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the center I volunteer for has received 22 Window 7 Pro PCs and a printer, all are networked to a 24 port d-link switch.

What software is able to let me mass configure the PCs, like install software, configure system settings and also restrict access to certain websites (it is a children center). The software has to be open source as we do not have any funds to purchase any license.

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Free content filtering options:… – Zoredache Jan 9 '11 at 8:13
Thanks Zoredache! – HH01 Jan 9 '11 at 8:37
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Well you've basically got 2 problems there. Setting up the computers identically and restricting web access. My votes are for FOG to image all of the computers to a standard image and OpenDNS to control web filtering.

As for keeping the kids from changing the settings, that's a bit trickier. You best bet for free is to try and lockdown the image, removing things like My computer, search box, start menu, ctrl+alt+del access. Locking down a computer is non-trivial but the harder you make it the less likely things will be changed accidentally.

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What settings? How is it hard to prevent system settings from being changed? You need to be local admin to do that in the first place so it's already quite hard by default ^^ (then we can talk about physical security issues and the need for full disk encryption to prevent booting from other medias to mess with the installation) – Oskar Duveborn Jan 9 '11 at 11:39

Active Directory running on Windows Server would be your best bet. Failing that there are a mass of open source options for doing a lot of this stuff.

Microsoft offers discounts for registered non-profits, and if you can make friends with someone at Microsoft, you can probably get them to give you all sorts of good stuff.

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AD isn't much help for web filtering. Without SMS (or whatever MS rebranded it as) it isn't a lot of help for installing software. And the OP asked for free, not cheap. – JamesBarnett Jan 9 '11 at 8:08
AD can install software packages just fine without SMS or any other package. AD can push web filtering settings to IE through a GPO without issue. Firefox it can't do much with without some other sort of third party software. – mrdenny Jan 9 '11 at 8:10
firefox ProCon plugin is what you are looking for, it ROCKS ! – s.mihai Jan 12 '11 at 9:21

There is a microsoft free software Microsoft SteadyState that can be used to lock down the configuration of the PC, i haven't used it in a production enviroment but it seemed ok so far, let us know how it works out

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It doesn't support Windows 7 to my knowledge, but most of its features can be replicated these days by built-in Windows settings. Alas, as it supports Vista perhaps it can technically work with Windows 7 even without support though? – Oskar Duveborn Jan 9 '11 at 11:42
I had the same thought until I checked that it isn't supported on Windows 7 and MS has pulled support for it. – JamesBarnett Jan 11 '11 at 13:30
@Oskar Duveborn I don't think you can replicate it's features using built-in settings. But, I haven't tried so I may be wrong. – JamesBarnett Jan 11 '11 at 13:31

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