[Tip] Restrict Any Desired Program from Running in Windows
Recently we shared a useful Registry tweak to replace "Ease of Access" button at Login Screen with any desired program in Windows Vista and later Windows versions. With the help of that tutorial, you can launch any desired program by clicking on "Ease of Access" button at Login Screen without any need of sign into Windows. You can check out the tutorial at following link:
Now in this tutorial, we are going to use the same Registry tweak for a different task. With the help of the same Registry tweak we'll restrict any desired program from running in Windows. If a user tries to run the restricted program either by clicking on its shortcut or by directly running its EXE file, some other program will launch in its place. For example, you can restrict any 3rd party software such as a web browser and when someone tries to run that program, you can force Windows to launch a different program such as Notepad, Paint, etc in its place.
The beauty of this trick is that the user will never have any idea what's going on in the system. The user will never find the reason why Windows is opening a different program instead of the actual program associated with the shortcut.
If you want to restrict any program in Windows, check out following simple steps:
1. Press WIN+R keys together to launch RUN dialog box. Now type regedit in RUN and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.
2. Now go to following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options
3. Under Image File Execution Options key, create a new key and set its name to the EXE file name of your desired program which you want to restrict from running. For example, if you want to restrict Mozilla Firefox, then set the key name to firefox.exe, if you want to restrict Internet Explorer, set key name to iexplore.exe and so on. You can find the program's EXE file name from its shortcut's properties.
4. Now select the new key created in previous step and in right-side pane, create a new String and set its name as Debugger
5. Now the final step! Double-click on Debugger string and set its value to the full path of the program's EXE file which you want to launch in place of the restricted program. If you want to launch Command Prompt, Calculator, Notepad, Paint or any other system program instead of the restricted program, you can use the direct EXE file name of those programs as the value of Debugger string such as cmd.exe or calc.exe or notepad.exe, etc.
But if you want to launch programs such as Internet Explorer or any other 3rd party software, then you'll need to provide full path of that program's exe file as value of Debugger string such as C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe for launching Internet Explorer.
That's it. Now try to open the restricted program and a different program which has been set as the value of Debugger string in Registry will launch in place of it.
If you want to remove the restriction in future, simply delete the key created in Step 3.
PS: You can also use another Registry tweak mentioned in the point 24 of following exclusive tutorial to restrict access to any desired program:
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