VMware for the Children

If you're a parent, then you'll have been through it. Your son or daughter wants to play on your computer and before you know it, you've given yourself up to the wonders of CBEEBIES and Club Penguin on MiniClip. This is all fine and dandy until they stray to another site and boom a whole bunch of popups start appearing, and various custom cursors are installed. And this is with FireFox forced as their browser!

My boys have access to the internet whenever they want. If our laptops aren't being used, then are free to go on them whenever they way. Whether its playing music, watching YouTube, Skyping with their cousins, there is a whole host of things for them to experience.

I've been trying to figure out a way to have them in their own desktop without destroying what was already there. I've tried reduced accounts on WindowsXP. I've even tried Linux with very limited access. But nothing has really worked as well as I had hoped. Until that is, I had a stroke of genius of preparing their own VMWare images.

Now each of the boys have their own WindowsXP VMWare image that sits on our home network. On each of the desktops we installed the VMWare Player, and installed a quick shortcut icon to their own image. So when they come to a machine, they simply double-click on their own name, and boom, up comes their VMware WindowsXP, as they last left it, and they are safe to do whatever they want without harming the host machine. It is PERFECT!

In addition to this, I keep a clean snapshot of their image, so should they install something they shouldn't have, i simply nuke their current image and replace it with a clean one. All without any reinstallation or messing around.

As a computer-parent, it is the best solution and for the past month that they have been running with it, all our computer children-related problems have literally disappeared.



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