<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/wgplogo.png” />Windows has been constantly improving the access control and parental control functionality. Windows 7 for instance, does a lot of these very well. The problem however is that most of the features are not available in every edition of Windows 7 and even if they are available, they would be buried deep down inside Control Panel — which as some of you would attest to, is unchartered territory!
WinGuard Pro offers to simplify a lot of these tasks by providing a number of such functions bundled together in a tiny little utility.
You can download the WinGuard Pro computer security and access control software here. The download size is under 1 MB and the software installs in a snap. It does however require you to restart your computer. Once you log back in, you can access WinGuard Pro and its features.
The main user interface for WinGuard Pro is the configuration tool. The tool is locked on first run and the default password is “LETMEIN“. Key it in to get access to WinGuard Pro’s feature set. Let’s review some of the features and have a look at what WinGuard Pro offers.
Once you log into the Configuration tool, you are presented with a tabbed interface that gives you access to WinGuard Pro’s features.
Lock down programs or tasks
WinGuard Pro lets you lock down specific programs, folders or tasks via the Tasks tab. Just place a check against the application/feature or folder that you want to lock down and WinGuard Pro will prevent the standard user from accessing the program/feature or the folder.
Now whenever Notepad is accessed, the user will have to enter a password before he/she can use it. There are a number of options available that you can lock via a simple check within this tab. The options range from the command prompt, System Restore, etc. with security in mind; to Windows Media Player, Messenger with parental controls in mind.
File and Folder Encryption
WinGuard Pro also lets you encrypt and decrypt files and folders according to your choice. Be warned that this might not be the solution you are looking for if you want to encrypt an entire partition or a USB drive. Truecrypt is your best bet in that case. However, if you want to encrypt a folder or two without getting obsessed with encryption and all the plethora of options that accompany any decent encryption software, WinGuard Pro lets you do that.
Just browse for the folder you want to encrypt, choose a folder and you are done. To read files, click the Decrypt button, browse to the folder and key in your password!
Prevent selected actions on the computer
Next up, lets have a look at the More tab. In here, you can lock down actions like file download and software installation along with certain Windows features like Task Manager and Windows Explorer. You can also go a step beyond and lock down all browsers if you so please.
In addition, there are other options that can help you streamline how WinGuard Pro functions and behaves. You can for instance, exclude the Administrator account from all the access control features. That is you will be able to log in as the administrator and do all your chores as if WinGuard Pro never existed. All other accounts except the Administrator account are treated as the Standard user accounts. You can also deploy the same configuration to different computers by using the Import/Export functionality.
On the whole, WinGuard Pro is a feature-rich, no fuss and functional software for access control. On the down side, it’s not free from issues. The UI could be improved a lot. As an example, consider this – what do you expect to see when you want to browse for a folder that you want to encrypt? A browse button perhaps? In here, you would have to click on the label to get the browse dialog. Everything detailed above is available in the free version of the software. You can also purchase a premium version of the software that gives you finer control over application lock down and folder encryption. The premium version is also available as a 60-day trial.
What are you favorite access control software for Windows? Let us hear about them in comments.