Though there are a range of ways to control and restrict access to certain parts of your computer through Windows’ user accounts, these aren’t always that easy to configure and don’t offer a particularly good degree of control.
If you’re using a shared PC and need to prevent other users from, for example, making purchases online using a credit card, accessing certain applications or websites or using the computer after a certain time, SoProtectMe can help you do all of this and more.
Initial set-up allows you to configure a username and password which will then become vital to accessing both the software itself and protect areas of your computer. You can also enter details for any credit cards you may want to use here and while these still require authentication, the software subsequently blocks any other cards that aren’t in the system.
Of course, web-regulars will point out that websites like Amazon.co.uk store payment details for you and purchases can still be made without having the original card to hand, which is where the website and application blocking comes in. The rather basic looking interface allows you to allocate protection settings to any of a range of websites stored in a “white-list”, or any of the applications installed on your PC, with the ability to add new ones manually provided.
The settings include a “challenge” mode, which requires password entry to visit the site/load the application, “blocked” informs the user that access is denied, “silent” denies access without this notification and “allowed” permits access to all. Where relevant, websites also include an age rating, such as 18+, and when an age limit for the software/computer is configured through the settings menu, it’ll prevent any unsuitable resources from loading. There’s also an access-time related feature here that allows you to prevent access during certain hours, e.g., after bedtime for children.
A log stores all activity so you can see what people have been getting up to on the computer, whether blocked or not, and one-click adjustment allows you to remove or jack-up the security level to allow or block all sites if need be.
Despite the fact that the software appears to be extremely basic from the screenshots provided, it actually works very well and the low-level nature of the protection and configuration means you get an excellent degree of control over website and application access on a home PC. Considering the low price it’s difficult not to recommend this as an effective solution.
£19.99 (three user)
SoProtectMe is cheap and cheerful but works very well, and while it may take you a little bit of time to correctly configure the correct access to websites and applications, most would see this as a worthwhile way to block and manage computer and internet usage on shared PCs.