Windows 7 allows you to integrate parental control functions from other software companies (called service providers) with its own. While many security solutions providers offer parental control applications, one of the best solutions comes from Microsoft and it is called Windows Live Family Safety. This application can be installed on top of your Windows 7 installation and allows you to filter web sites, access activity reports which tell you what your children are doing on their computers, administrate the contacts with whom they communicate, allows children to ask permissions to access different web sites that you have already blocked, etc. In this article I will show you where to download Windows Live Family Safety from, how to enable it and manage the user accounts which you want to monitor.
How to Install Windows Live Family Safety
To download and install 'Windows Live Family Safety' go to the Windows Live website. To use this tool, you need a Windows Live account. If you don't have one already, please create one. Once downloaded, install it and then open Parental Controls from the 'User Accounts and Family Safety' control panel. In the 'User Accounts and Family Safety' window, select 'Windows Live Family Safety' from the list of providers.
How to Enable Windows Live Family Safety
First, make sure you have selected Windows Live Family Safety as a provider, then click the user account for which you want to edit parental controls.
You are prompted to enter your Windows Live ID and password, to authenticate for the Family Safety Filter.
You have to choose which account to be monitored by clicking the check box on its right. Press the Next button after you have made your selection.
You have to match the Windows account to a user name in Family Safety members. Press the Save button when you have finished.
Now, Windows Live Family Safety is monitoring the account(s) you have selected. By default, all accounts have basic web filtering, activity reporting on and contact management off.
For a better management of your children accounts, customize the Family Safety settings by clicking the familysafety.live.com link in the 'Windows Live Family Safety Filter'.
How to Manage Family Members With Windows Live Family Safety
On the family safety website, after logging in, you can see all the registered members of your family. You can add another account as parent, more precisely, you can set a Windows Live ID as a parent ID. To do that, click on the 'Add new parent' link, under the list of family members.
If the new parent that you want to add already has a Windows Live ID, he/she will have to sign in, if not, you can create a new ID.
The new parent will have the default parent settings: web filtering - off, activity reporting - off, contact management - off, rights to approve or deny requests and edit the settings to any other account. You can change someone's account type to parent, allowing him/her to have the same rights as any other parent. To do this, click on the 'Change someone to a parent' link.
You can select the new parent from the list of non-parent family members and you can assign him/her a Windows Live ID.
If you want to delete one of the accounts, click on 'Remove a family member'.
From the list of accounts, select the one that you want to remove and press the Remove button.
To add a new child, repeat the steps that I have shown in the 'How to Enable Windows Live Family Safety' section above.
For all the family members you can set web filters, see activity reports, manage contacts and requests. We will publish detailed tutorials on how to do all of this in the coming days.
Windows Live Family Safety offers great parental control options which complete the standard solution included in Windows 7. In this tutorial I've shared the first steps that you have to make: download, install and manage accounts. For more information, stay tuned for future articles. We will do our best to show you all that Windows Live Family Safety has to offer.