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Vista Parental Controls - Specifically Web Blocking

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#1 The Larry

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 10:13 AM

I have found a couple of threads on Vista Parental Controls and website blocking, but few answers. :huh:

I have Parental Controls set up on a Limited account. The website tracking seems to be working fine as well as the few sites I have explicitly blocked. However, I would *REALLY* love to know if there is a site that provides a setup list of sites that a parent may want to block, both adult and proxy sites.

Also, the lack of Help in Vista on the topic and on the web is a little baffling.

Can you use * or ? wildcards in the block/allow URL lists? Like *.adult_site.com or ad???.adult_site.com or even know that adult_site.com will block anything that uses that domain or subdomain?

My kids appear to be using web based IM clients, Yahoo! and AIM, but they don't appear in the IM/Chat logs. Does anyone here use standalone clients that trigger the Parental Controls?

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#2 Jacee


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 10:49 AM

You can set up a hosts file that will block many unwanted sites:

http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.zip (154 kb)
http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.txt (670 kb)
Note: the "text" version makes a good reference for determining possible
unwanted sites.

How To: Download and Extract the HOSTS file

HOSTS File - Frequently Asked Questions

Sign up for HOSTS file update notices

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#3 The Larry

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 10:31 AM

I do use the hosts file to block some sites already, but this may not actually trigger the Vista Parental Controls dialog. Seems to me that the implementation of Parental Controls in Vista allows them to market the feature even if it does not actually do a whole lot without messing about in a clumsy, one by one entry system and the lack of third party (IM in particular) support. Hell, does MSN Messenger even work within the context of Vista Parental Controls?

#4 usasma


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Posted 13 May 2008 - 06:24 AM

As I recall, you can use wildcard characters, but I'd suggest that you test it on your system before committing to it (since my memory isn't what it used to be).

I'd suggest that the AIM, MSN Messenger, YIM programs would be best blocked using the Program blocking feature - not the Web Controls.

You can make your own block list from the Hosts file - but it's gonna take a bit of work. To see the syntax I created a two entry block list and got this code when I opened it in Notepad:
<WebAddresses><URL AllowBlock="2">http://de.com/</URL><URL AllowBlock="2">http://ed.com/</URL></WebAddresses>

It looks a bit too complicated for easy manipulation, so I converted it to this:
<URL AllowBlock="2">http://de.com/</URL>
<URL AllowBlock="2">http://ed.com/</URL>
and imported it (successfully) into Parental Controls

So, you'll need a list of web sites in text format.
Then search and replace the "http" with "</URL><URL AllowBlock="2">http"

Here's where I get a bit lost, but I think you'll have to strip out the first </URL> (bolded here):
[b]</URL>[/b]<URL AllowBlock="2">http://www.ed.com/
</URL><URL AllowBlock="2">http://www.de.com/

and then add it to the last entry so it looks like this:
<URL AllowBlock="2">http://www.ed.com/
</URL><URL AllowBlock="2">http://www.de.com/[b]</URL>[/b]

This worked with my simple 2 item list, but your results may vary.
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