How do you lock down\restrict a standard user account (i.e. student)? I need to control what they have access to and prevent them from making any changes to their session. I installed 0.3 Freya (64-bit) on a Dell D820 laptop with 2 GB of Ram.

Basically, I can't have them modify the desktop, dock, add or remove programs.

  • Are you talking about one single laptop or a computer lab with several machines? Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 21:26
  • Could you specify on what exactly you're trying to accomplish? What should they have access to? Which kind of changes are you thinking of?
    – r3bl
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 21:34
  • Well, the total number of laptops will be 17. Basically, I can't have them modify the desktop, dock, add or remove programs, which is similar to Parental controls used by Macs as mentioned by @Daniel Foré. I want to be able to configure exactly what they need access to and by creating the master image. Then cloning the other 16 will leave them all identical except for computer name. This will allow for easier instruction, use so once the teachers know whats available and the program names , they can instruct the students and it will be in the same place on all machines.
    – Killjoy42
    Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 0:17

1 Answer 1


At the moment, elementary OS doesn't come with any parental controls. There is some work being done however here

Disallow adding and removing programs

By default, non-administrative users cannot install or remove packages.

Lock the Desktop

There is no desktop, so nothing to worry about there.

Lock the Dock

  1. Hold Control + Right-click the dock and select "Preferences".
  2. Select the "Behavior" tab
  3. Toggle the switch next to "Lock Icons"
  • Well I have tried to no avail to get the Dock "Preferences" to pop up. I only get for each of the programs on the dock the same thing, a dialog box\window showing: 'Get help online', 'Translate This Application' and 'About'. What am I doing wrong??? I checked out the site, is there any files for it yet, unable to determine for sure??? Thanks
    – Killjoy42
    Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 4:02
  • You should specify what kind of network setup you have in mind, e.g. thin clients or fat clients? Anyway, imho the ideal framework for a school lab is LTSP. Give it a look. Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 7:16
  • Daniel's answer is certainly a good starting point, but it's far from being an effective restriction of what a user can do. By accessing the terminal or Switchboard a lot of modifications can be done. Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 10:04
  • @Killjoy42 that's the correct menu! It should also have a menu item "preferences". If you can't access the GUI for some reason, you can edit the prefs file directly at ~/.config/plank/dock1/settings Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 16:26

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