license information.

On the Remote Management tab, what's the difference between Look for clone updates and Always update?

Look for clone updates will update WinU's settings whenever a new clone file is placed in the AutoUpdate folder. Always update will update WinU's settings at every startup regardless of whether the clone file has been read previously. Both of these settings, and the network location of the clone update file, can be sent remotely from the Administration Manager.

How do I monitor World Wide Web usage?

WinU can monitor all websites that are visited while WinU is running. To activate this feature, use the Event Log tab to set up WinU for logging, and check the web browser monitor box on that tab. WinU will log the website URL, title and the number of minutes at each site, for all websites visited through Netscape, Mozilla, or Internet Explorer. This information can be viewed through WinU's built-in reports.

Can I give times of day when no program can be run?

Yes. In addition to the password file time limit, the restart control, and the cumulative time testing, you can also set per-desk blockout periods, for example "Every Tuesday 9 pm to 11 pm" or "Every weekday 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm". A desk can have any number of blockout periods. During these periods, no buttons will run on that desk except those buttons you have specifically allowed to run on a timed-out desk.

How do I allow a program to continue running after desk logoff?

Usually, exiting from a desk automatically terminates all applications launched from that desk. However, you can allow a particular program to remain running even after logging off its desk and switching to another desk. To do this, check the box Don't Terminate Program At Desk Logoff on the program's Advanced Settings screen. Doing this tells WinU to turn the program into a "non-button" window when logging off its desk, instead of killing it. Because it will then be a "non-button" window, you will also need to make sure the systemwide flag Terminate "non-button" windows when changing desks is not checked. This checkbox is on the Security Settings tab of the System Setup dialog.

Can the user get to the regular Windows interface while WinU is providing security?

No. WinU won't run smaller than fullscreen unless it's in Setup Mode, and in its typical configuration the user cannot get access to any part of the standard Windows desktop.

The only exception to this is that the administrator can set up WinU to allow limited and controlled access to the taskbar, Start button, Quick Launch and tray icons. However most administrators don't allow this. A better way to give your users controlled access to elements of the regular Windows desktop interface is to use Full Control, also available from Bardon Data Systems.

When a program runs out of time, how do I prevent the user from just starting it again?

WinU won't restart a program sooner than the "restart time" you've set up for that program. If this is set, then after a program is exited (or forcibly terminated by WinU), it cannot be restarted again until that much time has passed. Program restart control, cumulative time limits, and blockout periods keep track of program and desk usage regardless of logons and logoffs.

How do I track system usage? How do I know who ran what program? How can I see reports?

WinU features detailed logfile tracking of events. It also has built-in usage reports and pie-chart graphs which summarize its audit trail information to let you see who did what. These reports can be viewed and printed.

You can set up WinU's built-in logging to track usage to the level of detail which is of interest to you. Choose System Setup and go to the Event Log tab. Give the logfile name. If the file does not exist it will be created. Select events to track under What To Log.

You can use the Reports tab of the System Setup screen to generate reports from this logfile. There are dozens of built-in reports. You can also import the logfile into any other tool to create other reports of any kind.

A program is running and it's covering the WinU desktop. How do I get to the buttons?

You can use the Title Bar Apps Button to do this. The apps button is set up from the Screen Options tab, in the Title Bar Apps Button section. If the Apps Button is available, click it to see a popup list of all the buttons on this desk. You can run programs right from that list. Programs that are already running have their Apps Button menu icon highlighted in color.

Can I run programs in a way that prevent the user from getting to them?

Yes. You can run them from your Startup folder or from an AutoRun button on the WinU desktop, then use a Window Control to send that program's window the keystrokes "Alt-spacebar N" to keep it minimized.

Another option is to AutoRun them from invisible "spacer/autorun" buttons, which can be set up from the Managed Buttons tab. These are invisible on the user screen. This is a good way to launch a management program without advertising it to the user. In that case, put your invisible buttons at the end of the Managed Buttons list so there is no indication that they are there.

What is Kiosk Mode and how does it enhance security and usability?

The Kiosk Mode options let you turn off the menu bar or status bar, and turn off "click the desktop" dialogs. When "click the desktop" dialogs are disabled and there is no menu, the only navigation is that provided in your DeskLink and PrevDesk buttons. This gives you the ability to provide a very specific navigation sequence. With the Kiosk Mode settings you can also set certain title bar information display options.

I used the Kiosk Mode switch to hide WinU's menu bar. Without the menu bar, how do I modify settings?

