Simple method to restrict access to computer hardware resources.
Original Publication Date: 2005-Jul-20
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jul-20
A technique is disclosed to disable certain computer hardware based on who is using the system.
Simple method to restrict access to computer hardware resources .
There are situations where it would be desirable to restrict access to certain hardware resources in a personal computer for some users while allowing other users to use the hardware.
An easy to understand example would be a system in a home environment that has a CDROM burner and is used by multiple members of the family. The parents may be concerned that the younger members of the household might be tempted to make music CD's using illegal copies of songs downloaded from the internet. It would be desirable for them to have the ability to disable the CDROM burner to discourage such activities.
One way to disable hardware is by going into BIOS setup (which can be restricted to "administrator" level access) and disabling the hardware resource. This works, but in the situation described above, would be very inconvenient for the adult users when they wanted to use the hardware (power up, go into BIOS setup, enable the hardware, and when finished, go back to BIOS setup to disable it). Because of all the repeated manual intervention, this approach is unlikely to be used.
Some operating systems have the concept of multiple user profiles. In the case of Microsoft operating systems, the multiple profiles seem to be focused on network access and the ability of users to add or modify programs. It is unclear (from looking at the documentation) whether hardware resources can be withheld from individual users....