Windows 8 forum

Question

Prevent local users from changing proxy settings in Windows

by sickd / February 8, 2018 7:41 PM PST

I have several computers running Windows 8.1 basic (no GPO), and I want to prevent standard users from changing the proxy settings. It seems possible by editing the registry, but I could not find a proper solution yet. Can anyone help me out?

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All Answers

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Answer
Sorry but no. If you tried this I could find a way.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 8, 2018 9:34 PM PST

Without a Windows Server and Pro versions, and even with that you are fighting the basic premise of a Windows PC. That is, if I'm at the keyboard, I am in control. Now if you want to control this, you would control the internet source. Say a super router that imposes your will and control, but PC = Personal Computer. Windows is not locked down in this area.

So again, even if you did this, I can undo it.

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it is possible to apply limitations
by sickd / February 9, 2018 7:32 AM PST

I understand, but then again, there's the "Family safety" feature in Windows 8.1 and local users are not allowed to change the settings unless they have the administrator's account password. So I don't really get what you mean when you talk about PC, there's not only the administrative account.
It would be great if the Family Safety feature worked with other browsers too and not only IE.

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Remember I'm bringing up
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 9, 2018 7:45 AM PST

The issue that's it's a Personal Computer and at its very base is the idea that if you are at the keyboard you have control. The Family safety control would be far too easy for me to get around.

Kids are also likely to just google how too. This is why if you want to control a Windows PC, it's really tough and best to know that what ever you do, there's likely to be an easy way to get around it.

I'm hoping to save you investing time here then discover it didn't work.

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I understand what you mean
by sickd / February 9, 2018 7:59 AM PST

I understand your point, but for sure having to have to simply click to disable such a feature and dig out from google a solution to it it's a big difference. I need a simple solution to stop average users doing something silly, it's a really small reality, no one will ever try disable it, probably; if we had such big need of security then I'd advise to upgrade all OSs. Anyway, even then, I'm pretty sure that someone would be able to take control of the machine if he's capable of doing so.

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Try what you find then.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 9, 2018 8:06 AM PST

At least you know it's not bulletproof.

My fix would be to put this control in the router instead. That way you are not relying on the paper thin user security of Windows.

I'm still unsure what the real goal here is. Sure, set the proxy but that's too easily gotten around. Why did this need to happen? Parental controls again?

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Hello again!
by sickd / February 9, 2018 6:52 PM PST

Actually it's a small company where people working just need to use a few websites. They are constantly "monitored" from supervising staff, but of course it's not 100% of the time. Considering the strict rules we have here (Japan) I hardly can imagine someone trying to browse Facebook etc during idle time. So the simple possibility of disabling checkbox next to the proxy settings seems good enough for the time being; in the meantime we can consider to upgrade our infrastructure (I just started working here, and it's a total mess).

Thank you for the time you spent answering, by the way.

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OK, now we are cooking.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 9, 2018 7:06 PM PST
In reply to: Hello again!

This sounds like a job for SQUID! Google about the Squid server (it's free, etc.) and you can make rules to only allow access to the sites you wish.

This way, you get the total control you wish for pretty much free. Yes it takes a small server but it's the solution I think you are looking for.

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Seems interesting.
by sickd / February 9, 2018 7:31 PM PST

We have a small server (it's just another client with XAMPP and a few php applications in the same LAN). The problem is that if that server dies all the clients won't be able to reach the the proxy server and hence I suppose they won't reach the websites the employees are allowed to use, which translates (even for 20 minutes) in a loss of money (and my boss testing a katana on my nuts). Currently I'm using a .pac file to filter web browsing, and if the client can't reach the file the client is automatically allowed to access all internet (it's by default). Somehow, this is much more desirable than not being able to access the allowed websites. Every client has its own .pac file which I can remotely update. So if one .pac file is for some reason unreachable, it doesn't really matter because it will affect only that client. This solution works perfectly fine, it's just too easy to disable the feature for the standard user.
I just wish we had a domain and all things set up properly, but it's gonna take a long time to convince my bosses to invest in that sense.
Anyway I'll read more about the Squid server, seems very interesting, I didn't know about it, thanks.

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My brother's office is going with a Squid solution soon.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 10, 2018 3:15 PM PST
In reply to: Seems interesting.

Why? Because their internet in this office is pretty slow. Squid's caching will make the most of what they have.

Server death? Seems that would be fixed soon as no company I know puts up with that for long.

Anyhow, while I've worked around Squid for others, this time it will be one I've directly responsible for. I think the first one will run on one of the spare laptops we have in the storeroom.

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also... from another post I made on Microsoft forums...
by sickd / February 9, 2018 7:37 AM PST

Someone answered me differently... I still have to try it, but it's a beginning. link to the original post<br>

Hello,

Try this registry manipulation:

1. Open Registry Editor.

2. Expand the "HKEY_CURRENT_USER" hive by clicking on the "+" sign next to it. Continue expanding "Software," "Microsoft," "Windows" and "CurrentVersion," then click on the "Internet Settings" subkey or folder.

3. View the contents of the Internet Settings folder on the right pane. Double-click on the "ProxyEnable" DWORD value to open the "Edit DWORD Value" window. Change "Value data" to "1" and press "OK" to confirm.

Let us know if this helps!

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Even if someone did this. I can undo that.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 9, 2018 7:52 AM PST
https://www.technibble.com/bypass-windows-logons-utilman/ shows a widely known way to get in so we can regain control of the PC.

Let's back up to what you really want to do. To block internet access or control, it doesn't work if you do this on the Windows PC itself as there are ways to undo or get around all the blocks I've seen to date.
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