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I have a computer that I want to start allowing my kid to access. I've already set up parental controls under a standard account, but I want to limit more things like the ability to delete things, access HDDs, rearrange the desktop/theme/etc... Basically I want to strip it down to the ability to operate the few programs I have on the desktop specifically installed for the kid to use. I'm not worried about internet or anything, I just don't want my stuff deleted, rearranged or messed with. I used to be able to do this pretty easily in Win XP, there were even apps out there that made it easier to manage user account abilities. I can't seem to locate the same commands in Win 7, I remember it was GPEDIT.MSC, but the list of options is reduced in 7 compared to XP.
 

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Creating a limited account and Parental controls are really all you need. No need for other tools. A limited account cannot make system changes or install or uninstall any applications. The account will have it's own desktop which can be modify as desired but will not be able to change other user desktops or access their data. This is what standard accounts were designed for. Your situation is a common one and one for which the OS was designed.
 

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Windows Essentails Family Safety should tick a few boxes for you.

Plus, if there's anything else you want to restrict, use the security tab for folders to prevent access.
 

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Files in your own profile cannot by default be accessed by any other non admin account. But for other folders you may have created you may need to set appropriate permissions. It would be be easiest to simply remove the Users group from access to such folders and leaving only admins. If possible avoid using the "Deny" option in permissions as there are some implications that are not at all obvious.
 

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If you are an administrator and make a second account for the child, you should be able to deny access to any files that aren't labeled as common files (as stated above). Basically, you should move anything you have in "Public Documents/Videos/Pictures/Music" to "My Documents/etc." so that he can't get into them, so to speak.

You may also be able to make all your files private, for you and you alone to access (vs. you and other admins)- I know that this option existed in XP; sadly, I've not tried that with Win7 yet.
 

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Except for system folders any folders anywhere can have security settings for private access. The user profile folders have this setting by default. You can't prevent other admins from accessing your folders.
 
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