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Windows 7: Protecting the PC - Boot Menu

24 Feb 2012   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate (32 Bit)
Protecting the PC - Boot Menu

hi guys,

i've setup a media pc for my family and kids, which boots into win 7 ultimate and then eventually into XBMC. My question relates to windows....

I want to stop kids/family from accessing the boot menu, which shows in the event of a crash or by them pressing F8.

How can i stop them from accessing the boot menu? Can i password protect it? What do you recommend?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 Feb 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP


You'd have to password the BIOS in BIOS setup, which means the password needs to be entered every time at every reboot.

I know of no way to password the Advanced Boot Options.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Feb 2012   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate (32 Bit)

thanks for clarifying that mate. Its just that i have 2 user accounts. One is admin (password protected) and the other is a mediapc account which has been setup to automatically login and run xbmc. My worry is that the kids maybe able to bypass that by going to safemode.

i do have different question, but i'll start a new topic for that.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

26 Feb 2012   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate (32 Bit)

Sorry if i thought this was answered earlier, but rather than start a new topic, i'll ask here:-

I know that i can't protect the boot menu with a password, but if the pc crashes, i get the safe mode boot menu which has a countdown timer of 30 seconds. How can I:-

1. Reduce the timer to only a few seconds?
2. Is there a way to disable the boot menu totally?
3. Remove some of the options?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2012   #5
Microsoft MVP


What Boot Menu is this? Do you have a Dual Boot menu to boot your choice of more than one OS or installation?

Or are you referring to the Log-in Screen for the two accounts?

The only settings which may apply of which I'm aware are at Control Panel>System>Advanced Systen Settings>Startup and Recovery. Check those out to see if you find what you need. Otherwise I'd start a new thread with a descriptive title to catch someones' attention who might know in our busy General forum.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2012   #6

W7 Pro SP1 64bit

greg's way is the way I usually change the boot menu timeouts - there are two via that gui
here is another way from MS
Changing the Boot Menu Time-out
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2012   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate (32 Bit)

@ greg - its regarding the boot menu, when you press F8 or when windows crashes.

Thanks guys for the helpful links. Hopefully this should be fine for the time issue.

Is there also a way of Disabling certain options or forcing safe mode to load a few programs, without bypassing them.

You must be wondering, why on earth i want to do this, but its because when windows crashes, I get the safe mode menu. This allows my kids then to bypass any security features i've implemented to lock down the media pc account, such as child control, internet time limiter or parental controls. I somehow want to either force safe mode to still load these programs, or simply not exist.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2012   #8

W7 Pro SP1 64bit

I've changed what runs in the safe mode so that I could still have remote control - but only on a XP box.

A simpler method might be to prevent an automatic reboot - the computer would just sit there with the BSOD.

I'm trying to recall - I think that some BIOS that I've seen can disable the F8 boot menu... look around in there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2012   #9

Win 7 Ult + Starter, XP Pro +Home, 2kAS, Linux Mint 8, SuperOS

It appears that you have issues running XBMC under Windows - hence the "crashes"! It is a rare thing for Windows to crash nowadays, in my experience.

No doubt you have your reasons, but why not run XBMC within a Linux shell instead of Windows?

It is then possible to have the boot managed by the GRUB bootloader, which can be passworded (e.g. Grub 2 Password Protection - Ubuntu Forums), and have Windows 7 chainloaded as a boot option only for the users with the right credentials.

Any "crash" would then return the system to the GRUB menu, on restarting, with no simple option to bypass security.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2012   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate (32 Bit)

@ Usernameissues - thanks..i've had a look at the bios, but i can't find any option which allows you to disable the F8 key.

@ fafhrd - It crashes sometimes because some of the XBMC plugins are unstable...sometimes they work perfect and then at other times they crash, causing the user to reset the computer manually. This then leads to the "recovery menu" where windows asks what mode we want to boot into...
I would have loved to used linux, but its way too complicated for me as well as time-consuming and i have setup XBMC to run as a SHELL instead of Windows Explorer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Protecting the PC - Boot Menu

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