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AbyssHunted

Windows 98 Per-user Application/File Rights Pack (Conceptual)

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Allright... this is a work in progress; I've started on it, but there's nothing YET to show for it (so it's not even pre-alpha yet).

So here's the idea.

Way back on Windows 95, Microsoft released a program called "Microsoft Plus! for Kids".

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/1...7/plskdspr.mspx

It included a number of children's programs, some new Desktop Themes, and most importantly, Protect It!, a security program.

After Windows 98/98SE came out, Protect It! still worked for it.

But what does Protect It! do?

Microsoft says:

The Microsoft Plus! for Kids Protect It! feature allows parents to quickly and easily set up a customized profile for each member of the family and change the profiles when they want. Parents decide what each family member can and cannot access on the PC's hard drive including files, programs, computer settings and modem usage. Once the profiles are set, kids will not be able to access important data, accidentally delete files or change computer settings.

Protect It! also allows parents to set Internet restrictions regarding the types of Web sites and content that can be accessed by the family PC. The restrictions utilize Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) technology and the Recreational Software Advisory Council (RSAC) rating system.

Now the Internet parental controls aren't so useful.

But the file/folder and application acess controls are extremely useful!

It can provide a secure way to use multiple users on a Windows 98 machine, with rights features comparable to or possibly better than XP or Vista.

One user becomes a supervisor (administrator), and sets the rights of other users.

So, what is the point of this pack then?

Basically, it's a transplanter of all of the key features of Protect-It! onto a Windows 98SE machine.

It will work similar to 98SE2ME: the user has a CD of Plus! for Kids in the CD drive or the necessary files on a local disk, and the installer will copy the needed files. If this has problems, I may make the files available for download on the condition of owneship of an original CD (we'll see.)

But unlike a direct installation of Protect It!, the installer will insure compatibility with various updates from this forum.

By the final release, I'm hoping for compatability with:

98SE Unofficial Service Pack 2.1a / 3.0

Autopatcher

98SE2ME

NUSB

Revolutions Pack 6/7/8

So...that's about it.

Feel free to leave any comments, suggestions, or questions.

Feel free even to post technical advice on how to implement this, limitations, problems, etc...

And if anyone has used Protect It! before, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

Edited by AbyssHunted

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A nice thought and another enhancement to the os, only problem I can forsee is obtaining the plus cd, ebay over this side of the pond does not seem to have any. Perhaps if you could examine the installed files of protect it, a work around could be achieved via writing similar software.

Any way good luck

All the best

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How does it work? Since FAT doesn't support any labeling of files, there must be some database containing access rights, and some software forcing the use of it. At which level?

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How does it work? Since FAT doesn't support any labeling of files, there must be some database containing access rights, and some software forcing the use of it. At which level?

Could be achieved by a vxd hooking into file read/writes etc the same vxd bypassed in admin mode, it will be interesting to see which files/reg entries are installed

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How does it work? Since FAT doesn't support any labeling of files, there must be some database containing access rights, and some software forcing the use of it. At which level?

I'm looking into it.

Also if you examine the Microsoft Knowledge Base on Protect It!, there seem to be some glitches.

I think I may need to write the software myself... at this point it's early enough that a shift shouldn't be too big a problem.

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Full list of known Protect It! bugs coming soon.

(yes it's bugged, so if I don't build the pack from the ground up, we may need to do some unofficial patching if it is to work right.)

Edited by AbyssHunted

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HERE is a list of the files used by Protect It:

CORE FILES (all new files not on the system):

WINDOWS\SYSTEM\PROTECT!.EXE

WINDOWS\SYSTEM\PROTECT.CPL

WINDOWS\SYSTEM\MSPI.DLL

WINDOWS\SYSTEM\MSPITAPI.EXE

HELP FILES:

WINDOWS\HELP\PROTECT!.HLP

RUNTIMES (just some VBA 2.0/2.2 runtimes):

WINDOWS\SYSTEM\VEN2232.OLB

WINDOWS\SYSTEM\VAEN232.DLL

Not that complicated, really. The rest is all registry work and slight changes to the following INIs:

WIN.INI

SYSTEM.INI

POWERPNT.INI

WAVEMIX.INI

However, I couldn't notice any big changes to those .ini files.

In the registry, under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run there was:

Name: Protect It! TAPI

Value: "C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\MSPITAPI.EXE"

Edited by AbyssHunted

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What you're describing sounds like a more powerful system policy editor. That would be very useful. I have an old PC, a Gateway I believe that was a 95 box but has been upgraded to 98SE before I got it. I did see Protect It in the control panel but didn't have a chance to try it. It's presently loaned out to a friend while I try to get their tempramental WinME box to work decently. As soon as I get it back, I'll let you know how or if Protect It works on 98SE.