There are a number of ways for the administrator to get to WinU's configuration screens. The easiest way is to use the system menu; to display the system menu, click on the W icon at the left edge of WinU's title bar. The WinU configuration options are added at the bottom of the popup menu. Or if you are using the Apps Button, and if you have checked the box to display setup options, right-click the Apps Button and use its pop-up menu to display WinU's setup screens. Another way is to use the hotkey (set on the Access screen) to go into setup mode. Like the regular menu items, all these options are password protected.

How long do WinU's message screens stay visible?

By default, WinU's password screen will time out and go away after thirty seconds, but you can set this to a different value if you like. WinU's big-font popup messages time out and go away after two minutes.

How do I prevent people from using Windows "common dialogs" as little Explorer windows?

Most Windows programs use the standard Windows "common dialogs" to open or save files. Presenting the same dialogs in all programs means that the user does the same thing in the same way in all programs. This is good. However, by default these Open and Save dialogs let the user right-click on any displayed file or program and change its attributes, or even run it. They also let the user delete selectd files with the Delete key. This is bad. To plug these security holes, WinU can disable right-click menus and the Delete key in these common dialogs. They are also disabled in Explorer and the most popular web browsers, for similar reasons.

How do I change the desk background image?

WinU is set up so that you don't need a degree in graphic design to set up a useful, effective, and visually pleasing screen. The default settings and basic options will provide very respectable results, even for non-artists.

To set the background image, choose Desk Setup from the Setup menu and enter your Setup password. On the Interface tab, in the wallpaper section, enter the name of the desired wallpaper bitmap, or drag-and-drop that bitmap onto the Interface tab, or click on the Browse button and choose the bitmap in that way.

The wallpaper can be displayed in a number of ways. Indicate whether you want the wallpaper shown fullscreen behind the buttons, or just in the top half of the screen with the buttons restricted to the bottom half. Indicate whether you want to preserve the aspect ratio of the wallpaper image (don't distort it), tile the wallpaper to repeat the image over the display area, or show the image at its actual size.

Here's a hint. If there is any text on your wallpaper image, the cleanest and most readable way to display it is to use the "actual size" option. That way, the text won't be fuzzy or distorted. To facilitate this, make sure the bitmap image size is a bit bigger than the size of the WinU screen you want it to fill. But if you absolutely have to use a bitmap with text, and that bitmap is smaller than the WinU screen area, be sure to use the "preserve aspect ratio" option. The text might be fuzzy, but at least it won't be distorted.

How do I add sounds to WinU events?

You can attach sounds at the WinU desktop level, or attach them to individual programs. Desktop-level sounds are set on the Interface tab. They are Desk Logon, Desk Logoff, Launch Program, Program Timeout Warning, and Desk Timeout Warning. Individual program sounds to be played at Program Launch and Program Timeout Warning can be set from the Advance screen for that program's button. If there is both a program-level and a Desk-level Launch or Warning sound, the program sound is played, not the desk sound. If sounds are enabled but no sound is specified, the built-in default sound is used.

What are DeskLink, PrevDesk, Exit, and Shutdown buttons?

DeskLink buttons let the user go to a specific other desk. PrevDesk buttons let the user "go back" to previously-visited desks in reverse order, similar to the Back button of a web browser. Shutdown buttons let the user shut down the computer. Exit buttons let the user exit from WinU. Like all buttons, these navigation buttons can be password-protected. Buttons are set up from the Managed Buttons tab of the Desk Setup screen.

There are many other button types as well. They are listed on the dropdown menu on the Managed Buttons tab, and described in the documentation for that tab.

How do I change a button's icon or customize the way it looks?

WinU is set up so that you don't need a degree in graphic design to set up a useful, effective, and visually pleasing screen. The default settings and basic options will provide very respectable results, even for non-artists.

Having said that, WinU does offer a range of design options for its buttons and screens. On its buttons, you can use virtually any graphic for a button icon. You aren't limited to actual icons, but can use any bitmap, icon, or cursor. Your chosen graphic is resized to icon-size onto the button. You can choose any icon from a multiple-icon file such as many executable program or DLL files. You can even create your own bitmap file using Microsoft Paint or any other graphics program, and set that file as a button's icon.

You can also change other parts of a button's appearance to give your buttons a variety of "looks." You can change their borders, colors, fonts, and placement as well as their icons. Buttons can have a text label, or can be just an icon with no label.

You can even have invisible buttons. These "spacer/autorun" buttons are useful in two situations. First, they are invisible on the user screen so they can create blank spaces in your button layout, handy for configuring your display. Second, you can list programs on these invisible buttons that will be autorun at desk logon, thus creating a good way to launch a management program without advertising it to the user. In that case, put your invisible buttons at the end of the Managed Buttons list so there is no indication that they are there.

