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How to Restrict Logon Hours in Windows XP

Have you ever wondered about an easy way to limit your child’s computer use so that they could get more studying done?

Many of you out there probably have a child that has a computer in his or her room. This is great for academics, but what about when they should be sleeping. Are they up late on Myspace or Facebook till two in the morning? That would not be so good now would it?

Sure you can run to the web and search for a program that will limit their activity by a certain time each night, but how about something free that you can use that’s already in windows?

Yeah you like that word FREE right? I do too!! Let me show you what to do, its easy.

What we will be doing is using a command called “net user” and we will add the “/time” switch to it so that we can tell it when to allow the child to use the computer.

Here are some examples:
net user username /time:M-F,08:00-17:00
net user username /time:M-F,8am-5pm
net user username /time:M,4am-5pm;T,1pm-3pm;W-F,8:00-17:00
net user username /time:all (this allows the user to logon at any time, on any day)

Here is what you will need to do.

Visit the computer and login to it, preferably as an administrator of the computer.
Click on START then RUN and enter CMD in the blank and press ok
A command window will appear.
Next you will type in the appropriate e command using the examples above.
I wanted my child to only be limited to computer use after 10pm on school nights so here is the command I used.

net user USER /time:Su,0:00-22:00;M,7:00-22:00;T,7:00-22:00;W,7:00-22:00;Th,7:00-22:00;
F,7:00-0:00;Sa,0:00-0:00;Su,0:00-22:00

Note: The time is limited to one hour increments, which means you can only restrict the user by one hour (like 13:00, 16:00, not 13:30 or 16:45). You can use the abbreviation for the day (that is, M,T,W,Th,F,Sa,Su)

Tip:You may want to write it down in notepad first and make sure its correct, then copy, then paste into the command window and press enter

One caveat to this is that it will not log the child off if they are already logged in. To put it simpler, if the child is logged in at 9:30 at night and the clock strikes ten, the child can still use the computer. This only limits log in to certain times if the user has not logged on yet.

Thats ok, I have a nice free workaround for that as well. While you are at the command prompt simply type
NET ACCOUNTS /FORCELOGOFF:0

What this does is force a logoff if the child is 1 second over the time alloted for them to be logged on. It will be fast too, so I hope they are not working on a long paper they have not saved. Hey they know they are supposed to be off at 10pm, so dont come crying LOL.

To undo this do “NET ACCOUNTS /FORCELOGOFF:NO”.
To undo the time restriction just use net user username /time:all

Now me being the lazy admin that I am, I did all this without leaving my seat. I did it remotely. Do you have several computers in the house and you dont want to tell your child what you are up too? Insert evil laugh here….Muuhuuhaahhaahhaaa

Ok what I used was a tool called psexec from pstools. You can download the set of tools here from Microsoft

I unzip them all to the C:Windowssystem32 directory. Then I open a command window and I typed the following.
psexec \remotepc -u administrator -p privatepassword -c cmd.exe
This gave me a remote command window without me leaving my desk!

Now I simply enter the commands as if I was at that local computer.

You will need to know the other computers password for the admin account, or the username and password of an account on that computer that has administrator rights.

This is what it looked like from my command window. Took all of 15 seconds.
C:>psexec \remote-xp -u administrator -p privatepassword -c cmd.exe

PsExec v1.94 – Execute processes remotely
Copyright (C) 2001-2008 Mark Russinovich
Sysinternals – www.sysinternals.com

Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]
(C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

C:WINDOWSsystem32>net user USERA /time:Su,0:00-22:00;M,7:00-22:00;T,7:00-22:0
0;W,7:00-22:00;Th,7:00-22:00;F,7:00-0:00;Sa,0:00-0:00;Su,0:00-22:00
The command completed successfully.

C:WINDOWSsystem32>NET ACCOUNTS /FORCELOGOFF:0
The command completed successfully.

Well there you have it, a nice free way to limit login to specific times. Hope you enjoyed this.





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6 Responses to “How to Restrict Logon Hours in Windows XP”

  1. Greitas Says:

    Hi,
    Is there any possibility to let user to use pc, for exaple, just 2 hours a day and these hours can be at any time in a day. maybe there is any aditional comands?


  2. Cesasr Says:

    Greitas:

    I was also looking for that, but it seems you need special software.
    There are a lot of software to control kid’s time at the computer.


  3. Clive Says:

    I tried restricting my daughter’s login times but simply got the response, in the command window that ‘The user name could not be found’

    I was logged on under my own name as an administrator. My daughter has a limited account.

    Any help please?


  4. USERBYTES Says:

    Is her name long with a space maybe like Sarah Conner? If so try quotes around it “Sarah Conner”


  5. hector Says:

    i tried the “NET ACCOUNTS /FORCELOGOFF:0” cammand but it does not work on vista home premium, just nothing happens when the time expires.

    don’t you any other workaround to force log off? in vista.

    thanks


  6. Shmuel Chayempour Says:

    Kick a** article just one small pointer you missed the forward slash (/) by the 19th paragraph of your article. Thanks.