I’ve been asked by a neighbour for a (ideally gratis) utility for Windows® that allows him to set “computer times” for his children, with rules like this (example that shows the sort of flexibility required):

During the week (Mo-Fr) they may use the computer for at most one hour (it does not matter whether this is consecutive or interrupted – for example by locking the screen, or by powering off the machine) per day, and only before 22:00 O’Clock; on weekends, different rules apply; and a secret phrase to deactivate the tool for the current login session should also be given.

Any other limitations, such as a “website filter”, are not currently needed.

3 Answers 3


This functionality is provided natively in Windows 8 - under a feature tied into user accounts called "Family Safety". This provides the following functionality:

  • Limit how long a user can use the computer per day
  • Apply curfews to prevent use after a specific time
  • Control web browsing
  • Windows store and ESRB game rating restrictions
  • Application restrictions
  • Reporting tools

This functionality can be enabled by creating individual user accounts for each child/person, setting them as "Child" accounts and then enabling "Family Safety" under "User Settings" before configuring each individual restriction.

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Most of the above functionality is also available in Windows 7, with the exception of being able to set curfews.

  • OK thanks. I should have specified “Windows® but not bathroom tiles” ;-) They’re using Windows® XP up to Windows® 7, currently. (The answer is nevertheless valid, and may help another user of the site.)
    – mirabilos
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 12:53
  • 2
    Looking at it, most of the above functionality (including time limits, but not curfew) is available on Windows 7 as well.
    – Flyk
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 12:54
  • Sure, but they also have a WiXP box, and need the curfew (both kids are known to over-do it). I tried with what’s onboard, but that appeared to not have been enough.
    – mirabilos
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 13:03
  • Are you looking for software that enforces these settings across multiple machines? IE: if a user is allowed an hour and spends 30 minutes on each, that counts as the hour?
    – Flyk
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 13:30
  • I hadn’t thought of it. The kids probably wouldn’t think of it either ☺ so it’s not a requirement.
    – mirabilos
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 13:31

Although the newer versions of Windows does the same thing, you can try Timeout.

Romaco Timeout is a free computer tool that can restrict the amount of time that a child (or anyone) uses their computer for. It has modules that can restrict the length of a session, create a cumulative daily time limit, set a window of time that the computer is available for, as well as monitoring web usage. It also has website and program blocking capabilities.

Its important to know that Timeout has been discontinued but still functions in Windows XP - Windows 8.

It features:

  • restrict the computer from being used at certain time of the day
  • gives the user session times and day times for use, and once they run out, it disallows the computer from being used
  • internet usage times
  • website blocker
  • program blocker

Screenshot of Timeout

  • Looks interesting, will try that next time I'm over there. Thanks!
    – mirabilos
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 18:13

Child Control 2014 - Parental Control for Windows PCs


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