Can I allow users to restart the computer from WinU?

Yes. If you want to let them do this, on the Managed Buttons tab you can set up a Restart button. The user can click this to restart the computer. Like all WinU buttons, a Restart button can be password-protected. Buttons are set up from the Managed Buttons tab of the Desk Setup screen.

What is a Launch Tracking Pause and when do I use one?

Setting a Launch Tracking Pause tells WinU to wait briefly before trying to "lock on" to a managed button program. There are some programs that start by launching a "helper" app, not the real program. The "helper" app simply sets things up, then in turn the helper app launches the "real" program before itself exiting. If you find that one of your programs doesn't launch correctly, or launches for a few seconds and then vanishes, try giving it a brief Launch Tracking Pause. Try a two-second pause to start and see if it fixes the problem.

How can I prevent users from using System Info to get to other programs?

This will only happen if you have set on the Access tab to Allow any application to run. If you limit the Applications Allowed To Run you can avoid this issue completely. But, if you need to allow all applications, there are still many ways to address this. One easy way is to use the built-in Window Control to close such inappropriate windows when they appear. In this way they are not accessible. To do this, set up Window Control to look for that window's title and close it when it appears.

When I run WinU my computer acts funny, or crashes, or won't run a program from a button, or won't do what it's supposed to do in some other way. How do I fix this?

If the problem only shows up with one particular program, try manipulating the way that program launches. You might give it a Launch Tracking Pause, or start it as a non-button window. Multimedia or CD applications sometimes exhibit their own quirks. See below for further discussion on fixing these sorts of problems.

In rare cases, WinU's low-level monitoring might conflict with another program. You can disable low-level monitoring from the Security Settings tab. However, check with Bardon's technical support first, because disabling this is usually not necessary.

When I try to run a program's Help screen, WinU closes the Help window. How do I fix this?

You have probably set up this desk to not allow non-button programs to run. To allow all helpfiles, list winhelp.exe (the Windows help program) as an Allowed Application by filename, so WinU allows it to run. To allow just certain helpfiles to run, use the Access tab's lenient setting instead of strict, and list the window titles of the allowed helpfiles instead of the filename of the help program itself. To add this, on the Access tab click the button labeled Allowed Filenames or Allowed Window Titles, as appropriate. Enter the actual filename or title bar text that you want to allow. To allow all standard helpfiles, enter *help* under Allowed Window Titles so the wildcards allow all windows with the word Help in their title bar. (Some helpfiles don't have the word Help in the title bar, for example some of the Microsoft Office helpfiles. In this case, add text that does appear in the title of such helpfiles.) Click Add, then click OK. Click OK again. Help should now run on this desk.

My computer doesn't shut down properly. What should I do?

WinU offers three ways it can shut down your computer. Strong Shutdown is the most secure, however some computers hang at exit when using the Strong method. If this happens, try the Medium or Soft shutdown method.

I rebooted after an abnormal shutdown and now nothing will run. What should I do?

If you have controlled Allowed Applications with the strict option, and if for any reason WinU does not exit normally, the low-level "don't run" settings will still be in place, and almost nothing on your computer will run. This is rare, but computers are not infallible. If it happens, WinU provides a number of recovery options. They are listed below in the recommended order.

First, generally WinU itself will still run, so just start WinU and exit (immediately if you like). Doing so will clear any leftover control settings.

If you can't launch WinU normally, try starting in Reset Mode. You can run the WinU Reset program (reset.exe) from the Start menu, from Explorer, or in any other convenient way. Like WinU itself, reset.exe should always run. As above, simply start WinU and exit normally to clear the settings.

Or, restart the computer in Safe Mode. Strict security settings are ignored in Safe Mode, so WinU will always run. Launch WinU and then exit normally; the security settings will be cleared. Then reboot in regular Windows and you'll be back to normal.

When I click a program's WinU button, the program starts up but is immediately shut down by WinU. What should I do?

You have probably set WinU to not allow non-button windows on this desk. But, your program is inadvertently launching as a non-button window. That's why WinU is closing it.

Before we begin, let's test to see if this is what's happening. Go to the Access tab for this desk, and under Applications Allowed To Run, select the option to Allow any application to run. Click OK to save your settings, exit from Setup Mode, and try your program again. If it all works correctly now, your program wasn't being properly allowed. This is usually the problem here, and is easy to fix.