Many of the features you're describing, controlling what individual users can run and access, are also part of System Safety Monitor, free version. Separate application rules can be set up for each user profile, allowing very detailed control over what processes each user can run and what other processes each of these is allowed to launch. One of SSMs modules is a windows filter. The module reads the captions in the title bars and checks them against a user defined list. If they match, SSM closes the window. It works with partial matches. I've tested it with partial names such as "sex" or "cracks" from websites, document names, specific applet names, the control panel, internet explorer, etc, checking its effectiveness as a parental control. It's quite effective. I realize that HIPS software like SSM isn't something many would want to use, but it might be worth checking just to get some more ideas. AFAIK, SSM is the only program of its kind that will run on Win98.

Rick

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I finally finished fixing that WinME box, now a 98SE unit and got the loaner box back. It was a 95 box converted to 98SE, a real patience tester with a 166mhz processor. Fortunately it works better with Sea Monkey. Am using it now. Protect It! does function once I replaced the autostart entry in registry, but it's not particularly effective. I added 2 extra user profiles with different permissions set for each. The default profile has access to everything while the others are limited.

On this particular user profile, I disallowed access to SeaMonkey. Protect It did block my access to Sea Monkey but allowed it when I renamed the executable to something else that's allowed. I renamed Sea Monkey to Iexplore.exe and am using it now.

I also set the "prevent opening anything not on the desktop or start menu" option for this user.

It works by removing the icons and tabs the user would normally use. When I click on My Computer, no drives are visible, but the user can still access the entire file system via any available folder, or the properties-find target. Protect It did keep me out of a few control panel applets, but most were accessible via the system folder. The internet ratings only work on Internet Explorer.

Except for the password option, Protect It isn't much different than poledit on the 98CD. It has the same problems and is only effective enough to keep a novice honest. Easily defeated. I haven't tried changing passwords or uninstalling. I'd have to make an image first as I don't have the installer to replace it. It's not listed in Add/Remove programs and I haven't spotted an uninstaller for it yet. It definitely made a mess out of the start menu. Everything in programs is in one column, no folders.

IMO, Protect It is too buggy and ineffective to try to improve. The first thing it would need added is integrity checking so it doesn't just use the executables name. It needs a more effective method of denying access than hiding icons and tabs. It would be easier to start over.

Rick

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I haven't tried changing passwords or uninstalling. I'd have to make an image first as I don't have the installer to replace it. It's not listed in Add/Remove programs and I haven't spotted an uninstaller for it yet.

You'd need to run some rundll commands on some DLLs on the the Protect It! CD if you wanted to uninstall it OR change your password.

I've decided to build a rights pack from scratch, but before that I may upload a Protect It! uninstall/password change pack just for those people who don't have CDs before I abandon Protect It! all together.

Sorry if I wasted everyone's time with the Protect It! portion of this project. It's been forever since I used it and I forgot how easy it was to defeat. On the bright side, at least it can serve a prototype to look off (but not work off) of.

I'll work on building SOMETHING from the ground up. I'll see what I can do.

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It's not a waste of time. Control over users access to applications and the file system is an improvement that's badly needed in 98. So far SSM is the only app I've found that can do both effectively, but it's beyond what the average user would want to learn. There's definitely a need for something that's more user friendly that works. Protect It is user friendly enough from what I've seen of it, but ineffective against anyone but a novice.

There is another app you might want to look at for ideas about controlling user access to specific files, folders etc. It's not a parental or user control app as such but will function like one to an extent. It's Splinterware's system scheduler, specifically the window watcher. I've set it up on a couple of clients PCs to kick the kids offline after a certain time by having it watch for * - Microsoft Internet Explorer (works with wildcards). I've found it effective with folder names, webpage names containing specific terms, document titles, the control panel, and others. It won't check at intervals of less than a minute, but having the browser slammed closed each minute is enough to get the point across to most kids. A possible source of ideas if you're interested. If nothing else, it's an excellent scheduler that beats 98s scheduler on all points.

Rick

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It's not a waste of time. Control over users access to applications and the file system is an improvement that's badly needed in 98. So far SSM is the only app I've found that can do both effectively, but it's beyond what the average user would want to learn. There's definitely a need for something that's more user friendly that works. Protect It is user friendly enough from what I've seen of it, but ineffective against anyone but a novice.

There is another app you might want to look at for ideas about controlling user access to specific files, folders etc. It's not a parental or user control app as such but will function like one to an extent. It's Splinterware's system scheduler, specifically the window watcher. I've set it up on a couple of clients PCs to kick the kids offline after a certain time by having it watch for * - Microsoft Internet Explorer (works with wildcards). I've found it effective with folder names, webpage names containing specific terms, document titles, the control panel, and others. It won't check at intervals of less than a minute, but having the browser slammed closed each minute is enough to get the point across to most kids. A possible source of ideas if you're interested. If nothing else, it's an excellent scheduler that beats 98s scheduler on all points.

Rick

Interesting idea, but I'd prefer to make something that works in real time.

Also, how does system scheduler protect itself? Could you CTRL-ALT-DEL out of it? And could someone taper with it through task scheduler?

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Control over users access to applications and the file system is an improvement that's badly needed in 98.

What? Since when? I thought the general consencus was that it would be trying to make Win98 into something it's not.

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