Disallow Automated Customizations in Windows 7

If you share your computer with other users and find other users’ customizations annoying then, Windows 7 allows you to block such functionality. By default, Windows 7 tracks users’ activities and tries to facilitate life by customizing the system according to the user activity such as, personalized menus, frequent programs list in the Start menu and others. One of the most annoying customizations which can happen when users share the same computer, is when users drag the taskbar to another side of the screen with the taskbar option Auto-hide enabled. Subsequent users may not be aware of such functionality and may not be able to find the taskbar at the side or top of the screen!

The following Local Group Policies in Windows 7 help you disable many automated customizations. Open the Local Group Policy Editor snap-in by typing gpedit.msc in the Start search text box and press enter.

Go to the User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar node, and search for the following policy settings:

Prevents users from moving taskbar to another screen dock location – If you enable this policy setting the user will not be able to drag their taskbar to another side of the monitor(s).

Lock all taskbar settings – Prevents the user from making any changes to the taskbar settings through the Taskbar Properties dialog. If you enable this setting the user cannot access the taskbar control panel. The user is also unable to resize, move or rearrange toolbars on their taskbar.

Turn off user tracking – If you enable this setting, the system does not track the programs that the user runs, and does not display frequently used programs in the Start Menu. This setting does not prevent users from pinning programs to the Start Menu or Taskbar.

Remove frequent programs list from the Start Menu – If you enable this setting, the frequently used programs list is removed from the Start menu.

You can scroll through the rest of the policies to further fine-tune your system according to you needs.

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