But before we fix it, let's replace the Applications Allowed To Run setting to the way it was before (Allow Only, or System Stabilization, with Strict or Lenient as you prefer). Go back into the Desk Setup screen, and on the Access tab, re-set your Applications Allowed To Run options.

Now let's fix it. Bring up the Desk Setup screen, go to the Managed Buttons tab, and select that program from the list. That program's information will be displayed. Click on the Advanced button in the lower right corner to bring up the Advanced Button Settings screen.

First, look at the box marked Start as if it's a non-button program. If that box is checked, there's your problem. Un-check the box so the program starts normally. Exit from Setup Mode and try it now to see if everything works. (Or if you really do need to start it as a non-button program, list this program's filename and/or window title as Allowed Filenames or Allowed Window Titles on the Access tab, so WinU will allow them.)

Non-Button Program box wasn't checked? Add a Launch Tracking Pause. In regular Windows (not through WinU), start your application and count how many seconds it takes for the final window to appear ... not a splash screen but the actual user window. Close your application, go back to the Managed Buttons tab in WinU, select that program from the list, and click the Advanced Settings button to bring up the Advanced Button Settings screen. On that screen, in the box marked Launch Tracking Pause enter the number of seconds you counted. You may want to add a few more seconds to ensure that the pause is long enough. Click OK to exit from the Advanced screen, and OK again to close the Desk Setup dialog. Exit from Setup Mode. Start the application from its WinU button. It should start normally. Its WinU desktop button should turn yellow (means that WinU has locked on to that program) and the application's screen should remain visible.

I added a Launch Tracking Pause but my program (often a CD-based program) is still immediately shut down by WinU. What should I do?

This might be due to delays associated with loading a program's data from a CD, where the program is paused waiting for the CD data to become available. WinU takes this delay as an indication that the program does not intend to launch, and stops looking for it. When the program eventually appears, WinU treats it as a non-button window. Sometimes you can fix this by simply giving a longer Launch Tracking Pause, so it looks for it longer. If that fixes it, you're done.

You can also try modifying the way the program launches. If it runs from a shortcut, try launching its executable file directly. If it launches directly, run it from a shortcut.

Here is how to do this. Look on the Buttons tab for this program. If the File To Run is a shortcut (with a file extension of PIF or LNK), try running the application's executable program directly by putting the exe file itself into the File To Run line. When testing this method, set the program's Launch Pause to zero. Is this a CD-based program? If you are running the executable program from the hard disk, and if that executable program exists somewhere on the CD itself, try running the copy that is on the CD. This may provide enough of a pause for the program to launch normally.

Sometimes there is already a shortcut on your computer that runs this program. You can often find one under the Start Menu subtree in your Windows folder, which is the location from which Windows displays your Start button's menu. When you installed the problem program, it probably put a shortcut in there. Find that shortcut, and drag-and-drop it onto the Buttons tab so it becomes the File To Run. Alternatively, to create a fresh new button, drag-and-drop the shortcut onto the WinU desktop itself. Click OK to close the dialog, and exit from Setup mode. Start the application from its WinU button. It should start normally. Its WinU desktop button should turn yellow, and the application's screen should remain visible.

My program still doesn't come up right. Is there anything else I can do?

Yes. If nothing else helps (and occasionally it won't, there are some funny programs out there) a work-around is to set up this application to start immediately as a non-button program. To do this, go to that program's Advanced screen and check the box marked Start as a non-button program. You'll need to either allow non-button windows on this desk, or list this program as an exception. Non-button window control is set up from the Access tab. You won't be able to give this program its own time limit, but you can give a desk time limit. When the desk time expires, WinU will close this program as well as anything else run from this desk.

What is the issue regarding January 1 2010? Why do I need to upgrade older versions before that date?

If you are using older versions of Bardon software, you should upgrade before the end of 2009. For most of you this will be a free upgrade under your Maintenance Plan subscription.

Why? Many years ago we began including a date/time "sanity check" with all of Bardon's software, because we noticed a number of programs that would go haywire if the system date was maliciously set into the far future. To prevent this, if the system date was set in the far future, our software set it back to a reasonable date.

That "far future" trigger date was January 1 2010. When older versions of our software see that (or later) as the system date, they will change the system date to a date between 2002 and 2006, depending on what version you have. So if you are using older versions, you will want to upgrade to the current release.

The relevant versions are

WinU 4.x and 5.x
Full Control 1.x and 2.x
Full Control Internet 1.x

Some versions of WinU 6 and Full Control 3 are also included.

If you aren't sure whether your version is included, or just want to check, feel free to contact us to ask.